Transforming Community Health

A $25-million commitment from the Weatherhead Foundation has created the Weatherhead Institute for Family Medicine and Community Health--an inclusive home for dozens of community-outreach programs at the School of Medicine.

From medical students developing and staffing a Saturday clinic at the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland to faculty members implementing research-based programs to increase access to healthy foods in urban neighborhoods, evidence of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine’s dedication to community wellness is hard to ignore.

Now, a $25-million commitment from the Weatherhead Foundation has created an inclusive home for these and dozens of other community-outreach programs at the School of Medicine. The new Weatherhead Institute for Family Medicine and Community Health is dedicated to improving health in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and around the world. George Kikano, MD, the Dorothy Jones Weatherhead Professor of Family Medicine and chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, will serve as inaugural director.

“The potential of this institute to advance our understanding of community health is extraordinary,” says Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD, dean of the medical school. “We are deeply grateful to Albert and Celia Weatherhead, and absolutely dedicated to realizing their great hopes for this effort.”

The institute will help the university maximize the impact of its current initiatives and expand its program offerings.

“This institute will enable us to draw more students into primary care, prepare them to serve as leaders of their organizations and community advocates, and, at the same time, support community-based research programs and gather the data necessary to affect policy changes that help populations and communities,” Kikano says. “My gratitude to Al and Celia cannot be described in words, but will be reflected in the activities and impact of this institute.”

The gift was announced during the October launch event of the public phase of Forward Thinking: The Campaign for Case Western Reserve University as part of a total $50-million commitment from the foundation—the largest gift in the university’s history. The other half of the funding will support programs at the university’s Weatherhead School of Management.

Cleveland-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Albert J. Weatherhead III led the foundation until his death just weeks before the gift was made public. His wife, Celia, joined President Barbara R. Snyder in announcing the commitment and accepted the university medal, Case Western Reserve’s highest honor, on his behalf.