Shaping the Future of Cardiovascular Care

Neil G. Bluhm makes a transformative gift to Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.

A champion of equality, Neil G. Bluhm has spent his life assisting those in need, striving to leave a positive mark on society. Guided by these values, Mr. Bluhm has cultivated an inspiring legacy of philanthropy that encompasses support for health care, the law, education, the arts, social justice and community-based initiatives. In June, Mr. Bluhm deepened this legacy in a remarkable and enduring way by making a transformative gift of $25 million to Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.

The exceptional cardiovascular program that bears Mr. Bluhm’s name is located throughout the Northwestern Medicine health system and is currently ranked seventh in the nation by U.S. News & World Report*. With this most recent gift from Mr. Bluhm and the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute will be able to: (1) further elevate its national and international profiles, (2) continue to provide the finest, most contemporary cardiovascular care and services and (3) enter new frontiers of innovation. Notably, the gift will help to launch a first-of-its-kind center that will focus on harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve diagnosis, treatment and research for cardiovascular disease.

“My support of Northwestern’s cardiovascular program has helped to spark a spectacular transformation, creating one of the top programs in cardiac care in Chicago, the Midwest and the nation,” said Mr. Bluhm, founder and president of Chicago-based JMB Realty Corporation and Northwestern University Life Trustee. “I am particularly gratified that the people of Chicago and the surrounding region have access to the very best care and do not have to travel for complex treatment.”

In 2005, with an initial investment of $10 million, Mr. Bluhm partnered with Patrick McCarthy, MD, executive director of Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and Heller-Sacks Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, to create Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. Mr. Bluhm and Dr. McCarthy remain guided by the shared belief that residents of Chicago and the Midwest deserve world-class cardiovascular care close to home.

“Mr. Bluhm’s gifts have allowed us to rapidly improve our options for better and safer care for the many patients who face the life-threatening condition of heart disease,” said Dr. McCarthy. “On behalf of our team, I thank him for his trust, his gifts and his unwavering belief that the burden of cardiovascular disease can be lessened through innovation, research and quality patient care.”

For Mr. Bluhm, the experience of seeing his vision and hopes for Northwestern’s cardiovascular program grow into reality has been deeply rewarding. “Dr. McCarthy and the entire team at Northwestern have turned my investment into a reality in which patients are receiving world-class care, and investigators are making new discoveries around heart and vascular disease treatments every day,” said Mr. Bluhm. “The success of this program has exceeded my high expectations, and I could not be prouder to be making this additional investment at Northwestern Medicine.”

There is no question that Mr. Bluhm’s most recent commitment will enable clinicians and scientists to blaze new trails in the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular disease. With AI representing the next realm of breakthrough medicine, Northwestern Medicine is becoming a leader in this area as it works to incorporate emerging technology throughout its cardiovascular programs. In one example of AI use, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute recently partnered with Bay Labs, Inc., a technology company in San Francisco, to create an AI-based system to help clinicians interpret complex cardiac ultrasound images.

“All of us at Northwestern Medicine are so grateful for this transformative gift from Mr. Bluhm and his family, and we will continue to strive toward the best possible results and the safest, most novel treatments for all cardiovascular patients,” said Dean M. Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

*Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Cardiology and Heart Surgery program is ranked No. 7 in the country by U.S. News & World Report, 2018-2019.

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