Michigan Medicine has received a $10 million gift from the Weil Family Foundation to support research and innovation in critical care.
In recognition of the gift, the Ann Arbor-based health care system said it will rename its critical care institute the Max Harry Weil Institute for Critical Care Research and Innovation at the University of Michigan.
Formerly known as the Michigan Center for Integrative Critical Care Research, the institute was founded in 2013 as a central hub for research and technology development across basic, clinical, information and engineering sciences.
The late Dr. Max Harry Weil was regarded by many as the father of critical care medicine. He spent most of his professional career at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, where he was on the faculty 1958-81, according to a Washington Post report on his death in 2011 at the age of 84.
Weil was the first physician to suggest grouping critically ill patients in a focused area for 24-hour observation, an approach that evolved into the intensive care units at hospitals today. He also invented the first bedside shock cart, an early version of the modern crash cart, and had 20 patented inventions during his career. He was a founding member and the first president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
There is nothing more fitting than bringing Weil’s love for medicine and helping people back to his alma mater and a center that combines basic research and innovative ideas, Susan Weil, his elder daughter and a board member of the Weil Family Foundation, said in the Michigan Medicine news release.
“Michigan has proven to us they can have an impact on science and products that will save lives right away, especially during this pandemic,” she said.
The gift provides the operational funding needed to develop new programming, enhance existing ventures and identify new partnerships that will create and sustain additional technological and entrepreneurial adventures, Kevin Ward, executive director of the Weil Institute and professor of emergency medicine and biomedical engineering at Michigan Medicine, said in the release.
“In addition to supporting all of our endeavors, this gift will allow us to educate the next generation of clinicians and scientists in critical care science, as we get projects over the finish line to the patient bedside,” he said.
Additionally, the reputation of the Weil name will help Michigan Medicine to forge national and international collaborations with experts in the field and other like-minded donors with an interest in supporting critical care research, Ward said.