Never Saying Never

Michael Salem, MD, CEO and Thomas Gart, Chair, Board of Directors

Our legacy of never saying never began before the hospital opened its doors. Our founders saw the need for an innovative hospital to treat tuberculosis, known then as the “White Death.” At the time, there were no antibiotics and no cure for the often fatal disease.

For 112 years, we have looked beyond the symptoms of a problem to the root cause. Multidisciplinary teams at National Jewish Health comprised of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals are focused on the coordinated care of the whole patient, spending all the time necessary to accurately diagnose, treat, and educate each patient and family who walks through our doors.

Today, patients repeatedly tell the faculty and staff at National Jewish Health that we find answers where others cannot. That is evident in the stories you will see in the 2011 Annual Report:

  • A physician committed to finding ways to diagnose lung cancer early, improving a patient’s chances for survival.
  • A research team that discovered that a medication already used to treat several forms of cancer can give patients with a rare disease hope for a future without problems breathing.
  • The continuous fight against tuberculosis and the efforts of National Jewish Health to discover treatments, educate patients and physicians, and help people across the globe control the disease. In many places, tuberculosis has become resistant to the medications we use.
  • Nurses who spend extensive one-on-one time with patients teaching them how to administer their medications and carry on their treatments at home.
  • The efforts of a pediatric psychologist’s team to tackle obesity and other health problems by changing life-long behaviors.
  • The basic scientists working in labs who never give up their quest to understand the molecular and genetic processes in diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and acute lung injury.
  • Donors who are inspired to support National Jewish Health so others can “enjoy the same life-changing experiences we have.”

These and other stories in this report demonstrate our dedication to serve as a destination for patients from near and far who seek our unsurpassed excellence, collegiality and coordinated patient care of respiratory, cardiac, immune and related diseases.

After being named the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation for the 14th consecutive year, we are looking forward to our next challenges. We are four years into our 10 year Strategic Plan: The Decade of Innovation. With substantial clinical and research growth, we are moving forward with new tools in which we have invested heavily. These strategic initiatives
include:

  • Recruiting 90 globally recognized faculty and healthcare professionals, the next generation of leaders in medicine and science.
  • Establishing the Center for Genes, Environment and Health to help researchers understand how genes work in biological systems and how variants of these genes contribute to disease and personalized treatments.
  • Creating the Cancer Center, drawing upon the institution’s existing strengths in imaging, genomics, interventional pulmonology, immunology, pathology, and clinical research to diagnose and treat patients with lung and gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Establishing the Institute for Advanced Biomedical Imaging®, which launched in 2008 and offers the latest technologies in combination with some of the best radiologists in the world to provide advanced diagnostics that are central to personalized medicine. The Institute works hand in hand with the new Minimally Invasive Diagnostic Center and helps to choose the right therapy for the individual to provide a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic pulmonary procedures, as well as gastroenterology and otolaryngology services.
  • Creating the Integrated Bioinformation and Specimen Center that collects and stores the data, tissue, fluids and DNA of thousands of our patients who have generously agreed to participate in this program.
  • Leading in our Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories where faculty translate research discoveries into new clinical diagnostic tests to detect diseases earlier and more accurately and help to choose the right therapy for the individual.

As part of our plan, we also completed the purchase from Denver Public Schools of a vacant school, adjacent to the main campus. This 7.5-acre property will enable National Jewish Health to continue our mission of providing an unmatched level of patient care and research on our main health campus. Our patients will receive accurate diagnoses, and the best, safest care and outcomes available anywhere, and our physicians and scientists will accelerate their bench-to-bedside research that unites research and patient care.

Without the support of generous individuals, foundations and corporations over 112 years, our accomplishments in the treatment and research of respiratory, cardiac, immune and related diseases would not have been possible. National Jewish Health looks forward to continuing our commitment to never say never.

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