2016: A Year of Progress, Healing and New Beginnings

Four speakers at braint tumor event

A sampling of voices heard during 2016 (from left): Billi Ewing sings the national anthem at Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure; Jason Camp offers a family testimonial at the Forget-Me-Not Gala; Aram Zabeti, MD, speaks at the Waddell Center for MS donor event; and Dave Parker welcomes the crowd at the Sunflower Rev It Up for Parkinson’s Walk, Ride, Run.

The physicians, researchers, managers and associates of the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute say thank you to our friends who supported our tripartite mission throughout 2016. With your help we continued to build upon our efforts to provide the best available treatments and family-centered care, to aggressively pursue new therapies and potential cures for neurological disease, and to educate future physicians and the public.

During the past year we have touched the lives of thousands of individuals. Our work has been supported by donors, sponsors, private foundations, volunteers and the leaders of our Community Advisory Councils, who together have contributed millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in support of research, patient care and patient education programs. We are grateful for the research funding we have received from tax-supported institutions that include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense and the UC College of Medicine. And we are indebted, above all, to our study participants, whose selfless role in clinical trials fuels our research and makes future discoveries possible.

From this memorable year, here is a sampling of highlights:

Man and woman sitting on couch

The late James J. Gardner and his wife, Joan A. Gardner.


•    In June the institute became the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute in honor of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation. It marked the first step in the building of a new world-class outpatient facility for people with neurologic and psychiatric diseases. The new facility, designed around a holistic and integrated patient-care model, will help expand services, enhance coordination of clinical care and seamlessly incorporate clinical research and innovative treatments. It will include supportive services such as rehabilitation therapies and integrative medicine.

•   The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute launched a $54.5 million campaign in 2015 to raise funds for the new building and its programs. More than $39 million – 71.9 percent of the goal – has been raised to date.

Researcher in lab

Opeolu Adeoye, MD, specialist in emergency medicine, neurocritical care and stroke research.


•    The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute logged 125,040 patient cases during 2016 at the UC Medical Center, West Chester Hospital and Drake Center, an increase of 19.5 percent from 2015 (104,582 cases) and 51.8 percent from 2014 (82,373 cases).

•    The UC Medical Center for a third straight year received the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award. The award recognizes our efforts to implement specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

•    Brain tumor patients gained access to the region’s first Proton Therapy Center, located on the Cincinnati Children’s campus in Liberty Township.

•    The National Association of Epilepsy Centers named the UC Epilepsy Center a Level 4 Center, the highest level possible, for an 11th consecutive year.

•    The UC Neurosensory Disorders Center provided free voice assessments, and multiple centers helped patients and families cope with illness through support groups, exercise classes, yoga classes, and aquatic and massage therapy.

•    The UC Brain Tumor Center performed 389 brain tumor surgeries during the fiscal year (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016), compared to 306 in FY15, a 27 percent increase.

•    The UC Neuromuscular Center performed its first fascicular sciatic nerve biopsy.

Researcher holding tube in lab

Atsuo Sasaki, PhD, in his lab.


•    The Comprehensive Stroke Center continued to serve as a founding member of two elite NIH-funded clinical trial networks: StrokeNet and NeuroNext, while serving as the national coordinating center for StrokeNet, which directs all NIH-funded stroke trials in the United States. UC was awarded $4 million to serve as trial coordinator and a local recruiting center for an acute stroke interventional trial, known as the DEFUSE 3 trial.

•    Researchers from the Mood Disorders Center launched a $12.9 million, five-year study to assess strategies for minimizing obesity and weight gain in children with bipolar disorders.

•    Jed Hartings, PhD, of the Neurotrauma Center, began leading a $4.7 million investigation of less invasive techniques for the monitoring of damaging “brain tsunamis” after brain injury.

•    A study led by Michael Privitera, MD, of the Epilepsy Center, confirmed that different generics are equally effective in treating epilepsy.

•    Cal Adler, MD, and Jon Divine, MD, found evidence of brain thinning in the MRI scans of former football players.

•    Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, of the Brain Tumor Center saw his research translated into a Phase I clinical trial for glioblastoma with the compound BXQ-350, and Atsuo Sasaki, PhD, found that an energy sensor is a potential target for drugs that treat glioblastoma brain cancer.

•    The UC Health ALS Clinic began its first research project ever in ALS.

•    Matia Solomon, PhD, began exploring the role of the oncogene Dek as a novel player in Alzheimer’s disease.

Man and woman win medals


•    Peggy and Gary Johns, longtime members of the UC family, were honored with the President’s Award of Excellence for their significant contribution to the purposes and ideals of the University of Cincinnati. Interim President Beverly J. Davenport noted that the couple had “ignited the hope of new cures, new treatments and the promise of relief for the many who suffer from neurological disorders.”

•    Pooja Khatri, MD, director of the acute stroke research program, was elected to the board of the World Stroke Organization.

•    Michael Privitera, MD, director of the Epilepsy Center, served as president of the American Epilepsy Society.

•    Vincent Martin, MD, co-director of the Headache & Facial Pain Center, was elected president of the National Headache Foundation.

•    Alberto Espay, MD, MSc, director of the Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, was honored with the Cotzias Award by the Spanish Society of Neurology’s Movement Disorders Study Group.

•    Andrew Duker, MD, of the Gardner Family Center, and Lee Zimmer, MD, PhD, of the Neurosensory Disorders Center, ranked in the top 10 percent of providers in the Press Ganey national database for patient experience with clinic visits.

•    UC named James Herman, PhD, director of the Neurobiology Research Center, a 2016 distinguished research professor in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).

•    Stroke researcher Opeolu Adeoye, MD, and brain tumor researcher Atsuo Sasaki, PhD, were named Health Care Heroes finalists in the innovator category by the Cincinnati Business Courier.

•    Gus McPhie, an advisory council member of the Gardner Family, was honored with the 2016 Sunflower Victory Award at the Sunflower Rev It Up Symposium.

People sit down and watch presentation


•    The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute continued its commitment to community education by hosting its 12th Sunflower Parkinson’s Disease Symposium & Expo, which has provided education and inspiration to more than 5,000 patients, family members and caregivers affected by Parkinson’s disease since 2005.

•    The Mood Disorders Center presented symposia for the community and mental health professionals, the UC Cancer Institute offered a conference on the cognitive effects of anti-cancer therapies, and the Epilepsy Center presented a public symposium for people affected by epilepsy.

People gather at charity rally


•    We would not be where we are today without the members of our Community Advisory Councils. We salute our Community Advisory Council chairs: Kathy Beechem (Brain Tumor Center) and Adam Mueller (Gardner Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders).

•    A generous donation from the Harold C. Schott Foundation continued to support a nurse navigator at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, while funding from the MS Clinic Fund under the leadership of Lee Carter and Eric “Buck” Yeiser supported a nurse practitioner and social worker at the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis. The Comprehensive Stroke Center continued to benefit from gifts and the ongoing legacy of Bonnie Mitsui and her foundation. The UC Health ALS Clinic received continuing support from a generous gift from Harry “Tim” Brown. A generous donation from Dorothy “Bunny” Whitaker enabled the Memory Disorders Center to support a nurse practitioner and social worker on its multidisciplinary team.

•    The seventh annual Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure, co-chaired by Rick June and Michael Perez, attracted 3,340 participants and raised more than $330,000. The walk has now raised more than $1.6 million for education and research at the Brain Tumor Center.

•    The Sunflower Rev It Up for Parkinson’s Walk, Ride, Run, headlined by Grand Marshal Dave Parker, the former Cincinnati Reds great, had its best year ever, raising $119,000 and attracting 770 participants.

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute also received proceeds from the following:

•    The Shemenski Foundation presented its largest gift ever — $57,000 — to the Brain Tumor Center, bringing its total giving to $207,000.

•    The Parkinson’s Disease Support Network of Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana, donated $35,000 from the Jerry Wuest-Pete Hershberger Dinner Gala & Golf Classic to the Gardner Family Center, bringing its total giving since 2004 to $492,000.

•    Chipping Away at Parkinson’s, led by Paul Lake and Bob Dames, donated $38,500, bringing its total giving to $99,500.

•    Putting for Parkinson’s, led by Joy & Scott Layman, donated $25,000 to the Gardner Center, bringing its total giving since 2010 to more than $125,000.

•    The Forget-Me-Not Gala, chaired by Rhonna Shatz, DO, and Paula Kollstedt, for the Memory Disorders Center, netted $62,000, bringing its total net contributions to $200,000 since 2013.

•    The annual Wine Tasting Event, chaired by Rich Seal and Scott Hau, supported the Brain Tumor Center.

•    Mary’s Socks Fund provided socks for patients with brain tumors during the holidays and helped fill basic, unmet needs for patients who experience significant hardship during their illness and hospitalization.


With sorrow and enduring gratitude, we also remember members of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute family who passed away this year:

•    Jeff Eggleston, president of the Shemenski Foundation, a generous supporter of the Brain Tumor Center

•    Sandy Hempel, former member of the Brain Tumor Center’s Community Advisory Council

•    Tom Mueller, a member of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation and the Victory Award honoree at 2015 Sunflower Symposium

In closing, we thank you again for your continuing generosity and support, and we extend our very best wishes to you and your family for a healthy and prosperous 2016.


Joseph Broderick, MD, Director, UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute
Lori Uphaus, Executive Administrative Director, UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute
Peggy A’Hearn, Sr. Director of Development, College of Medicine, UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute
— and the entire UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute Team

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