Press Releases

$13.5 million from Hugh H. Hoffman estate supports ALS research and patient care

Apr. 29, 2024

Cincinnati, OH - Donation advances patient care, research and education at UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

A $13.5 million gift from the estate of Hugh H. Hoffman, MBA ’63, will revolutionize research and patient care related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

This donation is “meteoric” and “climate-changing” for ALS patients and families in Greater Cincinnati and beyond, says Robert Neel, MD, a specialist in ALS and autoimmune neuromuscular disorders and director of the ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic.

“Of all the neurological diseases that we know of today, ALS is likely the cruelest and the area in which we have witnessed the least progress in a century of science,” he said. “Balancing the daily medical care of patients who are slowly being robbed of their motor function while looking for answers to stop the disease is an urgent priority.”

“Mr. Hoffman’s generosity builds a legacy of patient care for generations.”

The news was first announced to ALS patients and families on Sunday, April 28 during a special event held for them by the Hoffman family at the Cincinnati Zoo. 

ALS is a nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and causes loss of muscle control. Eventually, ALS affects the control of muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. Today, there is no cure for this aggressive and fatal disease.

Investments propel ALS care and research

Hoffman’s historic donation guarantees that ALS patients in the Greater Cincinnati region will be supported through clinical care and research in perpetuity. In honor of his generosity, there are plans to rename the ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic the Hugh H. Hoffman ALS/Motor Neuron Disease Multidisciplinary Clinic pending approval from the UC Health Foundation Board of Trustees.

The gift supports:

  • An endowed clinical support services fund will ensure patients can access comprehensive multidisciplinary care as they navigate ALS and its challenges. Treating patients as individuals with specific requirements means access to specialists such as nurse practitioners, therapists, nutritionists and social workers.
  • The gift will support programmatic needs that are vital for advanced patient care. This includes research efforts and technical equipment essential to patients’ lives as they lose limb and voice functions.
  • The creation of two endowed chair positions; a clinical neurologist chair, specializing in ALS, who will focus on patient care and clinical needs. Neel will be the first Hugh H. Hoffman Endowed Clinical Chair for ALS/Motor Neuron Disease, pending UC Board of Trustees approval.
  • A research chair will concentrate on conducting research to gain a deeper understanding of the disease and its causes and identify new potential treatments that will improve patients’ quality of life. A national expert will hold the Hugh H. Hoffman Endowed Research Chair for ALS/Motor Neuron Disease.

“The Hugh H. Hoffman Endowed Research Chair for ALS/Motor Neuron Disease will dramatically expand our scholarly focus on this disease,” said Andrew T. Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of the College of Medicine. “This gift permits UC to recruit a national leader to bring their talents and research to our region and advance scientific knowledge.” 

This donation is the second largest in the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute’s history, an investment that will serve patients and families in Cincinnati and beyond. This is the third named center at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute made possible through philanthropy. The institute is home to the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders and the Waddell Center for Multiple Sclerosis.

“Mr. Hoffman’s incredible investment in our community creates a sustainable future of world-class care and research,” said Cory D. Shaw, president & CEO, UC Health. “Our ALS team has long provided compassionate care through a comprehensive approach, and this gift ensures this continues in the future.”

A personal connection

Hoffman was passionate about supporting ALS because his father, Herbert H. Hoffman, died from the disease. Hoffman was a long-time supporter of ALS research and patient care through several organizations.

Hoffman’s nephews, Bert and Steve Bullock, co-executors of his estate, were instrumental in making this gift a reality.

“We wanted to honor our uncle’s legacy and his intentional long-time support of families impacted by ALS and the Greater Cincinnati community,” they said. “We’re confident that UC and UC Health have the talent, leadership and vision to transform the future of research and care of ALS.”

According to ALS United Ohio, more than 5,600 individuals in the U.S. are diagnosed each year: 15 new cases a day.

“I think Mr. Hoffman’s personal connection highlights the impact of watching someone suffer with this disease,” said Dr. Neel. “It will change you. This gift is about service and taking care of your fellow human beings.”

“Our institute is already a leader and respected collaborator among ALS experts in our region and across the country,” said Brett M. Kissela, MD, MS, executive vice dean, senior associate dean for clinical research, chief of research services for UC Health, Albert Barnes Voorheis Endowed Chair and professor in the department of neurology and rehabilitation medicine. “Philanthropy—and this incredible gift in particular—allows us to accelerate our tripartite mission of patient care, research and education.”

About Hugh Hoffman

The youngest son of Herbert H. Hoffman and Madeline Rowe, Hoffman was a fourth-generation Cincinnatian whose family prioritized giving to the community. News of Hoffman’s $56 million bequest to the University of Cincinnati was announced in September 2023. This extraordinary endowment created the Hoffman Honors Scholar Program and supports student-athletes.

Together, Hoffman’s $56 million bequest and this $13.5 million donation represent one of the most significant gifts in the history of UC and UC Health.

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute investment supports Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati, the comprehensive fundraising effort for UC and UC Health.

Advancing neurological care

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute is a collaboration between UC Health and the UC College of Medicine, with a clear purpose to deliver hope to patients and families facing anything from routine to complex brain, spine and nerve conditions. As the region’s only adult academic-based neuroscience program, the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute is home to more than 125 subspecialty-trained physicians and researchers who provide unparalleled access to comprehensive patient-focused care, driven by the latest innovations and leading-edge research.