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Brown Foundation, Inc. Awards $2.5 Million Grant to M. D. Anderson Palliative Care Program

Brown Foundation, Inc. Awards $2.5 Million Grant to M. D. Anderson Palliative Care Program
M. D. Anderson News Release 04/10/00

To help improve the care of patients with advanced cancer, The Brown Foundation, Inc. has awarded a $2.5 million grant to the Symptom Control and Palliative Care Center at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Established in July 1999 to help physicians better manage the myriad symptoms that plague late-stage cancer patients — such as pain, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, mental confusion and anxiety — the Symptom Control and Palliative Care Center provides supportive services for both patients and family members. The program assists people with advanced, often incurable cancer in attaining the maximum level of physical and mental functioning by providing relief from the distress of disease and its treatments. The concept behind the center makes it the first of its kind in the field.

The gift, which is the Brown Foundation's largest gift to M. D. Anderson, will support an array of research projects, programs and facilities, including:

  • development of a serene, home-like inpatient facility where cancer patients and their families can consult with a multi-disciplinary team — a physician, nurse, pharmacist, dietitian, chaplain, social worker, nurse counselor, speech pathologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist — then receive their collected recommendations;
  • enhancement of a research infrastructure to better collect, analyze and organize data in a specially designed computer software package that would enable clinicians in smaller centers and rural areas consistently to collect patient information;
  • development of a visiting scholar program allowing state, national and international experts in the field to practice and study at M. D. Anderson to help develop new programs in their home communities;
  • addition of scientists and research staff.

"The generosity of the Brown Foundation in this significant gift will enable us to not only help care for advanced cancer patients at M. D. Anderson but also patients being treated in other communities, especially those across Texas," explains Dr. Eduardo Bruera, chairman of the Department of Symptom Control and Palliative Care. "We are grateful that the Brown Foundation has shown such vision and compassion in helping further this important but still emerging area of cancer care."

Although an estimated 8.2 million Americans who have been diagnosed with cancer are living productive, purposeful lives, according to the American Cancer Society, patients with progressive cancers face a more difficult road in achieving satisfactory quality of life.

Physicians and scientists in this field maintain that symptom control and palliative care should be integrated. While the role of the center is not to decide the future for patients, Dr. Bruera explains that the aim is to support the patient's decision and help them "live as well as possible for as long as possible."

The Brown Foundation has donated more than $5.6 million to various M. D. Anderson programs since 1971. Previously, the organization has contributed to construction of facilities, such as the pediatric inpatient unit in the new Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Hospital. Also, since 1982, the foundation has funded an annual award — the Ethel Fleming Arceneaux Nurse-Oncologist Award — to recognize an outstanding M. D. Anderson nurse. In its most recent grant, the foundation increased the amount of the nursing award from $10,000 to $15,000 for each recipient.


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center