ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan Health System announced Monday the creation of the Ken and Jeanne Levy-Church Fund to Improve Cardiovascular Access. The initiative is made possible by a $10 million bequest from Ken and Jeanne Levy-Church, New York City-based philanthropists who are committed to bringing world-class cardiovascular care within reach for today’s families and for future generations.

Their gift will help patients and families with expenses related to care, improve access to clinical trials and provide support for innovative technology.

“When a family faces a health crisis, the basics of everyday life can suddenly become more difficult,” says cardiologist Kim A. Eagle, M.D., a director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center and faculty director of philanthropy at the U-M Health System. “Not only does the stress of the illness or injury affect every member of the family, but the burdens of medical costs, work absence, child care and other factors can be overwhelming. For these families, compassionate support can make the difference between despair and the strength to cope.”

More than 600 clinical studies are being performed at the U-M Cardiovascular Center, which offers access to some of the newest treatments through clinical trials.

With support from the fund, patients who qualify for clinical trials will receive travel and lodging support to participate in cardiovascular clinical trials at the U-M.

University officials note that the fund will also jumpstart development of new technologies such as improving cardiac ablation to treat atrial fibrillation and the advent of percutaneous interventions that allow arterial and vascular stents and revolutionary heart valves to be implanted without surgery.

The latest gift is part of the University’s $4 billion Victors for Michigan campaign; the health system comprises one quarter of the campaign, with a goal to raise $1 billion for medical research, patient care and education.

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