For the Future of Transplant Patients: JLH Foundation broadens impact with a $2 million gift to establish its first endowed chair
Erika E. Hayes
The 252 days that John L. Hern spent waiting on a heart transplant continue to change the lives of transplant patients across the country — now like never before.
The JLH Foundation, named in honor of Hern, recently made a $2 million gift to establish The JLH Foundation Chair in Transplant Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital. It is the first endowed chair for the foundation, which has until now largely focused on direct and immediate support for patients and their families.
The recent gift takes the foundation’s vision a step further by funding transplant programs and research that will improve the care and treatment of patients for generations to come.
“My father would definitely be proud of the growth that this foundation has had and of our expanded focus,” said John L. Hern’s daughter, Paula Hern, who established the foundation to carry on her father’s legacy. “Yes, the original vision for the foundation was direct patient support — medication, parking, housing and meals. But above all else, my father was a man who wanted to help transplant patients in the best way possible. We believe that supporting programs that improve future care is an absolutely wonderful way to accomplish this goal.”
The JLH Foundation was established as a result of the experience that Hern had while awaiting a heart transplant in 1996. He received the transplant in December of that year but died the following October after anti-rejection medications failed. During his hospital stay, he met and made friends with other patients who could not afford many of the costs that came with having a transplant — not only the medical costs, but also the everyday ones, such as parking, meals away from home, utility bills and more.
It was a challenging time for him and his family, but it also was a time during which he realized how fortunate he was and how much he wanted to help others. In July 2013, it was announced that John Goss, M.D., medical director of transplantation and surgical director of liver transplantation at Texas Children’s Hospital, would be the first recipient of the chair.
“I’m so grateful for this wonderful gift and am honored to be the first to hold the JLH Foundation Chair in Transplant Surgery,” Goss said. “I look forward to the incredible strides we can make in our groundbreaking work in this area.”
An Investment in Women: $2 million gift inspired by desire to decrease stigma of mental illness
Erika E. Hayes
Even as a child, Maureen Hackett understood the pressures that could come with being a woman.
As the middle child of nine, she watched her mother go to work each day and return home to children who needed her attention and a husband who suffered from depression. Her mother was the breadwinner — and so much more — for the family.
It was hard on her, to say the least. Looking at Hackett’s early view of womanhood, it’s almost as if advocacy for women’s mental health was destined to be her life’s work — and it absolutely has been.
The most recent example for Hackett, her husband James and their four children is the establishment of the Maureen Hackett Endowed Chair for Reproductive Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Their gift of $2 million will support treatment and research initiatives at The Women’s Place – Center for Reproductive Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. The Women’s Place is a resource for women who are working to prevent, cope with or find treatment for mental health issues related to the reproductive stages in their lives. Infertility, pregnancy, postpartum challenges, menopause and many other issues are addressed at The Women’s Place.
Lucy Puryear, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in women’s reproductive mental health, is the first appointee to the endowed chair and serves as medical director of The Women’s Place. She also is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of psychiatry and behavioral science in Baylor College of Medicine’s Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Hackett calls herself a “long-time friend and fan” of Puryear and believes she is by far the best person to receive such support. She adds that Texas Children’s Hospital is the ideal place for this endowment to reside because of its leadership in innovative care for women and its partnership with Baylor College of Medicine.
Much of Hackett’s philanthropic passion comes from a desire to decrease the stigma associated with mental illness.
“In the past 30 years, we have certainly made some progress, but we have many more miles to travel,” she said. “Our hope is that this endowment will benefit women directly by providing greater access to treatment for more women and then even more broadly through advances in research and education. We want this endowment to benefit women everywhere.”
Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow: The Sterling-Turner Foundation provides $1 million for programs that support mothers and babies
“Our family has always loved Texas Children’s Hospital,” said Isla Reckling, a trustee of the Sterling-Turner Foundation.
Reckling’s personal connection to Texas Children’s began when she served as a Junior League volunteer, but her family’s commitment to philanthropy in general — and to the hospital in particular — began long before. Her grandmother, Isla Carroll Sterling Turner, established the Isla Carroll Turner Friendship Trust in 1956 and, in 1960, the Sterling Charitable Foundation (which later changed its name to the Sterling-Turner Foundation). Texas Children’s has been a grateful beneficiary of the foundation’s generous support for more than four decades.
Most recently, that generosity resulted in a $1 million gift to support Texas Children’s Fetal Center, housed in Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, and two of its priority initiatives: the Hope House Fund and outcomes research.
The Hope House Fund, a direct impact program for patient families, offers support for families who have limited incomes and need help. For high-risk mothers and babies especially, hospital stays can be prolonged, treatments expensive, and other costs — from parking at the medical center to relocating to Houston for treatment — quickly add up. The Hope House Fund is dedicated to ensuring that the families who need medical care are able to get to the hospital in time — and that once they are here, they can focus on what’s truly important: the health and well-being of mother and child.
In addition, the Sterling-Turner Foundation’s gift will support outcomes research to help determine the long-term effects of fetal surgeries and procedures. Over time, this research will allow physicians and surgeons to refine, enhance and improve diagnosis and treatment methods so that the children who are helped even before they are born can continue to thrive and prosper.
Just as the care provided at Texas Children’s can affect children and families now and long into the future, so, too, can the impact of philanthropy.
“We are so happy to see our family’s commitment to helping others continue from generation to generation — we’re now in the fifth,” said Reckling. “It is a joy to watch your children and grandchildren share their resources and give back to the community. The things happening at the Pavilion are just amazing, and everyone on the Sterling-Turner Foundation board is pleased to provide continued support to Texas Children’s Hospital. It’s a wonderful place.”