Heart-health center gets $10M donation, new title

A university trustee donated $10 million to the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute, renamed the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in his honor.

Neil G. Bluhm’s donation, the largest gift to a single program in the hospital’s history, was announced officially Monday as part of the hospital’s Valentine’s Day celebration, but the money was donated in April 2004. The institute combines areas of cardiology, cardiac surgery, cardiovascular anesthesiology and radiology.

“The time is right for Chicago to develop a state-of-the-art comprehensive heart care program,” Bluhm said in a press release.

Since April, Bluhm’s donation has enabled the center to hire 30 new employees, including its new co-director, Patrick McCarthy, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Northwestern Memorial. The number of cardiac surgeries has increased by 77 percent from April 2004 to January 2005.

“Through Bluhm’s philanthropy, we can continue to build our heart program as a destination for people requiring highly specialized care,” said Gary Mecklenburg, president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, in the press release.

Bluhm has served as a trustee since 1984 and as director of the hospital’s foundation board since 2001. In 2000, he donated $7 million to NU Law School’s Legal Clinic.

–Diana Scholl