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Landmark Gift Creates Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Heart Hospital

The Bluhm Family Foundation gift further expands access to world class cardiovascular care throughout the Chicagoland area

Chicago philanthropist Neil G. Bluhm and the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation announced a $45 million gift to establish the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Heart Hospital at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The gift expands cardiac care capacity and addresses health equity by providing greater access to Northwestern Medicine’s world-class cardiovascular care, which is consistently ranked as the top heart program in Illinois and among the top in the country for cardiology and heart surgery.

“The success of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute has exceeded my dream of bringing a top-tier cardiovascular program to the city of Chicago, the city we all love,” said Neil Bluhm, founder and president of JMB Realty Corporation and Chairman of Rush Street Gaming and Rush Street Interactive. “Watching Dr. Patrick McCarthy and team push the field of cardiovascular medicine to new heights has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Expanding access to care and moving the needle on health equity in Chicago is critically needed. I am proud to continue my support of Northwestern Medicine and to help address inequity with the establishment of the Bluhm Heart Hospital, which will bring new discoveries and innovative treatments to more patients across Chicagoland and around the world.”

The Bluhm Heart Hospital will expand to 140 beds and modernize cardiovascular services on Northwestern Medicine’s Chicago campus. The gift will also support collaboration with community partners in under-resourced Chicago communities to develop outreach and education efforts to support heart health and address the social determinants of health. Bluhm Family Foundation Director Meredith Bluhm-Wolf added, “We hope that our family’s gift will encourage other philanthropic leaders and foundations to increase funding for expanding access to health care for all Chicagoans.”

“We are grateful to Neil for his vision, leadership and ongoing philanthropy in support of building the country’s premier cardiovascular program at Northwestern Medicine,” said Dean M. Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

Mr. Bluhm’s initial gift in 2005 facilitated the recruitment of renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Patrick M. McCarthy, MD, a world leader in mitral valve repair and surgery for atrial fibrillation, and created Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, with the goal of building a world-class heart and vascular program accessible to all Chicagoans.

“This is a gift for patients in the city, state and throughout the country who need access to the highest quality cardiovascular care,” said Dr. McCarthy, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. “We give our sincerest thanks to Mr. Bluhm for his relentless support. Countless lives have been saved and improved by cardiovascular research, innovation and patient care because of his philanthropy.”

“Our mission is simple: to provide world class care to all patients with a particular focus on those who have had limited access to this care in the past,” said Clyde W. Yancy, MD, chief of cardiology at Northwestern Medicine and vice dean of diversity. “When we achieve health equity, our patients benefit, our healthcare centers benefit, and our city benefits. The gift by Mr. Bluhm and the Bluhm Family Foundation is not just a gift to Northwestern Medicine, it is a commitment to the City of Chicago that we can craft a stronger, healthier community. For this magnanimous gift, we are deeply grateful to Mr. Bluhm and the altruistic spirit of the entire Bluhm Family.”

The Bluhm gift will help fund novel research projects and therapies for heart and vascular conditions including the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute Center for Artificial Intelligence, which was founded in 2018. The first-of-its-kind center accelerates the clinical applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to advance the study and treatment of cardiovascular disease and offers a unique fellowship providing specialized training in computational thinking and AI to the next generation of physician investigators.

Today, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is an innovative powerhouse in developing the latest, safest advances in cardiovascular care. Anchored in downtown Chicago, it has expanded and integrated into seven Northwestern Medicine hospitals and is actively integrating cardiovascular services in the south suburbs at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital.

Since the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute was founded in 2005:

• Northwestern Memorial Hospital is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the highest ranked cardiology and heart surgery program in Illinois for 14 consecutive years.

• As the third largest provider of Medicaid services and Charity Care in Illinois, Northwestern Memorial Hospital is committed to caring for the most vulnerable populations in Chicago.

• The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute has expanded across all NM locations making it possible for patients to receive most cardiovascular care in locations close to home, only traveling downtown for highly complex procedures.

• Northwestern Medicine cardiovascular providers treat more than 75,000 patients annually, with patients traveling from 50 states, 25 countries and 5 continents to receive care.

• Established a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU), which produces innovative research in cardiovascular disease and medicine. Since 2012, the CTU has increased clinical trial participant enrollment by 447% and increased phase I/phase II clinical trials by 550%.

• Pioneered transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to replace diseased heart valves without cardiac surgery. Since 2016, more than 1,500 TAVR procedures have been performed by Northwestern Medicine physicians.

• Has become a national leader in the rapidly advancing field of mitral and tricuspid transcatheter procedures offering a minimally invasive approach and hope to patients who had no option in the past.

• Is home to three presidents of the American Heart Association (AHA), including current president Donald M. Lloyd Jones, MD, ScM, and past presidents Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc, and Robert O. Bonow, MD, MS.

For more information about Northwestern Medicine’s top ranked cardiovascular care, go to heart.nm.org or call (312) NM-HEART. For more information about Northwestern Medicine, visit news.nm.org/about-northwestern-medicine.html.