Bernard Osher gift to transform integrative medicine at Vanderbilt

From the Summer 2014 edition of Vanderbilt Medicine Magazine

Through a $5.5 million donation from San Francisco businessman Bernard Osher, Vanderbilt’s Center for Integrative Health has joined the elite group of Osher Centers for Integrative Medicine and is now known as the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University.

The Bernard Osher Foundation, founded in 1977 to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts, has been a committed participant in the emerging field of integrative medicine over the past two decades. “The Foundation and Mr. Osher, now using his personal philanthropy, have provided important assistance to the health sector through financial support of leading centers of integrative medicine in the U.S. and abroad.

“This generous gift will enable Vanderbilt to play an increasingly significant role in the field of integrative medicine,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The gift also gives Vanderbilt the opportunity to collaborate with the Foundation’s other centers for integrative medicine as we seek to increase knowledge, develop new clinical programs, and train students in this emerging discipline. I want to express my appreciation to Mr. Osher and The Bernard Osher Foundation for their support and encouragement.”

The goals of the Osher Centers for Integrative Medicine include: conducting research on integrative medicine, therapies and developing an empirical case for their application; reaching out to the larger community with an emphasis on preventive care, conducting seminars and conferences to educate medical practitioners and the general public about the benefits of non-traditional approaches to good health and health care; and establishing clinical treatment programs in which the knowledge and resources of integrative medicine can be used to directly help people and to train medical students.

“As the architect of the Osher integrative medicine program, the Foundation takes great pride in the program’s expansion through the personal gifts of Bernard Osher to Vanderbilt and Northwestern,” said Mary Bitterman, president of The Bernard Osher Foundation.  “Mr. Osher has been greatly impressed with Vanderbilt’s leadership in the integrative medicine field and is confident that it will make valuable contributions to the network of Osher Centers across the country and in Sweden.” — John Howser