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Albert Einstein College Of Medicine's 55th Annual Spirit Of Achievement Luncheon
05/05/2009 - By Pierre Hotel

Albert Einstein College Of Medicine's 55th Annual Spirit Of Achievement Luncheon


Actor Cynthia Nixon and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer were on hand last week at the Pierre Hotel as the National Women’s Division of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University raised $200,000 to benefit a cutting-edge research program at Einstein’s Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) that aims to find better treatments and, ultimately, cures for autism, cerebral palsy, language and learning disabilities and other developmental disorders. The occasion was the Women’s Division’s 55th Annual Spirit of Achievement Luncheon, which paid tribute to the exceptional professional accomplishments and contributions to society of Ms. Nixon and Mr. Blitzer and their co-honorees – noted pediatric geneticist and Einstein faculty member Robert W. Marion, MD, who is the director of CERC, and journalist and Seeds of Peace president emeritus Janet Wallach -- while highlighting the outstanding work that CERC does on behalf of children who suffer from serious neurological conditions that can make it hard for them to succeed at school and in life. Willie Geist of MSNBC’s popular program “Morning Joe” contributed his time as emcee.

Speakers included Allen M. Spiegel, MD, Einstein’s Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, National Women’s Division New York Chapter President Jackie Harris Hochberg; National Women’s Division President Bambi Felberbaum; event co-chairs Andrea Stark, Renée Steinberg and Madge Miller; and Nanette Laitman, who chaired the first Spirit luncheon in 1953, two years before Einstein first opened its doors. Among the guests were Rita and Philip Rosen, longtime leading supporters of Einstein, who were recognized for a poignant video they produced that shed light on the work being done at CERC, including the inspiring story of 11-year-old Alena Galan of Westchester, whose life was saved by Dr. Robert Marion. Alena and her mother, Marcia Galan, presented Dr. Marion with his award. Other notable attendees included Caryn Zucker, wife of NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker; Renée Belfer, Judith Berk Ripka and Audrey Wilf, all strong supporters of the College of Medicine.

“I sleep better at night knowing that Einstein researchers are working on problems like breast cancer and heart disease,” said Ms. Nixon at the start of her acceptance speech. “But the main reason I’m here today is because of the extraordinary work at CERC.” She went on to tell the story of her good friend (who was present to see her receive her award) whose son was diagnosed with autism at CERC twenty years ago. Ms. Nixon spoke movingly about the difference that CERC had made in the lives of her friend and her son.

“We’re so proud to be raising funds in support of the new clinical research program at CERC,” said Jackie Harris Hochberg, president of the NY Chapter of Einstein’s Women’s Division. “CERC truly embodies Einstein’s motto, ‘science at the heart of medicine.” The Spirit Luncheon is part of the Women’s Division’s three-year, $3 million fundraising initiative for CERC. Its next fundraiser for CERC will be Einstein Hamptons Family Day, on August 9, 2009 at the Ross School in Bridgehampton. For more information: 718-430-2818 or jbrooks@aecom.yu.edu.

About the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Founded in 1955 and based in the Bronx, NY, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation’s leading centers for cutting-edge medical research and innovative medical education. Through its state-of-the-art research facility, the Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Research/Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion, and its other renowned biomedical research centers, and its outstanding educational programs, Einstein pursues its mission of transforming human health for the 21st century and beyond. For more information please visit: www.einstein.yu.edu.

About CERC
Founded in 1956, the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine delivers comprehensive, state-of-the-art evaluation, diagnostic and treatment services for children with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, hearing impairments, language and learning disabilities and other severe developmental disorders. A nationally recognized model in its field, CERC serves 8,000 children from the New York metropolitan area and beyond and their families each year and trains 1,000 physicians and allied health care professionals annually. For more information, please visit: www.einstein.yu.edu.

About the National Women’s Division
Since 1953, the National Women’s Division of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has raised millions in support of biomedical research and medical education programs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The Spirit of Achievement Awards Luncheon, held annually in New York City, is the Division’s flagship fundraiser. Honorees include outstanding individuals in fields such as philanthropy, the arts, business, government and journalism. For more information: www.einstein.yu.edu, click “donors”; 718-430-2818 or jbrooks@aecom.yu.edu.

Photos: Ben Gabbe of Patrick McMullan

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