Last week, Greg and I hosted an event for colleagues, friends, and neighbors to brief them about a project that is very important to us: the new Wishard Hospital, which will be called Eskenazi Health. When we welcomed our guests at our home I told them that the Foundation had approached us about making a donation and we were happy to do so – but we wanted to do it our way.
Doing it our way found us on our front porch in our downtown neighborhood, sharing critically important details about a community health initiative that stands to transform health care in Central Indiana. Eskenazi Health, as outlined by Matt Gutwein, president and CEO of Marion County’s Health & Hospital Corporation, presents a unique opportunity for our community in that we are building a brand new 21st Century hospital facility, which will serve everyone.
How this hospital is being built is one of the many reasons why Indianapolis is a truly remarkable community. Ernie Vargo, president and CEO of the Eskenazi Health Foundation, shared how Sid and Lois Eskenazi’s unprecedented gift of $40 million allowed the Foundation to set its fundraising goal even higher. The Indianapolis Business Journal reported last week that Fifth Third Bank’s $5 million gift was inspired by Kevin Hipskind’s experience with Wishard. Hipskind, an executive vice president with the bank, was treated at the hospital’s renowned burn unit when he was burned on 37 percent of his body after a backyard brush fire.
And, more poignantly, Wishard Health Services employees have stepped up and have donated approximately $2.2 million to the Eskenazi Health Foundation. Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and medical director of Eskenazi Health, shared with us how these employees, at every level, have come forward to join this effort. Their support speaks volumes about their commitment and dedication to the hospital’s mission.
If you were to scan the faces of those at our gathering, nearly everyone present does not rely on Wishard as a safety net for their health care. Yet, everyone at some point in their lives could find themselves at Eskenazi Health for treatment, whether it’s Midtown Community Mental Health, the trauma center, or preventative care.
Like Kevin Hipskind, they recognize that more than the county’s underserved and uninsured are treated at the hospital. It’s where Indiana’s finest medical minds are trained through IU Medical School. It’s where administrators from Eskenazi Health, the medical school, Regenstrief Institute and Purdue College of Pharmacy will be located together for the first time in a building named in honor of Fifth Third. And, it’s where members of our community – from all walks of life – will join together in a profound and meaningful way to make life better for the people of our city.
-Mary Beth Fehribach