Dr.Caplan: Physician Philanthropy Champion

2012 PPC Executive Meeting

PPC Executive Committee Members left to right: Drs. David P. Winchester, Janardan D. Khandekar, Charles B. Brendler, Nicholas A. Vick, Michael S. Caplan and Bernard G. Ewigman.

Michael S. Caplan, MD, has spent a good chunk of his adult life researching and treating diseases in premature infants and newborns whose health is severely compromised. Their families’ lives are forever changed from the heartache that comes with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, autism or a serious gastrointestinal disorder.

Dr. Caplan, a neonatologist and Chairman of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s (NorthShore) Department of Pediatrics, said philanthropy has been the supportive backbone of the division’s Perinatal Research Group and the work its members have been able to accomplish to date.

It is also why Dr. Caplan is one of the founding members of the Physician Philanthropy Champions (PPC), doctors who play a vital role in opening doors to grateful patients and their families who want to thank a physician, nurse or healthcare team member after they or a loved one faces a health challenge.

PPC members’ participation helped to secure a significant portion of the nearly $21 million raised philanthropically in 2011 at NorthShore by supporting funds for innovative clinical care, research, academic medical excellence and programs that improve the health of the medically underserved. All physicians are welcome and encouraged to formally participate in the PPC and can learn more by speaking with the Foundation at 224.364.7214.

An appreciation event for PPC members was recently held in which doctors were thanked for advancing NorthShore’s mission and actively partnering with NorthShore Foundation to promote philanthropy for the good of patients served.

“Kind donors have supported key programs, such as research into what causes cerebral palsy, premature labor and necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, the infection and inflammation that destroys the bowels of infants,” said Dr. Caplan. “We are very grateful for philanthropic support, which not only helps children, but also puts NorthShore on the map when it comes to superb pediatric care.”

Just as important, said Dr. Caplan, is the help received from members of NorthShore’s Associate Board, a group of young professional volunteers who have raised more than $500,000 to benefit neo-natal projects in NorthShore Evanston Hospital’s Infant Special Care Unit.

It’s that kind of backing and commitment to philanthropy that Dr. Caplan finds so completely gratifying, especially in troubled economic times when it’s getting harder and harder to sustain funding. “We are more dependent on generous donors than ever before and that will be true in the future, too, I think, as federal grant money shrinks.”

Dr. Caplan also personally donates to NorthShore because he wants the system to remain strong and become even more dominant in the Midwest’s healthcare arena. “Donations make a difference,” he said. “I’ve seen that firsthand over the years.”       

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