Wake Forest University School of Medicine Launches $100 Million Philanthropic Campaign for Research

November 1, 2023

Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, the academic core of Advocate Health, are launching their largest campaign for research. Designed with health equity at the forefront, funds raised in this campaign will transform health care for patients, communities and the next generation of health care leaders by integrating research with clinical care while enhancing the speed with which new ideas move from research labs to patients’ bedsides and beyond.

The campaign – called ENVISION, now in its public phase, will take place over the next two years. The goal is to raise at least $100 million to support research and accelerate the discoveries which provide hope and, ultimately, improved care.

Philanthropic funds raised during the ENVISION campaign will support research throughout an individual’s lifespan with key focus areas in health equity; Alzheimer’s disease; cancer; cardiovascular disease; diabetes, obesity and metabolism; healthy aging and mobility; neurosciences; and regenerative medicine.

“Our research and discoveries serve as a catalyst for improved patient care in the communities we serve and far beyond,” said Dr. Ebony Boulware, dean of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and chief science officer and vice chief academic officer of Advocate Health. 

“Investing in this campaign today is an investment in the future of medicine,” said Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, CEO and chief academic officer of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, chief academic officer and executive vice president of Advocate Health and executive vice president for health affairs at Wake Forest University. “Through research, equipment, technology, community outreach and funding to support research, we will make new discoveries and translate those findings to the bedside to help patients have the best outcomes possible.”

The ENVISION campaign provides opportunities to support research and the future of medicine from investing in startup research, upfitting research space and supporting student scholarship to endowing positions to further advance research and attract the best researchers and faculty members to Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Examples of philanthropic support include the Jarrahi Family Endowed Research Scholars Fund in Geroscience Innovation at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and a recent partnership with The Ambrose Monell Foundation.

Dr. Ali Jarrahi, a retired psychiatrist, established a fund to support early-career, research-intensive faculty focused on geroscience, which is the study of the biology of aging and aging-related diseases. An initial emphasis of Jarrahi’s fund is on research into aging on a cellular level and Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s been a blessing to do,” Jarrahi said. “This was $1 million, and who knows what we might find out? The success of research is not always just in the amount of money. Young researchers have a lot of ideas and a lot of enthusiasm, but not always the funds and resources they need.”

Maia Monell, with The Ambrose Monell Foundation and co-founder and chief revenue officer at Nav.it, recently supported the ENVISION campaign focusing on Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Geroscience Healthspan Initiative. The Ambrose Monell Foundation focuses on early stage research and social initiatives that have the opportunity to build a more creative, equitable and innovative society.

"We are thrilled to support the Geroscience Healthspan Initiative. We have a longstanding commitment to supporting initiatives that are working to advance medical breakthroughs,” said Maia Monell of The Ambrose Monell Foundation. “We profoundly believe in the power of geroscience and its potential to revolutionize our understanding of mortal diseases. By focusing on aging, we hope this work will start to better anticipate and potentially prevent conditions such as cancer, reaffirming our dedication to promoting longevity and health.”

“We have all been impacted by research in some way and knowing we have teams of researchers here working on the future delivery of health care is part of who we are as the city of innovation,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. “The growth of the research established at Wake Forest University School of Medicine positively impacts our city, the communities of Advocate Health and, indeed, health care across the country.”

“Philanthropic support allows research to happen at a faster pace, and we are grateful for the support of our region and beyond as we launch our ENVISION campaign,” said Lisa Marshall, chief philanthropy officer and vice president at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.  “With the inspiring support from corporations, foundations and individuals across the country, we have successfully raised over $50 million of the $100 million goal in the campaign to date.

Those who would like more information and would like to contribute to ENVISION may visit Giving.WakeHealth.edu/ENVISION or contact the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations at 336-716-4589.

Media contacts: 
Joe McCloskey, jmcclosk@wakehealth.edu; Jenna Kurzyna, jkurzyna@wakehealth.edu