LDS Hospital officials say medical research in Utah got a little healthier Wednesday thanks to an anonymous $2 million donation.
The donation - which will fund clinical medical research and education - matches the single largest private donation in LDS Hospital history. The John M. Huntsman family donated the same amount in 1994."We're very excited and deeply honored to be the beneficiary of such a wonderful gift," said David Wirthlin, executive director of the LDS Hospital-Deseret Foundation.
The Utah family making the donation asked not to be identified, said hospital spokesman Jess Gomez.
"They don't want to receive any credit, they simply wanted to help medical research and education," Gomez said.
LDS Hospital typically funds such research, in large part, through government grants - with about a third of all donations come from the private sector. Given the shrinking pool of federal and state money available for medical research, Wednesday's private gift is especially welcome.
"As a private teaching hospital, this is a very significant donation for us," said LDS Hospital Administrator Richard M. Cagen. "This gift enables our clinicians and researchers to continue very important scientific investigations aimed at improving the quality of care that patients receive."
Except for the 1994 Huntsman donation, Gomez said he's not aware of such a sizable contribution in any of the Intermountain Health Care facilities, to which LDS Hospital belongs.
Large donations from the private sector are often given to large medical research hubs. In 1995, for example, Huntsman donated $100 million to the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.
But contributions are also vital at private facilities like LDS Hospital, Gomez said.
"We're also conducting a good amount of medical research that needs to be funded," he said.
Wednesday's $2 million donation will be used to establish an endowment to fund several medical research and education projects at LDS Hospital.
Currently, there are about 350 projects under way at the hospital. Some of the most significant research projects include studying the relationship between bacteria and heart disease, advancing artificial heart technology and improving treatment of Adult Respiration Distress Syndrome, a disease that fills the lungs with fluid, Gomez said.