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Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants $11.6M to Expand Advanced Heart and Lung Care in Nevada

LAS VEGAS, April 23, 2024 — The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust is granting $11.6 million to three Nevada health systems to expand access to life-saving care for patients suffering from acute cardiac and pulmonary failure.

The grant projects will expand the availability of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) to provide heart and lung support for patients with severe failure of the heart, lungs, or both. The state-of-the-art procedure can save lives in cases that otherwise would offer little chance of survival and can act as a bridge to those needing heart or lung transplants.

“ECMO can be a game changer for patients with severe heart and lung conditions,” said Walter Panzirer, a Trustee with the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Without ECMO, hospitals have to transfer patients to other facilities, and those who are too unstable for transport could die before receiving needed care.”

Helmsley is granting more than $5.1 million to St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation to launch an ECMO program at Dignity Health-St. Rose Siena Hospital in Henderson. The facility will add four dedicated ICU rooms for patients suffering from acute respiratory distress, recovering from cardiac arrest, or awaiting a lung or heart transplant. An adjacent sleep room will allow an on-site provider to immediately respond to critical events.

“This donation from the Helmsley Charitable Trust is quite literally lifesaving for our community,” said Dr. Rod Buzzas, Chief Medical Officer for Dignity Health-St. Rose Siena Hospital. “In the world of modern medicine it is not enough to have just the best surgeons, doctors, and nurses. You must have the most advanced medical technology and equipment as well. As a not-for-profit hospital, we depend on the generosity of others, and on groups like the Helmsley Charitable Trust, to maintain our position on the cutting edge of life-saving medical technology. We are grateful beyond words.”

Helmsley’s grant of more than $3.5 million to Renown Health Foundation will bring this life-saving technology to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, establishing northern Nevada’s first ECMO program. The center will give severe respiratory distress and cardiogenic shock patients a greater chance of survival and lessen the need for risky and lengthy transfers out of the community.

“At Renown Health, we are always proud to incorporate today’s leading-edge medical innovations into our toolbelt of care. We are incredibly grateful for the Helmsley Charitable Trust $3.5-million gift that will establish an ECMO program at Renown,” said Brian Erling, MD, MBA, President & CEO for Renown Health. “ECMO is a form of life-support that aids heart and lung function while patients recover from serious illness. As a health system, our top priority is improving the lives of the people who entrust us with their care. The ECMO program will ensure advanced care for our region’s sickest patients.”

Helmsley’s grant of $1.2 million to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC) in 2023 has helped accelerate and bolster the development of its extracorporeal life support (ECLS) services for adult and pediatric patients. These key services are provided through a multidisciplinary approach encompassing critical care medicine, surgery, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, and pediatric critical care. UMC continues to use the grant money to help physicians, nurses and staff travel to active ECLS centers for experience, purchase training equipment, fund outside consultation services, secure equipment for program expansion and obtain practitioner certification for core providers. With support from this grant, UMC has introduced four additional ECMO machines thus far. UMC plans to further expand the program to offer a total of 11 ECMO machines in the near future.

“This generous grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will continue to have a life-changing impact on many of our community’s most critically ill and injured patients,” said Dr. Allison McNickle, UMC’s ECMO Medical Director and Vice Chief of Trauma. “We look forward to expanding UMC’s ECMO program and further elevating the level of care available to patients of all ages in Southern Nevada.”

In addition to the $5.1 million grant to St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation for a new ECMO program, Helmsley is also granting $1.7 million to the health system to help renovate one of Dignity Health-St. Rose Siena Hospital’s four cardiac catheterization laboratories, upgrading vascular disease imaging services for patients with coronary artery and structural heart diseases.


(Additional information including photos and b-roll video can be downloaded from https://helmsleytrust.box.com/v/NVCardiology2024 and the news conference is being livestreamed at https://helmsleytrust.tv/live.)


About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed about $4.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $700 million to organizations and initiatives in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.


About Dignity Health – St. Rose Dominican

Nevada’s only not-for-profit, faith-based health system, Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Hospitals remain guided by the vision and values of the Adrian Dominican Sisters who founded Rose de Lima Hospital in Henderson in 1947. Dignity Health now operates three acute care hospitals in southern Nevada – the Siena, San Martin, and Rose de Lima Campuses. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals is a member of the Dignity Health network of nearly 10,000 physicians, 60,000 employees, 41 acute care hospitals, and more than 400 care centers, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, and primary care clinics. Dignity Health is a part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit health system committed to advancing health for all people and dedicated to serving the common good. More than 75 years after the arrival of the original seven Sisters in Henderson, the 4,000 employees of the St. Rose Dominican health system continue the Sisters’ mission of serving people in need, especially the most vulnerable. For more information, visit www.strosehospitals.org.

Dignity Health hospitals in Nevada are supported by the St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation, whose mission is to improve community health and wellness through fundraising and relationship building with caring supporters who donate or pledge to fund our work. To learn more, visit supportstrose.org or email strosefoundation@dignityhealth.org.


About Renown Health

Renown Health is Nevada’s largest, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination, and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown is currently enrolling participants in a community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit https://renown.org.


About University Medical Center of Southern Nevada

UMC offers the highest level of care in Nevada, providing a wide range of exclusive and specialized health care services to community members and visitors. UMC is home to Nevada’s only Level I Trauma Center, only Verified Burn Care Center and only Center for Transplantation. Offering highly skilled physicians, nurses and staff members supported by the latest, cutting-edge technology, UMC continues to build upon its reputation for providing Nevada’s highest level of care. In support of its mission to serve as the premier academic health center, UMC is the anchor partner for the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. For more information, please visit www.umcsn.com.




Dirk Lammers, (605) 254-3472, dirk@ceteraservices.com