LOUISVILLE, KY. (July 15, 2010): The Norton Healthcare Foundation has received an $8 million gift from retired Louisville physician Elizabeth Pahk Cressman, M.D. Ph.D., a significant gift that will serve as a catalyst for future giving. Five million dollars will establish the Cressman Parkinson’s Center at Norton Neuroscience Institute, and $3 million will establish the Cressman Critical Care Center at Norton Suburban Hospital.
Dr. Cressman’s gift to the Norton Healthcare Foundation for the Cressman Parkinson’s Center will enhance care and research efforts for Parkinson’s patients at Norton Neuroscience Institute, including recruitment of new specialists, development of new technology, and enhanced treatment and research efforts. Norton Neuroscience Institute is the region’s leading provider of neurological care. Including Dr. Cressman’s $5 million gift, Norton Neuroscience Institute has already received more than $13 million in philanthropic support since its creation in early 2009 through gifts to the Norton Healthcare Foundation and Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Dr. Cressman’s gift to the Norton Healthcare Foundation for the Cressman Critical Care Center will go toward the vision of modernizing and enlarging the critical care unit at Norton Suburban, a 373-bed full-service community hospital located in eastern Jefferson County in Louisville.
Dr. Cressman, a retired anesthesiologist who practiced primarily at what is now Norton Suburban Hospital, has lived in Louisville the past 35 years. She has made the $8 million gift in memory of her husband, Frederick K. Cressman, M.D., who died in January 2010 at age 77 after a seven-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Frederick Cressman was the director of pathology at what is now Norton Audubon Hospital from 1975 until his retirement in 1999.
“I saw first-hand how much my husband suffered because of this progressive and debilitating disease,” Dr. Cressman said of her husband’s lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. “My hope is that this gift will give new hope to Parkinson’s patients at Norton Neuroscience Institute through the development of new treatments, supported by strong research efforts. My husband had a keen interest in neuropathology, so I’m sure he would be proud that this gift will help Parkinson’s patients far into the future.”
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative and progressive neurological disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement, often with cognitive impairments, and generally affects people over the age of 50. It is estimated that as many as one million Americans suffer with Parkinson’s disease and that 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year. The disease, which currently has no known cure, presents symptoms such as tremor of the hands, arms, legs or jaw; rigidity of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; or impaired balance and coordination. Although Parkinson’s is not considered a fatal disease, symptoms worsen over time and people suffer from a significantly decreased quality of life, including an inability to perform daily functions.
Because of an increasing elderly population in the Louisville region, Parkinson’s disease represents a significant health concern. Parkinson’s is treated with medications and in some cases surgery, including deep brain stimulation. This innovative surgical technique has been used successfully by one of Norton Neuroscience Institute’s neurosurgeons who has received advanced training in deep brain stimulation.
Dr. Cressman said she also chose to benefit Norton Suburban because of her 15-year tenure there as an anesthesiologist. The $3 million gift will help modernize and enlarge the critical care unit on the hospital’s first floor, providing for larger patient treatment areas with improved access to technology, greater patient and family privacy, and new options for family members to stay with loved ones.
Dr. Cressman’s $8 million gift reflects “remarkable generosity,” according to Stephen A. Williams, president & CEO of Norton Healthcare. “Dr. Cressman is establishing a legacy of helping improve care for thousands of people in our community and region. On behalf of the Norton Healthcare Foundation, Norton Neuroscience Institute, Norton Suburban Hospital and the entire Norton Healthcare family, we express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Cressman for this extraordinary act of generosity and caring,” Williams concluded.
Background on Dr. Elizabeth Pahk Cressman and Dr. Frederick K. Cressman
Dr. Elizabeth Cressman was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, the daughter of a pediatrician. She knew from an early age that she wanted to become a doctor, eventually moving to the United States in 1947 to further her medical education after earning a degree in medicine from Seoul Women’s Medical College. After arriving in America, she completed her internship and residency in anesthesiology in Chicago at Wesley Memorial Hospital, Passavant Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital (now merged with Cook County Hospital). Dr. Frederick Cressman, a native of Pennsylvania, attended Amherst (Mass.) College and Hahnemann University Medical School in Philadelphia before completing his medical residency in pathology at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, where he met his future wife, who was a practicing anesthesiologist by that time.
They married in 1972 before moving to Louisville in 1975 for their new jobs: Dr. Frederick Cressman as director of pathology at what is now Norton Audubon Hospital, and Dr. Elizabeth Cressman as an anesthesiologist in a group practice. “While we didn’t know whether we would stay in Louisville when we moved here, once we arrived we fell in love with the community and people and decided to make it our permanent home,” Dr. Cressman said.
In addition to their passion for medicine, the Cressmans shared an avid interest in the visual arts. Dr. Frederick Cressman also enjoyed mountain climbing, music and books, among many varied interests. Dr. Elizabeth Cressman, an avid worldwide traveler, pursued her lifelong interest in the visual arts by retiring from medical practice in 1990 and then earning a master’s degree in liberal studies from Bellarmine University in Louisville and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Louisville.
Their previous generosity has included gifts to support the visual arts and higher education. In 2006 the Cressmans made a $1 million gift to found the Cressman Center for Visual Arts at First and Main Streets in downtown Louisville. In 2009 they made a $10 million pledge to the Speed Art Museum in Louisville for the museum’s renovation and expansion project, which will include the Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Sculpture Garden and Cressman Piazza.
The Cressmans had been married 38 years when Dr. Frederick Cressman died in January 2010.
About the Norton Healthcare Foundation
As the philanthropic arm of not-for-profit Norton Healthcare adult services, the Norton Healthcare Foundation raises funds each year to make a difference for programs, equipment and facilities, research and education spanning services at Norton Hospital, Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Suburban Hospital. This allows caregivers and hospitals to stay up to date with medical advances and technology and maintains the community’s access to health care. For more information, visit NortonHealthcareFoundation.com or call (502) 629-8060.
About Norton Neuroscience Institute
One in every three people – some 1.7 million in Kentucky and Southern Indiana alone – will be affected by a neurological disorder at some point in life. Established in early 2009, Norton Neuroscience Institute is the region’s leading provider of neurological care. Its team of specialists is dedicated to providing patients and their families with advanced treatment for complex neurological disorders through several areas of expertise including pediatrics, stroke care, brain tumor treatment, spine care, movement disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, headaches and concussion treatment, trauma, injury and more. Since its launch, multiple neurosurgeons and neurologists have joined the institute, part of a 10-year plan to expand services, develop world-class facilities, implement leading-edge technologies, enhance research efforts and aggressively grow outreach efforts to position Norton Neuroscience Institute as a national leader in neurological care.
About Norton Suburban Hospital
Norton Suburban Hospital is a full-service, 373-bed community hospital offering inpatient and outpatient medical/surgical care and full diagnostic services. Norton Suburban specializes in comprehensive cancer prevention, detection and treatment; orthopaedics; neurosurgery; surgical weight loss services; and 24-hour emergency care. Norton Suburban also is home to a Norton Wound Healing Center and Norton Women’s Pavilion, offering general and high-risk obstetric and gynecologic care, a level III neonatal intensive care nursery, Norton Women’s Heart Center and a dedicated surgical unit just for women with private rooms and specialized nursing care.
About Norton Healthcare
For more than a century, Norton Healthcare’s faith heritage has guided its mission to provide quality health care to all those it serves. Today, Norton Healthcare is the Louisville area’s leading hospital and health care system and third largest private employer, providing care at more than 100 locations throughout Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana. The not-for-profit system includes five Louisville hospitals; 11 Norton Immediate Care Centers; 10,900 employees; nearly 400 employed medical providers; and more than 2,300 total physicians on its medical staff. For five consecutive years, Norton Healthcare has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky. The health care system serves patients in the Greater Louisville area, including Southern Indiana, and throughout Kentucky.
# # #