For 19 years, the annual Doctors’ Ball, hosted by the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, part of KentuckyOne Health, has honored the service of area physicians and community leaders. This year’s event is planned for October 18, at the Marriott Louisville Downtown.
The 2014 Doctors’ Ball will recognize some of the area’s most innovative and caring doctors and community leaders including: Ardis Hoven, M.D., Ephraim McDowell Physician of the Year; Marie and Ron Abrams, Community Leaders of the Year; Roberto Bolli, M.D., Excellence in Research; Morton Kasden, M.D., Excellence in Education; and Rosemary Ouseph, M.D., Compassionate Physician Award.
The black-tie event will include cocktails and silent auction beginning at 6:30 p.m., then dinner and an awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided by Body & Soul. Tickets are $250 each. To purchase tickets to the Doctors’ Ball, visit kentuckyonehealth.org/DoctorsBall or call 502.587.4596.
Ron and Marie Abrams
Over many years, the Abrams have been leaders in the Jewish and general communities, acting on their passion for health care, education, juvenile justice, religious freedom and civil rights. Their leadership reflects the loyalty, tenacity and affection described by friends and associates.
Marie Abrams headed the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Louisville Section, and chaired the Kentucky Commission on Women and Jewish Community Federation Community Relations Council in Louisville.
She has served as board member and national chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, traveling the world with Ron to meet with heads of state, including Israeli Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the late Yitzhak Rabin; the late Yasser Arafat; Jordan’s King Abdullah; and the late Mikhail Gorbachev.
University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey notes that Marie, an outspoken supporter of the university, will soon have the longest tenure ever on its Board of Trustees – 22 years.
Marcia L. Roth, Executive Director of Louisville’s Mary Byron Project, likewise says, “If you’ve got two parties who are at opposite ends of a subject, Marie’s great genius is to figure out a third way that they can both agree.”
Abrams explains that, “You must begin, first, by knowing all the facts, and second, by respecting the person whose opinion you’re trying to encourage … whether or not they agree with you.”
Roth followed in Marie’s footsteps as president of the NCJW Louisville Section, and says Abrams demonstrates not just how to be involved in the community, but how to have an impact, teaching and inspiring others to do the same.
“That’s where people of our generation can be helpful,” Abrams says, reflecting on her long record of community service with her husband, “encouraging people to take positions of leadership for the long term.”
For the Louisville community and beyond, says David Karem, “The things Ron and Marie do, so affects the people around them, it has a ripple effect that goes on.”
Ron Abrams served for more than 25 years on the board of Jewish Hospital Healthcare Services, and became board chair when the organization merged with Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital.
He has served as president of the Louisville Jewish Community Federation, president of The Temple, and on the boards of the Regional Cancer Center Corporation and Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, and Metro United Way.
Rabbis Gaylia Rooks and Joe Rooks Rapport of The Temple say Abrams’s leadership in creating the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, where he’s currently on the board, has, “transformed our community for generations.”
Jerry Temes, who served on the Jewish Hospital board with him, notes that Abram’s leadership of both The Temple board and the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare board came at critical junctures when each was grappling with merger. “He’s fair and inclusive,” Temes says, “a good listener and communicator,” able to help integrate sometimes conflicting cultures and smooth the course forward.
Dr. Roberto Bolli
Dr. Roberto Bolli has dedicated his research to saving the human heart. He led the SCIPIO clinical trial at the University of Louisville, supported by a multi-million dollar National Institutes of Health grant, to explore the use of adult stem cells to repair heart muscle damaged by a heart attack.
SCIPIO has been termed “groundbreaking.” With 600,000 patients each year in need of heart transplants and only about 3,000 transplantable hearts a year available, Bolli and colleagues sought a way to repair the heart and restore its function more efficiently than expensive and potentially problematic mechanical cardiac assist devices.
Mike Jones, now 71, was the first patient to undergo cardiac stem cell infusion in the SCIPIO trial. In severe heart failure as the result of a heart attack, the retired Louisville building contractor was barely able to walk without becoming short of breath. Five years after receiving an infusion of his own cardiac stem cells, Jones’ heart function has improved enough that he says he can now do just about anything he wants to.
As Editor-in-Chief of Circulation Research, the international cardiovascular research journal, Bolli also draws attention to questions that prompt clinical trials like SCIPIO around the world.
Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven
Dr. Ardis Hoven says her career is defined by her work with HIV/AIDS patients in Lexington in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. As an infectious disease specialist at the Lexington Clinic, she was one of the first physicians in central Kentucky to see the devastating disease.
Treatment improved, but when fear and misinformation about AIDS seeped into public policy, Hoven began advocating for patients. Her focus on health care policy expanded, and Hoven rose through the ranks to become president of the Kentucky Medical Association, and in 2013, president of the American Medical Association. It was a natural progression from a clinic packed with patients to the halls of the United States Capitol, where Hoven testified before Congress dozens of times.
Dr. Morton Kasdan
Surgeon Dr. Morton Kasdan credits his mentor, the late Dr. Harold Kleinert, with teaching him never to give up.
In 1991, Stephen Powell experienced Kasdan’s skill and tenacity when the Centre College glass artist accidentally pushed his hand through a window, and Kasdan helped motivate him following successful surgery. The artist regained full use of his hand, and says he owes his career to Kasdan, who became a friend. “I look up to him as an artist,” Powell says, because of his approach to surgery, and to life, with skill, creativity and compassion.
About 15 years ago, Kasdan noticed that medical students weren’t being taught how to hold surgical instruments or how to handle tissue, so he started offering weekly Sunday suture workshops at his home.
Now, about 100 students apply through a lottery each year for four to six slots per four-week session. The students learn not only how to handle a surgical needle, but how to handle themselves as doctors. Kasdan gives them his own printed “Advice You Won’t Find in Medical Textbooks,” which begins, “Professionalism does not arrive with your white coat; it is a behavior, an attitude that requires effort.”
Kasdan also teaches University of Louisville medical students and residents at the Louisville Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, where Chief of Surgery Dr. Earl Gaar, who worked for Kasdan as a college grad, also considers him a mentor.
“He’s not just influenced me,” Gaar says. “He’s influenced hundreds of people.” Lexington surgeon Dr. Theo Gerstle, one of Kasdan’s original Sunday suture workshop students, credits Kasdan with his decision to become a plastic surgeon. Of the trim and diminutive Kasdan, Gerstle says, “It’s hard to quantify how huge a human being he is.”
Dr. Rosemary Ouseph
Dr. Rosemary Ouseph was attracted to nephrology because it enables a physician to do “total patient care.” It’s clear that what Ouseph means by “total patient” goes beyond an individual’s physical health.
As Director of the Clinical Transplantation and Kidney Disease Program at the University of Louisville, Ouseph oversees some 70 kidney transplants a year, and is as concerned about the emotional well being of patients as she is about the physical challenges, which can include the potentially deadly risk of organ rejection. Ouseph is so skilled at handling the effects of any sort of transplantation on the lives of patients that she also works with U of L’s hand transplant program.
Ouseph relishes the transformation of a patient’s life when a successfully transplanted kidney can take the place of dialysis, which patients must undergo multiple times a week. “People are putting their whole faith that you will take care of them,” she says. “Taking care of kidney transplant patients is the best of all worlds.”
In 2013, the donors at Doctors’ Ball made it possible to make a charitable contribution of nearly $200,000 to the Trager Transplant Center.
Donors to the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation gave more than $10 million in 2013 to enhance patient care, educate health professionals, support leading-edge medical research, and provide access to quality health care.
Donors made it possible to provide 68 scholarships to students pursuing college degrees in high-demand medical fields, and launch a Kentucky Shakespeare Program for children who come from homes shattered by drug addition, violence, sexual abuse and chaos.
Charitable support enabled Jewish Hospital to unveil a new, innovative hybrid operating room, and to continue to bring science to life through “Pulse of Surgery” – an educational program that allows students to view live heart surgeries being performed at Jewish Hospital and interact with the surgical team via broadband link in real time.
Additionally, funding through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine furthers Jewish Hospital’s hand transplant program, and a Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence grant supports pancreatic islet cell research.