When the trustees of the Boston-based Jack Satter Foundation learned about the fundraising efforts of their friend Audrey Reny to create The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), they instantly connected with the center’s mission to generate breakthroughs in research and care for individuals with traumatic injuries. The center is named for Reny’s daughter Gillian, a survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings who received life-saving treatment at BWH.
During his lifetime, the late Jack Satter was a World War II veteran, inventive entrepreneur, and dedicated philanthropist interested in advancing healthcare and helping people with physical disabilities. To aid the center’s work, the trustees of his foundation made a grant of $1 million last year to permanently endow one of the center’s annual Stepping Strong Innovator Awards.
Through the program, established in 2014 with donor support, BWH researchers compete for $100,000 awards that help them conduct research in bone regeneration, limb transplant, advanced stem cell technology, orthopaedic and plastic surgery, bioengineering, and other trauma-related solutions. For example, one of last year’s award winners, Michael Weaver, MD, wants to help the 7 million people who suffer a bone fracture each year in the United States. He is developing a device to precisely measure bone healing to drive drug development, reduce pain, and speed recovery.
“To think of patients benefitting from solutions like these in the near future is inspiring,” says Eric Wolf, a trustee of the Jack Satter Foundation. “It is exciting to be able to support cutting-edge work that ties together so many areas that are important to us.”
Wolf also notes how his fellow trustees were impressed by the center’s connection to a world-class teaching hospital, the level of collaboration across disciplines to develop ideas, and the overall goal to help individuals injured by disease, aging, military combat, or other traumatic events.
He says, “It stood out to us that the multidisciplinary approach of the Stepping Strong Center is leading to a new level of innovation—even here in Boston, where we have a robust start-up culture in healthcare.”