When a bicycle accident paralyzed Arthur Ullian nearly 27 years ago, he set out on a totally new life path.
Seeing a dire need for advances in spinal cord injury care, Ullian set his sights on convincing the federal government to increase funding for biomedical research. Drawing on his business skills and connections, he joined government committees, built relationships with lawmakers and health interest groups, and became a fierce advocate. Over the course of an eight-year period, he saw his efforts pay off when overall federal research funding rose from roughly $5 billion to $30 billion annually.
“Being in a wheelchair doesn’t slow me down,” Ullian says. “This work has become like a second career for me, which has been really exciting.”
To make his own philanthropic impact on research, he and his wife, Dora, recently gave $100,000 to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he serves on the Neurosciences Advisory Board. This gift supports the Pain Navigator Program, a pilot study within the hospital’s Program for Interdisciplinary Neurosciences led by Martin Samuels, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology. The study is evaluating a new approach to chronic pain in which personnel help patients navigate pain care options and secure appointments with appropriate specialists.
“Arthur is an incredibly passionate and informed advocate,” Samuels says. “We’re grateful for his generous support, and thrilled to have him involved with this important program.”