MADISON, Wis. (October 10, 2011) – Meriter announced today that it has received a $2 million gift from the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation, which will be used to help support the partnership between Meriter and UW Health as they seek to advance patient care, research, education and advocacy in women’s health.The gift was announced during a recognition event last Thursday honoring the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation at the Madison Club.
“We are very grateful for this generous gift from the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation because it will help us continue the high level of care in women’s health that Meriter and UW physicians partner on every day,” said Dr. Geoffrey Priest, Meriter’s chief medical officer. The program has operated jointly since 1957.
“Madison area mothers and babies benefit from this collaboration in patient care and research. The Rennebohm Foundation’s gift ensures leading edge medicine for generations to come,” said Dr. Laurel Rice, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UW’s School of Medicine and Public Health.
“For example, research on high blood pressure during pregnancy is providing insights into low birth weight babies, as well as potential treatments for high blood pressure in adults,” said Rice.
Priest pointed out that the need for investment in women’s health is greater than ever, noting that visits to Meriter’s high-risk obstetrics clinic have increased by nearly 5,000 in a two-year period, from 11,317 visits in 2008 to 16,288 in 2010. “Clearly, the Rennebohm Foundation’s gift will be put to very good use,” he added.
Meriter’s high-risk Ob clinic serves women with complicated medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes; multiple births; and genetic anomalies. Additionally, Meriter provides prenatal care to more than 400 low income families.
As the busiest birthing hospital in the state – averaging about 3,700 births annually – Meriter Hospital teams with UW Health to provide unparalleled training to 24 future physicians each year.
The $2 million gift from the Rennebohm Foundation will help support program expansion to meet increasing demand for high-risk pregnancy support and gynecological specialty care.
“The Oscar Rennebohm Foundation is pleased to support Meriter Hospital’s continuing and strong involvement in Women’s Health. Prevention, intervention and ongoing care to women of all ages and income levels is certainly critical to the health of our region,” stated Mary Gulbrandsen, RN, member of the Oscar Rennebohm Board of Directors.
The Oscar Rennebohm Foundation was founded in 1949 by Oscar Rennebohm, a Madison drug store entrepreneur. The Rennbohm drug store chain flourished to a total of 30 Madison-area pharmacies during the mid-1970s, and eventually sold to Walgreen’s in 1980. Oscar Rennebohm served as Wisconsin’s governor from 1947 to 1951.