The Einstein Women’s Division hosted its 61st annual Spirit of Achievement Luncheon on May 19, at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan. Actress Candice Bergen, opera star Renée Fleming and Einstein-Montefiore pediatric heart specialists Daphne T. Hsu, M.D., and Robert H. Pass, M.D., were the honorees. The event benefited research at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center focusing on ovarian, breast, uterine, cervical, prostate, lung, colon and pancreatic cancers as well as leukemia and lymphoma. Emmy Award–winning TV personality Jill Martin, a past Spirit honoree, donated her time and talent as emcee. The event chairs were Carol Roaman, president of the Women’s Division, and executive board members Andrea Stark and Terri Goldberg.
Luminaries in the audience included past Spirit honorees actress Christine Baranski, Olympic figure-skating champion Sarah Hughes, longtime Women’s Division board members Broadway producer Daryl Roth and art collector/philanthropist Emily Fisher Landau, and Einstein faculty members Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., and Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D. Also present were Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and CEO of Montefiore Health System; Philip O. Ozuah, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president and COO of Montefiore; Roger W. Einiger, chair of Einstein’s Board of Overseers; and Ruth L. Gottesman, Ed.D., immediate past chair.
Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., Einstein’s Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, introduced a video detailing how Drs. Hsu and Pass and a team of Montefiore doctors provided lifesaving heart transplant surgery to 17-year-old Brianna Barker. Ms. Barker then took the podium to rousing applause and assisted Dean Spiegel and Ms. Martin in presenting Spirit of Achievement awards to Drs. Hsu and Pass.
Dr. Hsu, a professor of pediatrics (cardiology) and division chief of pediatric cardiology at Einstein and co-director of the pediatric heart center at Einstein and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), expressed her excitement about plans for Einstein and Montefiore to strengthen their longtime relationship, and about the prospect of following Ms. Barker’s future success in life. Dr. Pass, an associate professor of pediatrics (cardiology) at Einstein and director of the pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratory and of pediatric electrophysiology services at CHAM, thanked Dr. Hsu and his other mentors, his “role model” parents and his patients, “who inspire me on a daily basis.”
Ms. Fleming and Ms. Bergen received their Spirit of Achievement awards later in the program.
In her acceptance remarks, Ms. Fleming, a world-renowned soprano, noted, “Classical singers share a trait with medical researchers who are on a lifelong quest to master an unruly instrument.” As an artist whose art focuses on breath control, she was “amazed” to learn about an innovative inhalation therapy developed by Einstein and Montefiore researchers to combat lung cancer, which had struck a close family member of hers.
Widely acclaimed for her starring role in the hit TV sitcom Murphy Brown, Ms. Bergen was visibly moved by Ms. Barker’s story. She declared Drs. Hsu and Pass “my new heroes.” Noting that she lost her first husband, French film director Louis Malle, to lymphoma, and that her current husband, real estate developer Marshall Rose, lost his first wife to breast cancer and three friends to leukemia, she told the Women’s Division members, “I salute you and have great respect for the work you do.”
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To join the Einstein Women’s Division’s initiative to support research on women’s and men’s cancers, or to learn more about the Women’s Division, please contact Mary Anna Smith at 718.430.4010 or firstname.lastname@example.org..