Without the support of philanthropists such as New York socialite Dana Hammond, medical research and technology would slow considerably. Without generous donors to medical institutions and organizations, fewer children and adults would receive needed treatment. If entertainer and philanthropist Danny Thomas had not established St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, protocols that raised childhood cancer survival rates from less than 20 percent in 1962 to 80 percent today may not exist. Danny Thomas passed away in 1991, but Dana Hammond and other donors support St. Jude, enabling the research and advances to continue.
Dana Hammond also supports several other medical institutions. One of the premier cancer facilities in the world, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center includes 16 multidisciplinary teams treating more than 400 cancer subtypes. A top training site as well, the center offers a Ph.D. program in cancer biology. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, a top comprehensive university hospital, ranks among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the United States. Other beneficiaries of Dana Hammond’s generosity include Southampton Hospital and Silver Hill Hospital.
In addition to major medical facilities, Dana Hammond donates to the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, a nonprofit educational campaign aimed at drastically reducing the estimated annual death toll from hospital infections. The organization works with legislators and other policymakers, as well as medical and nursing schools, to change “business as usual.” As the Committee estimates that hospital infections add more than $30 billion to the cost of health care in hospitals alone, Dana Hammond’s contributions could actually save money as well as lives.
Another organization gaining from Dana Hammond’s philanthropy, the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), supports research on the deadliest type of skin cancer. The largest private funding mechanism for such research, the MRA has awarded grants totaling $30 million to fund 73 research programs on melanoma. Dana Hammond also assists the Alzheimer’s Association, the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, and the Cancer Research Institute.