Dr. Joe Rogers, the founder of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute, is grateful for the donations and involvement of the community, but in the future, he hopes for even greater participation.
While monetary donations are always appreciated, “I want to take more of you than that,” Rogers told the crowd gathered for the institute’s 25th anniversary celebration Wednesday.
Rogers explained that people should demand value from their dollar. He suggests that potential donors take a tour of the institute campus, learn more about the various research projects like those on Alzheimer’s, heart, and Parkinson’s diseases, and find a topic that really interests them, then specifically designate where their money should go.
After that, ask for more than the standard donor thank you letter. Instead, demand monthly progress reports on the research endeavors, Rogers said.
“That kind of partnership will keep this faculty on their toes,” Rogers said.
BSHRI has made many strides with its research projects over the last four years, one of the most notable being Rogers’ own research showing that brain inflammation can lead to Alzheimer’s, and his theory that anti-inflammatory drugs could help combat the disease.
Rogers, who is leaving BSHRI for a position at Stanford Research International, said one of the things he is proudest of is the staff that he has worked with at the institute. He said he hopes that the community support that helped build the organization can continue.
It is Rogers’ belief, he explained Wednesday, that hospitals can do more for a community than just offering great hospitals. Research plays a key role in keeping people out of the hospital to begin with, and even though BSHRI has not yet found the cure for diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, its doctors and scientists continue to make advances, he said.
“I’m glad to have played some role in building this institute,” Rogers said.
For Drs. Jeff and Pat Taylor, Sun City West winter visitors and BSHRI donors, Rogers’ suggestion that they keep the researchers accountable for their money is right on track.
The Taylors said they are always happy to help out the institute, but with Pat Taylor’s mother suffering from Alzheimer’s, they are hoping to see a cure for the disease.
“We’re always interested in learning new things,” Pat Taylor said after the anniversary ceremony for BSHRI, although she added that it has taken both traditional and homeopathic medicine to help her mother.
The Taylors are hoping to see real results from the BSHRI, they said.
Dr. Eric Reiman, the CEO of Banner Research, the umbrella organization for BSHRI, said in the coming years, he hopes to see collaboration with many different research groups.
“You just watch what we can do together,” Reiman said during Wednesday’s event.
With the current economic climate, Banner Research decided to focus on a few areas of research it feels it can do really well, Reiman explained, rather than spreading dollars around to a wide variety of different projects.
There have been many changes to the BSHRI since it started in 1986, director Dr. Marwan Sabbagh said Wednesday, not the least of which is the change in budget. The operating budget was $500,000 in 1986; in 2011, it was $12 million, Sabbagh said.
The growth is a testament to the community, said Sabbagh, who also applauded the work of doctors at BSHRI who have received international recognition.
“In the world of science, everyone knows who we are, but nobody has heard of us east of the 1-17,” Sabbagh said.