Philanthropists Teresa and Byron Pollitt have pledged $3 million to help create an endowed chair position for the director of the Fetal and Neonatal Institute at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, it was announced Tuesday.
The Pollitts’ charitable investment completes a $5 million endowment, to be named the Teresa and Byron Pollitt Family Chair in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine in their honor.
The inaugural holder of the chair will be FNI’s co-director, Dr. Philippe Friedlich, who is chief of CHLA’s Division of Neonatology and a professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
“This gift will give the Fetal and Neonatal Institute more opportunity to care for and improve the health of our youngest, most vulnerable patients,” Friedlich said. “With this new support, the Institute will hire an epidemiologist, provide greater support for families and engage government agencies to improve the care provided for patients treated through the Fetal and Neonatal Institute.”
Friedlich, who graduated from the Keck School of Medicine and also holds master’s degrees in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology from USC and in business administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is known for his research on the health care needs of infants with multiple congenital malformations, and for his efforts to improve their transition from hospital to home.
The Pollitts’ affiliation with CHLA spans more than 30 years, with Teresa serving as a past president of Children’s Chain, one of CHLA’s oldest associate support organizations.
Byron Pollitt, who retired in 2015 as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Visa Inc., said it “was hard to keep a dry eye during our personal visits with Paul (CHLA President and CEO Paul S. Viviano), Philippe and the research clinicians, all of whom revealed an extraordinary passion and determination to find better treatments for those who start life under the most challenging of circumstances.”
“It is an indescribable feeling to know that every single day from this day forward, our gift has the potential to make a life-changing difference for these tiny infants and their caring families,” he said.