2013 / January

Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center Launches at CUMC

Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center Launches at CUMC

January 30, 2013

On January 28, a symposium and dinner held in New York City celebrated the launch of the new Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Debby and Peter A. Weinberg, with several family members and friends, are giving more than $7 million to establish the Center. It will be the first on the East Coast to provide integrated, multidisciplinary care for both children and adults with cerebral palsy (CP)—and only the second in the country to support CP patients of all ages.

The symposium featured Columbia faculty members, CP patients and family members, as well as a Q&A led by Weinberg Family CP Center executive medical director David Roye, Jr., M.D. Featured symposium speakers included CUMC Dean Lee Goldman, M.D.; Louis Bigliani, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery; Heakyung Kim, M.D., professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine; Joseph Dutkowsky, M.D., associate medical director of the Weinberg Family CP Center; CP patient Stephen Wampler; and parent Michael Craig. At a private dinner following the symposium, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered brief remarks, along with Debby and Peter A. Weinberg. Dr. Goldman, Dr. Roye, and two CP patients also spoke.

The new center will serve as a medical home for patients of all ages with CP, coordinate care with specialists, ease the transition of teenage patients into adult care, and educate caregivers and families while offering them support. In addition, the center will lead basic and clinical research, and establish the first-ever nationwide CP patient registry—helping researchers to overcome longstanding hurdles of lack of data on CP patients and insufficient outcomes data, while providing a robust platform for multidisciplinary longitudinal research.

Debby and Peter A. Weinberg are the lead donors in this effort, in recognition of the support and care that their youngest son, who was diagnosed with a rare form of CP at age three months, has received at CUMC.

“When our son began to transition from pediatric to adult care to manage his CP, we realized that there is a vital need for adult specialized care to pick up where pediatric medicine leaves off,” said Peter A. Weinberg, a founding partner of Perella Weinberg Partners L.P., a global financial services firm.

CP is a group of disorders that affect movement, speech, and cognitive function, striking young children from before birth to up to two years old. Nearly 1 million people live with CP in the U.S., and a significant majority of CP patients—nearly nine out of 10—reach adulthood. Adult CP patients face unique challenges, such as pain management, mobility problems, and aging-related conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

The center will expand upon the CP services currently available at CUMC, offering 40 physicians from 20 specialties, including neurology, rehabilitative and regenerative medicine, cardiology, dentistry, and psychiatry, to help patients manage their condition. The center will also extend Columbia’s current CP research portfolio. While basic science research focuses on discovering the disease mechanisms for CP, clinical research conducted at the center will focus on testing new treatments and understanding the impact of these treatments on patient outcomes and quality of life.

“Our goal is for this new center to become a nationwide model for an integrated research and treatment program to help patients with CP—children and adults alike—manage their condition as best as possible,” said Dr. Roye, who is also chief of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery.

To learn more about the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center, please contact Leah Bentley, associate vice president for development, at (212) 304-7219 and leah.bentley@columbia.edu.