The UC San Diego Center for Pain Medicine will benefit from a generous pledge of $2 million from the estate of David and Janice Katz.
When David and Janice Katz sold their family business in Chicago, the couple looked forward to a full, active retirement in San Diego. They also planned to continue the philanthropic work that they had begun while in Chicago. Soon after the couple moved to the San Diego area, however, Janice began suffering debilitating pain from numerous orthopedic issues. Suddenly, she could no longer do all of the things she was passionate about—from tennis to traveling.
“My quality of life was declining rapidly,” recalls Janice. “Even though I had been suffering with some pain for years, I took a significant turn for the worse in February. I couldn’t even lift my head without severe pain and had to sleep in a sitting position. Several doctors told me there wasn’t anything that could be done without major surgery. Even then, they suggested that the surgery might significantly reduce my mobility.”
After exploring many other avenues for an answer, the couple found the UC San Diego Center for Pain Medicine, which Janice credits for changing her life. Today, thanks to treatments she receives from the center, Janice is living the life she had planned—including playing golf, cooking and traveling the world. It is with immense gratitude to the Center for Pain Medicine, Farshad Ahadian, MD, and his staff, that the couple recently pledged $2 million from their estate to support the program.
The Center for Pain Medicine, a division of UC San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology, offers a wide range of comprehensive treatment options. The center is unique in the region, integrating cutting-edge conventional therapies with complementary and alternative approaches for managing pain to promote healing, empower patients through education about their conditions, and ultimately restore maximum levels of function and quality of life for patients. It is the only one of its kind in San Diego that provides services to indigent and underserved patients. In 2010, the nationally renowned center was recognized for its outstanding work when the American Pain Society named the UC San Diego Health System program a Center of Excellence.
The Center for Pain Medicine, a division of UC San Diego School of Medicine, offers a wide range of comprehensive treatment options to address pain.
“Our mission has always been three-fold, including education and training of the brightest future pain physicians, advancing our specialty through both clinical and basic science research, and, of course, providing unsurpassed clinical care using a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach,” said Ahadian, director of the Center for Pain Medicine. “We have a unique opportunity at UC San Diego Health System, with access to some of the world’s best basic science and clinical research scientists.”
With a belief that the right diagnosis is critical for achieving success, doctors in the Center for Pain Medicine concentrate first on making sure they have the correct diagnosis. According to Ahadian, this can be challenging in many chronic pain conditions. A specialized program is then designed to address each patient’s specific needs.
The center offers cutting-edge minimally invasive treatments and implantable therapies that help many patients regain their quality of life and function while avoiding surgery. Treatment options may also include medical acupuncture, therapeutic exercise, cognitive behavioral therapies and biofeedback.
“We are fortunate to be able to provide a full spectrum of possible therapies in pain medicine,” said Ahadian. “We have a gifted group of board certified pain specialists with vast experience in interventional therapies that can provide tremendous value for our patients.”
Janice Katz is just one of the many patients who have benefited from this integrative, personalized care. With their $2 million estate gift to support the center’s greatest needs, coupled with current use funds of more than $10,000, the Katzes wish to support a center that can transform the lives of people from all backgrounds and ages.
“At any age, pain can prevent people from doing what they like to do. And isn’t that what life is all about?” commented David Katz. “The department focuses on helping people get to a point where they are able to do the things that they enjoy in life once again.”
Janice added: “Many people with chronic pain may be unaware of the options available to them, just as I was. They need to know about the wonderful options that the Center for Pain Medicine has to offer,” she continued. “There is so much hope. Even though successful pain management doesn’t necessarily cure a condition, it allows you to live, laugh and smile again.”
The Katzes, who have no children, believe their purpose and legacy is to “make the world a better place when we leave, than it was when we got here.” With their estate gift to the Center for Pain Medicine, they are doing just that.
“The field of pain medicine is still very early in its development and there is much more to come,” said Ahadian. “David and Janice’s contribution goes above and beyond simple financial contribution. They inspire people to be at their best. They remind our entire staff of why we do what we do.”
To learn more about the Center for Pain Medicine at UC San Diego Health System, please visit: health.ucsd.edu/specialties/cppm/Pages/default.aspx. To make a gift to the program, please visit healthsciences.ucsd.edu/development.