Newswise — Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) announced a $1 million gift from Eric Moskow, MD, a primary care physician and healthcare entrepreneur, and his family. This transformational gift will establish the Neligan-Safford Endowed Chair in Primary Care, the first chair in primary care at WCHN.

Once named, the chairperson will work to establish innovative approaches to patient care, engage in robust research, attract high-quality providers and medical students, and bolster WCHN’s nationwide reputation.

The Moskow’s timely gift comes amid a major primary care shortage. Connecticut currently needs 149 primary care providers to meet the recommended population-to-physicians ratio, which was established to improve community health standards. 1 Nationally, nearly 15,000 new primary care providers are needed to meet recommended ratios based on the current population. 1 According to recent studies, Americans with primary care providers receive more preventive care (like cancer screenings and flu shots), and report having better access to care and overall experiences than those who do not have a primary care provider.2

“As a long-standing advocate for affordable and accessible health care, and a member of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I believe access to primary care is fundamental to good health. I applaud Dr. Moskow for creating the Neligan-Safford Endowed Chair in primary care in support of WCHN’s innovative programming and as a means to further enhance primary care across western Connecticut,” said United States Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

“We are deeply appreciative of the Moskow family’s generous gift which will have a profound and lasting impact on our health system for generations to come,” said John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of WCHN. “Studies show that primary care providers serve as the gateway to healthy lives for people while improving outcomes and reducing hospitalizations. With this newly established chair, WCHN will be better prepared to recruit, train, and retain the very best providers who will deliver cutting-edge care to our patients.”

The Neligan-Safford Endowed Chair in Primary Care is named in honor of Patrick Neligan, MD and Theodore Safford, Jr., MD. These late primary care providers mentored Dr. Moskow early in his career. Described as genuine family physicians, Drs. Neligan and Safford had mutual respect for each other. For decades, they provided Connecticut families with compassionate and reliable medical care.

Drs. Neligan and Safford were involved with several community health initiatives that remain active today, including a visiting nurse program, an annual community health day, and Dr. Neligan co-founded the Norwalk Community Health Center. Dr. Safford was also part of a national effort to get Family Practice approved as a medical specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). He was in the first group of physicians to be board certified in the specialty of Family Practice.

“Our dad was an extremely compassionate, skilled, and dedicated physician. We are very grateful to Dr. Moskow for honoring Drs. Neligan and Safford through this incredibly generous gesture,” said the Neligan family. “For our dad, primary care was a way of life and he considered it a privilege to work with families throughout the region. We all have fond memories of the countless house visits our dad would make in all kinds of weather, his kind and considerate response to late night phone calls from patients, and the long hours he worked. He set high standards for dedication, responsibility, ethics, and sound judgment — qualities that continue to make his children and grandchildren strive always to do the right thing.”

The Safford family described Dr. Safford as someone who embodied the best of what it means to be a family physician — honesty, loyalty, and commitment to those he served for over 42 years.

“Just like Dr. Neligan, our dad always put the needs and concerns of his patients first. Whether he was delivering a baby or comforting a patient through their final days, our dad treated everyone with respect. It gives our family great joy to know that his legacy of compassionate care will live on through this wonderful gift,” said the Safford family.  

“Drs. Neligan and Safford were rooted in a lifetime of selfless service. Each was committed to doing everything in their power to care for their patients, while setting the ultimate example for young physicians like myself,” said Dr. Moskow, former president of Family Medical Associates in Ridgefield, Connecticut and current CEO of Accuity Delivery Systems. “The primary care shortage facing our state and our country is real. We are honored to help WCHN expand its impressive primary care service for the next generation of providers and patients, all in the name of two remarkable physicians.”

In addition to attracting world-class providers and residents, the enhanced emphasis on primary care will allow WCHN to participate in national research initiatives with the network’s Rudy L. Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute. The future chair of primary care services will also help WCHN establish new collaborations and alliances that will drive innovation.

The Neligan-Safford Endowed Chair in Primary Care will be WCHN’s 13th overall endowed chair.

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1) According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, an organization that focuses on major healthcare issues facing the nation and the United States’ role in global health policy, December 2018 data:

2) According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), January 2019:


About Western Connecticut Health Network

WCHN and Health Quest have combined to form a new nonprofit health system. The name for the new health system will be Nuvance Health (pronounced NEW-vance). Nuvance Health’s mission will be to continually make progress and pursue impossible, so we can improve the lives of every person in each of the communities we serve. Nuvance Health will serve 1.5 million residents across New York and Connecticut and includes more than 2,600 aligned physicians, 12,000 employees, seven hospitals (Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Northern Dutchess Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Putnam Hospital Center, Sharon Hospital, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center), a large network of primary care and specialty practices, and multiple affiliated organizations. To learn more about Nuvance Health, visit our website.

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