Newswise — As a display of immense gratitude, Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse Jr., have made an extraordinary $1 million donation to further the Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine as a global leader in the field of urology.

The gift is in honor of Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., the chief operating officer at the University of Miami Health System, executive dean for clinical affairs, founding director of the Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the Miller School, and the Victor A. Politano, M.D. Endowed Chair in Urology. Parekh is one of the world’s most experienced robotic surgeons in urologic oncology and is the founding director of the new Urology Institute.

Hugh Culverhouse, a successful South Florida attorney and businessman, witnessed Dr. Parekh’s expertise firsthand in March of 2020.

“My prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level started skyrocketing and I have a family history of prostate cancer,” said Culverhouse. “Dr. Parekh was extremely sensitive in explaining to me why my prostate needed to be removed.”

After a successful surgery and an ideal recovery, “the outcome has been nothing short of incredible. I have quickly regained control of my urinary functions. Everything I was afraid I would lose, I did not,” said Culverhouse. “I live without the fear of dying in the same manner as my father and grandfather. A life without fear is precious.”

The Culverhouse’s extraordinary generosity will help in the establishment of a premier Urology Institute within the Miller School, which will accelerate breakthrough advances in research and expand clinical care.

"This gift will help propel our institute into the upper echelon of teams dedicated to the discovery and treatment of urologic disease,“ said University of Miami President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. “We are grateful for support from generous donors, which enables the Desai Sethi Urology Insitute to produce the types of ground-breaking advances in health care that are only possible at an academic health system.”

Culverhouse‘s gift came on the heels of the remarkable $20 million commitment from the Desai Sethi Foundation that will support the formation of the Institute.

Located in South Florida, the Institute will be an international destination for care, attracting the brightest minds and recruiting the most talented physician-scientists dedicated to the study and treatment of urologic disorders, and innovative research in the field.

“If you look at what has already been given, by the Desai Sethi Foundation and me, you can see the potential,” said Culverhouse. “Soon it will be known around the country that if you want a recovery like mine, you come to the Desai Sethi Urology Institute at the University of Miami, under the leadership of Dr. Parekh. I encourage others to match or exceed my gift so we can advance the field quickly.”

“This is a defining moment for the Univeristy of Miami Miller School of Medicine,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School. “The foundation of this Institute will distinctly elevate the level of groundbreaking research in urologic diseases, ultimately benefiting patients and impacting how we share that knowledge with the next generation of physician-researchers.”

“With the creation of the Institute, we are dedicated to exploring the latest discoveries in the laboratory and accelerating the most promising therapies from the lab into our clinics,” said Dr. Parekh. “Generous gifts, like these, drastically expand the scope of our work and allow us to push forward with new discoveries that will lead to the best possible treatments for patients.”

The Culverhouse’s admiration for Dr. Parekh goes beyond that of his surgical expertise as they also greatly respect his leadership. “He’s the right person to lead because he has utterly no hesitation,” Culverhouse said. “He is always pushing for excellence and when something is not done right, he pushes to correct it. That is what you want in your leader.”

The Culverhouse gift is part of the University of Miami’s recently launched Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the university’s history, the campaign has already reached $1.6 billion towards a goal of $2.5 billion.



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