Brooklyn Hospital’s Founders Ball comes roaring back
Brooklyn’s social event of the season raises $1.45M
Hundreds of guests gathered at the Brooklyn Museum on Monday night for the Brooklyn Hospital Foundation’s 2022 Founders Ball. The event celebrated four exceptional honorees and new facilities at Brooklyn’s oldest hospital.
This was the first in-person gala held for The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) since 2019, and it was completely sold out. With the dazzling Brooklyn Museum as the venue, the borough’s most popular philanthropic event exceeded all expectations.
Guests mingled in the museum’s lobby under two towering wooden sculptures resembling sad Mickey Mouses by Brooklyn-based artist KAWS, had their sketches drawn by roving portrait artists, had an exclusive look at the Guadalupe Maravilla exhibit and watched a special video message from actor/comedian Kenan Thompson. The ballroom was bedecked with spring florals, and the festivities continued into the night with an afterparty, cocktails and dancing to live music.
After two traumatic years of COVID-19, TBHC has much to celebrate, including a modernized and expanded Emergency Department, a new state-of-the-art Myrtle Dialysis Center, and the Physicians Pavilion, a modern new medical tower housing primary and specialty care practices.
This year’s honorees included Dr. Louisdon Pierre, chief of Pediatric Critical Care and director of Pediatric Inpatient Services; Dan Chung, CEO, CIO and Portfolio Manager at Alger, and his colleagues at Alger; Carlos P. Naudon, president and CEO of Ponce Bank and former chair of TBHC; and Dr. Ahmar Aziz Butt, vice chair of Internal Medicine and director of Medical Affairs at Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance.
The event raised a whopping $1,450,000 for the 176-year-old Fort Greene hospital. The money will fund clinical advancements, like an expansion of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.
‘Tremendous wealth and tremendous need side by side’
TBHC’s resources are there for everyone, said event Chair Jessie McClintock Kelly.
“It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I came to understand what Brooklyn Hospital really means to our community,” Kelly said. “I have lived in Brooklyn for a long time and I know that Brooklyn is a place where tremendous wealth and tremendous need exist side by side.
“The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s mission — to be there for everyone, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay — is no small feat,” she added. “The physicians, the nurses, the administrators and all of our staff work diligently to ensure that every patient is cared for with dignity and compassion.”
Lizanne Fontaine, TBHC board chair, applauded the board for their extraordinary service, “as well as a lasting commitment to our hospital and our mission. Each of you has a unique unique life story, but what you all have in common is a concern for others and a desire to make the world a better place.”
She thanked TBHC’s doctors, nurses and staff “for keeping us going on the front lines. The last few years have been trying and complex and seemingly endless, and yet you have displayed on wavering dedication and sacrifice every day.”
The hospital has overcome countless challenges since it opened in 1845, “emerging stronger with each passing year, and we are not done yet,” Fontaine said.
‘TBHC is entering a new chapter’
“The Brooklyn Hospital Center is entering a new chapter marked by rebuilding and revitalizing the healthcare environment of Brooklyn,” said TBHC’s President and CEO Gary Terrinoni. “Despite unimaginable challenges caused by the pandemic, we are fulfilling our promise to the community. We are providing the latest and best medicine for everyone, and we are ensuring that people can access quality and safe care close to home.
“We have committed our energy and our resources to renovating the entire emergency department, moving specialty practices into the new Physicians Pavilion on Saint Felix, opening a new dialysis center on Myrtle Avenue, and completing a comprehensive new Outpatient Cancer Center also on Myrtle Avenue,” Terrinoni said. “It does not stop there. We have big ideas and big plans, and we are ready to take them on together.”
Dr. Louisdon Pierre
Dr. Louisdon Pierre, chief of Pediatric Critical Care and director of Pediatric Inpatient Services at TBHC received the 2022 Walter E. Reed Medal.
Dr. Pierre said he originally set out to be an internist working with adult patients. But during his rotating internship he was required to spend three months in Pediatrics. “As soon as I began to care for children, I found what I was looking for … Children were very resilient in a way that increased my personal satisfaction and caring for patients. I never turned back from that.”
Dr. Pierre described a 7-year-old who came to the emergency room “barely able to walk, in excruciating pain. For most of his seven years of life he suffered from the complications of sickle cell disease. We quickly admitted him to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, but still in a few hours his lungs filled and he was barely able to breathe.” The boy’s mother was frantic, he said. Dr. Pierre carried out a procedure that involved replacing the boy’s entire blood volume. “Within hours, he was able to breathe easily. Ladies and gentlemen, to see a kid coming from the brink of a catastrophic illness, which we do often in the Intensive Care Pediatric Unit, is for me the most profound professional satisfaction.”
Dr. Pierre says he has found a family at TBHC. “To be here today to receive the Walter Reed Medal in the company of those who have received it already brings this to a whole new level for me, and for that I am eternally grateful.”
Dan Chung and his colleagues at Alger
Dan Chung, CEO, CIO and Portfolio Manager at the Alger investment management firm, along with his colleagues at Alger, received the Brooklyn without Borders Award.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Alger and its employees raised $400,000 to pay off the outstanding student loan debt of TBHC’s nurse managers, who are the most senior nurses.
“We recognized the stress that the front lines were under,” Chung said. “Managing this crisis, managing their teams.” Some on the hospital’s staff had lost their own family members to COVID. And yet, “They were all looking for the good in a terrible situation.”
On September 11th, Alger was located in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on the 93rd floor. “We lost 35 people,” Chung said. “We recognize that supporting the families of our lost colleagues and the charities that they supported in honor of them would become part of Algiers charitable mission as well.”
When TBHC first called to tell him about the award, his first reaction was, “You’ve got the wrong person,” Chung said, adding it was the nurses at Brooklyn Hospital Center who should have won. “Thank you for being the best kind of heroes.”
Dr. Ahmar Aziz Butt
Dr. Ahmar Aziz Butt, vice chair of Internal Medicine and director of Medical Affairs at Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance, received the 2022 Walter E. Reed Medal.
Dr. Butt has been at The Brooklyn Hospital Center since 1991. “Firstly, I stayed here because it’s an academic institution and I want to prepare the next generation of doctors,” he said. “Secondly, this was an underserved community.” He thanked the employees of Brooklyn Hospital “for making my 30 years at TBHC like my second home, and of course my patients for making all this worth it.”
Family is very important to Dr. Butt. He thanked his wife of 35 years, humorously ribbed his children, and dedicated his medal to his parents, “May they rest in peace.” His 92 year old father-in-law traveled from Pakistan to attend the event.
“Looking back at my life, I think integrity and honesty in my profession is the thing that is the most important. I never cared about insurance, I never cared about money,…. That’s something that I got from my parents,” he said.
Carlos P. Naudon
Carlos P. Naudon, president and CEO of Ponce Bank and former chair of TBHC, received the Founders Medal.
“What I want each of you to know about Carlos is that he has leveraged his accomplishments and gifts, his extraordinary faith and commitment and stubbornness to keeping The Brooklyn Hospital Center independent and in service to its community,” said Fontaine by way of introduction. She added, “Carlos has spent his life helping to close healthcare and wealth gaps.”
Relocating to the U.S. with his family (and dog) from Chili at the age of 13, he has always enjoyed working with immigrants, Naudon said. “One of the things that folks don’t recognize, even in Brooklyn, is all of the little businesses that exist, many of them were started by first-generation immigrants.”
“Brooklyn Hospital is a real community asset. We have to remember that,” Naudon said. “We are here for the people, and we are here to make things better. I like to call it narrowing the health gap. You can’t do that unless you are master of your own destiny.”
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