The HackensackUMC Foundation Receives a $500,000 Gift from the Caryl and Jim Kourgelis Fund
June 17, 2015 02:01 PM
Motivated by the experience of a loved and inspired to help others, Caryl and Jim Kourgelis of Saddle River made a $500,000 donation to support the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Motivated by the experience of a loved one and inspired to help others, a Saddle River couple made a $500,000 donation to support the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center. The gift, presented by the Caryl and Jim Kourgelis Fund for Addiction and Behavioral Health, will support research and treatment programs to advance the understanding of mental illness and develop safe and effective protocols. It will explore alternatives to medication in treating depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and substance abuse.
“Mental illness remains a major cause of disability worldwide,” explained Diego Coira, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at The Debra Simon Center for Integrative and Behavioral Health and Wellness at HackensackUMC.
One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional, according to the World Health Organization. Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders.
After facing the addiction of a loved one, the Kourgelis family is supporting the exploration of modalities of treatment that go beyond the scope of traditional medication to better understand the complexity of the brain, by mapping the effects of more holistic approaches. Treatment modalities that don’t rely on medication include psychotherapy, exercise, nutrition and meditation.
“Addiction is a lifelong journey for the entire family and awareness at a young age is so important,” said Caryl Kourgelis.
Owners of Season’s, the Venetian and Shadowbrook Catering, where hundreds of thousands of people gather with family and friends to celebrate happy occasions, Jim and Caryl Kourgelis are dedicated to helping those impacted by the addiction of a loved one.
“It can be hard to tell who is suffering,” Jim Kourgelis said. “Many are good looking, popular, athletic, and also suffering. We need professionals to help them. We need science.”
Jim and Caryl Kourgelis are helping to advance both the science and the conversation by providing the funds to support these new research and treatment programs.
“The Kourgelis family’s willingness to give so generously for the benefit of others is remarkable,” said Dr. Coira. “We offer them our gratitude and our commitment to improve our understanding and to eliminate the stigma of mental illness so that we may reduce suffering and promote well-being in our community and beyond.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Motivated by the experience of a loved and inspired to help others, Caryl and Jim Kourgelis of Saddle River made a $500,000 donation to support the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center. Pictured from left to right: Jon Fitzgerald, executive vice president and chief development officer of the HackensackUMC Foundation; Diego Coira, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at The Debra Simon Center for Integrative and Behavioral Health and Wellness at HackensackUMC; Caryl and Jim Kourgelis; and Helen Cunning, vice president, Development-Strategic Campaigns, HackensackUMC Foundation.
About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,250 beds, nearly 10,000 employees and 2,700 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital rankings for 2014-15. It is one of the top 30 hospitals in the nation by receiving 11 national specialty rankings, including a national ranking for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Neurology and Neurosurgery in the 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals. The children’s hospital is housed with the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital in the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center, and was included on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ for nine years in a row, and received the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 13 years in a row. The medical center has also been named a Leapfrog Top Hospital, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and was Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament and the NY/NJ Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit: www.HackensackUMC.org.