Cedars-Sinai Medical Center evolved from a single hospital to become one of the largest and most advanced hospital systems in the world. The Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors is helping the medical center raise money to continue being a worldwide leader in innovative medical technologies. The board’s fundraising has already helped the medical center create and expand important programs, and its plans for the future are just as bold.

Cedars-Sinai’s Humble Beginning

The roots of what would become Cedars-Sinai Medical Center began in 1902 when Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Kaspare Cohn donated a two-story home to serve as a hospital for the community. Initially, the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, as it was called, had just 12 beds. The hospital moved to a larger location eight years later and expanded to 50 beds. By 1930 the hospital had moved and expanded again and acquired the latest medical technology available.

In 1918, in the wake of the worldwide influenza epidemic, the Los Angeles-area Bikur Cholim Society opened a hospice for influenza victims. Bikur Cholim societies are Jewish nonprofit groups that help people in their communities with serious medical conditions and provide support services for their families. In 1926 the society was able to expand its services and rename the hospice Mount Sinai Hospital.

Cedars of Lebanon and Mount Sinai Hospitals merged in 1961 in response to the needs of the quickly growing population of Los Angeles. The merger was followed by the construction of a new, larger hospital in the early 1970s. This established the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of today.

One of America’s Best Hospitals

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has established itself as one of the United States’ best hospitals. Healthgrades has named Cedars-Sinai one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for three years running, beginning in 2019. Additionally, Healthgrades has recognized Cedars-Sinai as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals in the specialties of Cardiac Care, Coronary Intervention, Critical Care, Pulmonary Care, and Neurosciences, among other areas. In 2021 U.S. News and World Report ranked Cedars-Sinai as the #6 overall hospital in the United States.

Cedars-Sinai has been able to stay at the forefront of advanced medical care through the efforts of the Board of Governors. Established in 1971, the board consists of a group of philanthropists who raise funding to support innovative medical technologies. Their success has been extraordinary, having raised $170 million in the last 10 years alone. Their latest project is the Board of Governors Innovation Center.

Charting the Future of Medicine

The Board of Governors Innovation Center will be a new state-of-the-art facility dedicated to genomic profiling of patients. By discovering how different genes interact with one another and their environment, doctors and scientists at the Innovation Center will be able to provide personalized treatment of diseases such as cancer, heart and lung disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disease. These treatments will be more effective and safer because they will be tailored to the patient’s specific genetic profile.

In addition to the treatment of existing diseases, the Innovation Center will allow scientists and doctors to identify a patient’s risk for a particular disease. This, in turn, will enable doctors to work on preventative treatments and encourage the patient to be vigilant about their health. Early detection in many diseases, especially cancer, is imperative to give patients the best possible chance to survive.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for quick diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Genomic profiling can help to determine why some people are more likely to get a particular disease and why patients may react differently to the same drugs. The Board of Directors Innovation Center at Cedars-Sinai will be a potent weapon against potential future pandemics.

The Innovation Center will stand alongside the Board of Directors Regenerative Medicine Institute, a facility focused on stem cell therapy and transplantation of cells. Clive Svendsen, the executive director of the Regenerative Medical Institute, says of the work, “Our personalized medicine program is using cutting-edge technologies such as organ chips to emulate the human body and learn about diseases and develop novel drugs. We are also translating stem cell replacement therapies into patient clinical trials for a number of human diseases.” The Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors provides funding for the most innovative detection and treatment methods in modern medical science. Their fundraising efforts have put Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at the forefront of new technologies and approaches to old problems. David Sadkin, the chair of the Board of Governors, summarized the board’s work by saying, “The work of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors is more important than ever. Our dedicated membership provides invaluable support for one of the world’s premier healthcare systems. Our current initiative—the Board of Governors Innovation Center—will transform the landscape of medical research to fight today’s most difficult diseases.”