How it Works

How it Works

The combined power of Cleveland Clinic Annual Fund gifts provides grants to Cleveland Clinic caregivers– doctors, nurses, social workers, researchers, and everyone in between, at all locations – who are leading innovative projects that serve our patients and local communities.

  • Your gift might provide a visionary researcher the seed money for a small-scale study that leads to future breakthroughs.
  • Maybe your gift will help a team of pediatricians launch a pilot program that brings free health screenings to public schools.
  • Or perhaps your gift will support the ongoing work of Cleveland Clinic’s art and music therapists, who make long hospital stays more enjoyable, therapeutic and inspiring for patients of all ages. Their work would not be possible without the generosity of donors like you.

How Your Gift Makes an Impact

Cleveland Clinic is at the forefront of healthcare, whether it’s through groundbreaking medical discoveries, superior patient services or innovative population health programs.

Your donation will help us reach new heights.

And here’s our promise to you: 100% of your gift to the Cleveland Clinic Annual Fund will make an impact within one year. 100% will support projects that expand patient services, lay the groundwork for medical breakthroughs, or implement community health and wellness programs.

And 100% of the benefits will last for years to come.

That’s the power of every gift.

Grant Recipients

Grant Recipients

In August 2018, over 265 Cleveland Clinic caregivers applied to the inaugural round of the Cleveland Clinic Annual Fund grant program. A Caregiver Review Board led by Chief of Staff Herbert Wiedemann, MD, evaluated each application and selected 29 projects as grant award winners.

ACTiVHOS™ Youth Wellness Program

This program encourages youth to be physically active and adopt healthy behaviors by integrating fun, educational dialogues and fitness activities with incentive-based awards and prizes. The program is fully bilingual (Spanish) and was IRB-approved to evaluate outcomes.

Michelle Del Toro, MPH, MALS
Pictured Left to Right: Jennifer Hyland, RD, Diana Gueits, MBA, Bartolome Burguera, MD, PhD, Michelle Del Toro, MPH, MALS

Michelle Del Toro, MPH, MALS

Augmented Reality to Assess Resectablity Of Ovarian Cancer

This project will advance the use of augmented reality (AR) in the operating theater. Wearing AR goggles, a surgeon can walk around the patient to visualize anatomy from any perspective and digitally subtract or enhance organs at will.

Robert DeBernardo, MD

Robert DeBernardo, MD

Bereavement Comfort Kits

The Child Life team will create comfort kits with developmentally appropriate journals and resources on children’s grief, as well as expressive art items that provide opportunities to create keepsakes.

Tina Ulanowski, M Ed, CCLS and Michelina Bacisin, BA, CCLS

Tina Ulanowski, M Ed, CCLS and Michelina Bacisin, BA, CCLS

Cancer Survivor’s Support Group

The group provides support and empowerment for cancer survivors. Through conversations, art therapy sessions, special outings and guest speaker lectures, this tight-knit group builds strength together.

Gayle Ivory
Pictured Left to Right: Dionne James, MSN, RN, CNOR, Gayle B. Ivory, LSW, Tisa Thompson, Patient Liaison

Gayle Ivory, Regional Operations

Care Accelerator for Advanced Kidney Disease in Disadvantaged Populations

This project will use computational tools to identify individuals with unrecognized advanced kidney disease. It will also establish a care plan that: 1) improves transitions from advanced kidney disease to the initiation of hemodialysis; 2) reduces barriers, and 3) promotes kidney transplantation.

John O'Toole, MD
Pictured Left to Right: John Sedor, MD, Emilio Poggio, MD, John O’Toole, MD, Anne Huml, MD, Charles Modlin, MD (Not Pictured: Hernan Rincon-Choles, MD and Jesse Schold, PhD)

John O'Toole, MD

Caring for Caregivers

To give parents a respite from caring for children with complex medical needs, this team will host a series of six free evening events that include an activity and meal just for parents, as well as childcare (and children-friendly activities).

Jennifer Negrey, MOT, OTR/L, BCP, CLT
Pictured Left to Right: Jennifer Negrey, MOT, OTR/L, BCP, CLT and Julie Jasinski, MOT, OTR/L

Jennifer Negrey, MOT, OTR/L, BCP, CLT

Children's Hospital Comfort Champions

This project will help make vaccines and needle procedures less scary and more comfortable for pediatric patients through the use of distraction kits, novel devices and provider training.

Shannon Sonnhalter, CCLS
Pictured Left to Right: Diana Swinehart, MS, CCLS, Salena Ramsey, BA, CCLS, Shannon Sonnhalter, BS, CCLS, Jane Hartman MSN, APRN-PNP-BC, Judith Meyer, RN, CPN

Shannon Sonnhalter, CCLS

Cleveland Clinic Hospice Virtual Reality Headset Program

Virtual reality software will provide hospice patients with the ability to engage in interactive, once in a lifetime experiences such as riding a rollercoaster or walking with elephants.

Jessica Marzulli
Pictured Left to Right: J. Brandon Walters, MD and Jessica Marzulli

Jessica Marzulli, Medical Operations

Clinical 3D Printing for Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease

The ability to hold an exact replica of the heart with these 3D printed models enables the surgeon to better examine the anatomy and design the appropriate surgery.

Ryan Klatte
Pictured Left to Right: Ryan Klatte, BSBME, Rukmini Komarlu, MD, Hani Najm, MD, Malek El Yaman, MD

Ryan Klatte, Lerner Research Institute

Contribution of Maternal Genetics to In Utero Inflammation Mediated Autism Spectrum Disorder

This study will provide proof of concept for the importance of maternal genetics in determining severity of in utero inflammation and incidence/severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Ritika Jaini, PhD

Ritika Jaini, PhD, Lerner Research Institute

Determining the Anatomical Factors Associated with the Quality of the Rectal Resection in Curative Rectal Cancer Surgery

The aim of this study is to determine the anatomical factors associated with the quality of the rectal resection in curative rectal cancer surgery to improve the quality of rectal cancer surgical outcomes.

Vladimir Bolshinsky, MD
Pictured Left to Right: Scott Steele, MD and Vladimir Bolshinsky, MD

Vladimir Bolshinsky, MD

Discovery of Gene Mutations that Govern Sensitivity to Radiation: Advancing Precision Radiotherapy

Unfortunately, the impact of most gene mutations on radiotherapy remains unknown. This project will conduct a large profiling effort to identify gene mutations that affect survival to radiation therapy.

Brian Yard, PhD
Pictured Left to Right: Jessica Castrillon, MS, Brian Yard, PhD, Aaron Petty, MS

Brian Yard, PhD, Lerner Research Institute

Empowering People in Warrensville Heights with Home Blood Pressure Monitors

This project will serve to increase individual awareness of blood pressure and help facilitate people taking better control of their own health.

Jonathan Leizman, MD
Pictured Left to Right: Jonathan Leizman, MD, David Pauer, MPH, Patricia Zirm, RN, BSN, MPH, Bruce Rogen, MD, Margaret McKenzie, MD, MS

Jonathan Leizman, MD

Exoskeleton for MS Rehabilitation

Exoskeletons are a novel technology that compensate for severe weakness by providing support for standing and power- assisted movement tailored to a person’s abilities and needs. This project will fund a preliminary study to evaluate the therapeutic use of exoskeletons for patients with MS.

Francois Bethoux, MD
Pictured Left to Right: Kellie Adams, PT, DPT, Matt Sutliff, PT, DPT, MSCS, Randy Karim, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS (Not Pictured: Project lead, Francois Bethoux, MD)

Francois Bethoux, MD

First Voices

“First Voices” is a program where staff will use a recording program to record parents’ voices to be played at various time throughout the day for their children in the NICU to foster the attachment between parents and their newborn and aid in newborn development.

Jessica Timms, MS, CCLS

Jessica Timms, MS, CCLS

Homelessness Initiative

This project aims to optimize how homeless patients are being identified and treated within the Cleveland Clinic Health System. By taking care of the homeless individuals around us, and connecting them with other community partners, we can help improve the Fairfax neighborhood and Cleveland in general.

Jeremy Weleff, MD
Pictured Left to Right: Jeremy Weleff, DO, Karen Jacobs, DO, Jesse Wilson, DO

Jeremy Weleff, MD

Kids Try MRI and Increasing Adult Patient Experience

This project will promote an overall more positive MRI experience by decreasing anesthesia, purchasing more headphones and implementing interactive demonstrations with pediatric patients.

Salena Ramsey, BA, CCLS
Pictured Left to Right: Paul Ruggieri, MD, Craig Lisicki, RT (R)(MR)(MRSO), Salena Ramsey, BA, CCLS, Julie Byrne, MSN, RN, CMSRN, Phyllis DeSantis, BSN

Salena Ramsey, BA, CCLS

Legacy Projects for Cancer Patients: Using Arts to Create Memories

This project will provide art supplies for use with late stage cancer patients so that they may leave a meaningful legacy project for their families.

Lisa Shea

Lisa Shea

Next Level Necessities for Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service

The money will be utilized for important patient programs that would not otherwise have funding, including Camp Promise, a summer camp for children ages 6-11 years old who have suffered a loss. The popular camp offers music, art and pet therapy activities.

Laura DiPiero
Pictured Left to Right: Jennifer Duckett, RN, Jodi Wagner, Laura DePiero, RN, BSN, CHPN

Laura DiPiero

Nitrous Oxide for the Treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain syndrome CRPS can be exceedingly difficult to treat, and current approaches come with lots of potentially harmful side effects. Nitrous Oxide could be a much more comfortable and safe treatment option.

Jason Hale, MD
Pictured Left to Right: Jijun Xu, MD, PhD and Jason Hale, MD

Jason Hale, MD

Overcoming Barriers: Succeeding with Sickle Cell

This project will provide wellness bags, pillbox lock, and establish a financial hardship fund to help remove barriers for patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and to help them better manage their health.

Milvon Wright, MSW, LSW

Milvon Wright, MSW, LSW

Patient Experience Early Immersion Program

A partnering program that pairs medical students with patients who live with chronic conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease) to meet and interact one-on-one outside of typical clinical encounters.

Xin Xin Yu, MD

Xin Xin Yu, MD

Project BASIC

BASIC stands for “Building A Sensory Inclusive Culture.” This project will purchase sensory items to help children with sensory issues be more comfortable during their hospital visits. It would also educate caregivers on creating a better environment for these children.

Jessica Timms, MS, CCLS and Katie Eureka, CCLS

Jessica Timms, MS, CCLS and Katie Eureka, CCLS

Protective Equipment and Training Program

Specialized equipment will be purchased and made readily available for caregivers treating patients with high levels of severe aggression and self-injurious behaviors.

Rebecca Rothstein, MA, BCBA
Pictured Left to Right: Rebecca Rothstein, MA, BCBA and Laura Howk, MS

Rebecca Rothstein, MA, BCBA

RISE in Cleveland

There is a serious shortage of women and minorities in biomedical research. By training and educating RISE students, we hope to develop a diverse pipeline of talent for the future.

Donna Driscoll, PhD
Pictured Left to Right: Kim Swaggard-Svec, BA, MEd, Aziah Chavers, MBA, Angela Steitz, MBA, Donna Driscoll, PhD, Michelle Perez, MA, Janet Hill, BA

Donna Driscoll, PhD, Lerner Research Institute

Sarcoma Patient Fund

To receive optimal treatment, sarcoma patients need to remain close to the hospital for an extended period of time. Current resources such as the Ronald McDonald House are often at capacity. This fund will alleviate financial hardship for patients who need specialty sarcoma care at the Cleveland Clinic.

Nathan Mesko, MD

Nathan Mesko, MD

The Influence of Amyloid on Cognition

Cognitive decline has been reported as the most bothersome symptom to patients and their families. There has been limited research and few breakthroughs regarding treatment for cognitive decline in PD, and this study would work with already recruited patients.

Aaron Ritter, MD

Aaron Ritter, MD

Tracheostomy Care Path

This project will improve quality of care, decrease readmissions and complication rates, save money, and ensure appropriate de-cannulation per standardized protocol.

Brandon Hopkins, MD

Brandon Hopkins, MD

Using Virtual Visits to Improve Patient Education and Satisfaction with Lung Transplantation

This project will study the utilization of a Virtual Visit program for lung transplant patients to improve patient engagement, satisfaction and retention of transplant education material.

Jason Bernard Turowski, MD

Jason Bernard Turowski, MD