The Impact of Your Gift
Everything starts with an idea.
It’s this spirit of innovation and invention that drives Cleveland Clinic employees, called caregivers, to imagine groundbreaking medical discoveries, superior patient services or influential population health programs.
Executing an idea, however, takes planning, determination − and funding.
Launched in 2018, the Caregiver Catalyst Grants were created to help our caregivers implement their best and brightest ideas and positively impact our patients and communities.
100% of your gift to the Caregiver Catalyst Grants will advance projects that expand patient support services, lay the groundwork for medical breakthroughs, and support community health and wellness programs.
How It Works
Twice a year, caregivers from all across Cleveland Clinic are invited to apply for a Caregiver Catalyst Grant. The grants range from $10,000 to $100,000.
Through a competitive process, these one-time grants are awarded to the project proposals that show the most promise for making an impact within one year. Caregivers must report on their progress and return any unused funds.
The number of grants awarded is limited only by the philanthropic support we receive from generous donors across the country.
Together, we can harness the power of philanthropy to spark the vision of our caregivers and help them take the bold steps forward that make a difference for our patients and their families.
That’s the power of every one of us, and the power of every gift.
January 2020 Grant Recipients
The Philanthropy Institute announces its third round of Caregiver Catalyst Grants, rewarding the innovation and initiative of the following 20 proposals from caregivers throughout the Cleveland Clinic. These grants are made possible by the combined gifts of more than $825,000 from over 10,000 generous donors.
Catalyst Caregiver Grant Recipients
Carl Tyler, MD – Cleveland Clinic Community Care
Idea: Establish infrastructure to provide comprehensive, cost-effective care to people with disabilities and develop collaborative, ongoing relationships with community organizations that serve this population.
Michele Acheampong, MPH – Cleveland Clinic Community Care
Idea: Provide local, underrepresented talent with an 8-week paid internship experience to develop their skills and increase their likelihood of pursuing healthcare careers.
Saket Saxena, MD – Cleveland Clinic Community Care
Idea: Implement a set of uniform cognitive assessments for signs of dementia in patients 65 and older at all Family Health Centers.
Louie Hendon III, BSME – Continuous Improvement
Idea: Offer a 12-month, mentorship-based and experiential training program to African-American caregivers interested in career growth and leadership development.
Michael Klingler, MD, MS – Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute
Idea: Conduct a study that examines the effects of a novel endoscopic treatment for gastroparesis in patients with diabetes to help patients manage blood sugar more effectively.
Duriye Sevgi, MD – Cole Eye Institute
Idea: Develop quality assessment tools for ophthalmic imaging tests to increase eye exam efficiency, decrease the need for repeated testing and minimize caregiver workload.
Mary Beth Mercer, MPH – Office of Patient Experience
Idea: Expand the reach of “Care to Share” posters at main campus. The posters allow patients to voice their values upon hospital admission, fostering empathy and communication within the caregiver-patient relationship.
Prabalini Rajendram, MD – Respiratory Institute
Idea: Implement a nine-month interprofessional education (IPE) program for Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic Health Education Campus students to collaborate with Fairfax neighborhood residents and organizations.
Jennifer Bayer, MSSA – Pediatric Institute
Idea: Provide a sleep sack and an educational book to parents of NICU babies at discharge to prevent SIDS.
Rebecca Wellman, PhD – Neurological Institute
Idea: Bring children and older patients with memory loss together to engage in music therapy in order to enhance older patients’ memory recall and reduce behavioral challenges.
Amy Colver, MSSA, MA – Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center
Idea: Provide blood and marrow transplant patients with kits that include items meant to keep patients “afloat” during the intense recovery period, such as coloring books, word puzzles, writing activities, and more.
Reena Mehra, MD, MS – Neurological Institute
Idea: Use blood samples to study a genetic link between Alzheimer’s disease and sleep disruption.
Steve Insler, DO – Anesthesiology Institute
Idea: Study the association between the effectiveness of postoperative pain management and patient phenotypes of specific pharmacogenomics genes in order to combat opioid addiction.
Richard Aguilera, MD – Neurological Institute
Idea: Increase access to rehabilitation robotics to offer advanced patient interventions, improve patient outcomes, and facilitate more medical education and research.
Nora Knipper, MSN, NEA-BC – Nursing Institute
Idea: Improve care for vulnerable infants before they go home through education and providing airway challenge test-compliant car seats.
Rasheeda Larkin, MPA – Cleveland Clinic Community Care
Idea: Aim to reduce infant mortality through education at community baby showers in high-risk neighborhoods.
Asha Kallianpur, MD, MPH – Lerner Research Institute
Idea: Identify potential drivers of chronic kidney disease and cognitive impairment in individuals with HIV to suggest novel interventions and attract external funding for a larger study.
Donnamarie Cook, CHES, M.Ed. – Government and Community Relations
Idea: Prevent opioid abuse through a youth-led public service announcement project.
Ahila Subramanian, MD, MPH – Respiratory Institute
Idea: Study the impact of vaping on patients with asthma and provide multi-prong educational interventions to prevent patients from vaping in the future.
Ashley Torgerson, BS – Pediatric Institute
Idea: Provide children living with chronic conditions or disabilities access to therapeutic photography.
July 2019 Grant Recipients
The Philanthropy Institute announces its next round of Caregiver Catalyst Grants, rewarding the innovation and initiative of the following 32 proposals from caregivers throughout the enterprise. In total, over $1 million is being awarded to these ideas and concepts from a pool of dollars given generously by more than 12,000 donors. The next round of Caregiver Catalyst Grants is set to begin August 1, 2019.
Caregiver Catalyst Grant Recipients
Sarah Beinkampen, MHA - Chief of Staff
Idea: Create a fellowship program to train medical scribes in order to ease the burden of documentation for staff, and give them more face-to-face time with patients.
Carol Bennett, MBA, MSN, APRN, PCNS-BC - Nursing Institute
Idea: Reduce sound and noise levels in the NICU to mitigate the negative effects noise can have on the development of the fetal central nervous system.
Anirban Bhattacharyya, MD, MPH - Respiratory Institute
Idea: Use artificial intelligence to develop an algorithm to help determine when patients should be discharged from the Medical Intensive Care Unit.
Jaclyn Bjelac, MD - Cleveland Clinic Children's
Idea: Examine the effectiveness of boiled peanuts oral immunotherapy to safely treat children with peanut allergies.
Robyn Busch, PhD - Neurological Institute
Idea: Integrate cognitive health test results into electronic medical records to inform real-time clinical decision making in the Neurological Institute.
Donnamarie Cook, MEd - Government and Community Relations
Idea: Create a new school-based initiative to provide programming focused on nutrition and physical activity to students and families in Lorain County, Ohio.
Caitlin Durnil, LPN - Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute
Idea: Develop a registry dashboard to coordinate patient care, track outcomes, and set up patient surveillance efficiently for early GI cancer patients.
Kate Eshleman, PsyD - Cleveland Clinic Children's
Idea: Provide new and expanded education and social activities to support siblings and families of children diagnosed with hematological and oncological disorders.
Aldo Fafaj, MD - Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute
Idea: Work with physical therapists, nursing, and surgical staff to design an early ambulation initiative to improve patient recovery after surgery.
Susan Farris, MEd - Neurological Institute
Idea: Create advanced care planning documents and standardized protocols for patients and their families when diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease.
Aaron Fleischman, PhD - Lerner Research Institute
Idea: Create micro-pressure sensors that will be used to measure pressure in a variety of applications such as patients with glaucoma or hydrocephalus.
Kelly Gaffney, PharmMD - Medical Operations
Idea: Examine the impact of increased pharmacist involvement in cancer patient care.
Emily Guthe, MM, MA, MT-BC - Arts and Medicine Institute
Idea: Provide new forms of support for families with infants diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses.
Anny Ha, MS, RD, CDE, CEDRD - Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute
Idea: Create an eight-week program for patients that aims to improve diabetes self-management skills and the psychosocial impact of living with diabetes.
Bridgett Harr, MSN, APRN-CNP, AOCNP - Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center
Idea: Provide new learning experiences to residents while measuring the efficiency of a pen-tablet device in radiation oncology contouring.
Betul Hatipoglu, MD - Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute
Idea: Assess physician burnout and its health consequences and minimize through combined mindfulness-based intervention and nutritional counseling.
Gayle Kanary - Cleveland Clinic Children's
Idea: Create a day camp experience for children and families who are unable to typically participate in a traditional day camp setting due to the child’s illness or injury.
Irene Katzan, MD, MS - Neurological Institute
Idea: Address persistent “hidden” symptoms post-stroke (anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression, and memory issues) to improve care for stroke patients.
Varun Kopparthy, PhD - Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Institute
Idea: Develop an automated ex-vivo normothermic perfusion machine, a device that will preserve amputated extremities.
Suet Kam Lam, MD, MPH, MS - Pediatrics
Idea: Mobilize the efforts of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students who are in the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association to provide outreach into the Asian-American community about Hepatitis B.
Haider Mahdi, MD - Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Institute
Idea: Use plasma samples of ovarian cancer patients to analyze tumors in DNA to ultimately develop a non-invasive test for ovarian cancer.
Christine McDonald, PhD - Lerner Research Institute
Idea: Use a molecule inhibitor to evaluate the effectiveness of a topical skin cancer treatment.
Laurie Ann Moennich, MPH, CPH - Heart & Vascular Institute (Miller Family)
Idea: Compare the acquisition of clinical measures through telemedicine vs. in-person to improve clinical trial participation.
Andrea Mucci, MD - Cleveland Clinic Children's
Idea: Provide Fit-Bit monitors to children, along with three of their family members, to improve the health and fitness of families who are participants in the CCF “Be Well” Program.
Kathy Praisler-Wood, MSN, BSN - Community Care
Idea: Provide a certified nurse practitioner to Amish communities in Northeast Ohio for primary healthcare support.
Therese Kastelic, LISW-S - Neurological Institute
Idea: Use virtual reality software that increases mindfulness and reduces depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and panic attacks to enhance substance abuse treatment outcomes.
Courtney Shell, MS, PhD - Lerner Research Institute
Idea: Use well-established perceptual illusion to help reduce the pain and anxiety of pediatric patients during needle stick procedures.
Stefanie Shimko-Lin, RN - Information Technology Division
Idea: Develop a comprehensive workflow in the electronic medical record to increase timely organ donation referrals.
Stephanie Smith, RN, CCRN - Nursing Institute
Idea: Create a private space for nurses and other caregivers in the Medical Intensive Care Unit to grieve the loss of a patient.
Susan Snyderburn, PA-C - Respiratory Institute
Idea: Arrange transportation for patients in need to reduce the no-show rate for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, and Pulmonary Hypertension Clinics.
Ellen Walter, MSN - Neurological Institute
Idea: Improve Parkinson’s disease-specific health literacy of care partners of individuals with Parkinson’s disease in order to empower the care givers and ease their burden.
Judith Welsh, MD - Emergency Services Institute
Idea: Enable the community paramedicine team to provide a broader range of services to homebound, chronically ill adults.
January 2019 Grant Recipients
The Philanthropy Institute announces its January, 2019 Caregiver Catalyst Grants, rewarding the innovation and initiative of the following 29 proposals from caregivers throughout the enterprise. In total, over $1 million is being awarded to these ideas and concepts from a pool of dollars given generously by more than 20,000 donors.
Caregiver Catalyst Grant Recipients
Michelle Del Toro, MPH, MALS - Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Idea: Integrate fun, educational dialogues and fitness activities with incentive-based awards and prizes to encourage youth to be physically active and adopt healthy behaviors.
Robert DeBernardo, MD - Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Institute
Idea: Use augmented reality in the operating theater to give physicians the ability to visualize anatomy from any perspective.
Tina Ulanowski, MEd, CCLS & Michelina Bacisin, BA, CCLS - Nursing Institute
Idea: Create kits of developmentally appropriate journals and expressive art items to comfort children and create keepsakes.
Gayle Ivory - Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center
Idea: Expand an existing cancer survivor’s support group to provide continued encouragement and empowerment to cancer survivors.
John O’Toole, MD - Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute
Idea: Use computational tools to identify individuals with unrecognized advanced kidney disease, and establish a care plan that will improve transitions of the disease, reduce barriers, and promote kidney transplantation.
Jennifer Negrey, MOT, OTR/L, BCP, CLT - Cleveland Clinic Children's
Idea: Host a series of six free evening events that will give parents a respite from caring for children with complex medical needs.
Shannon Sonnhalter, CCLS - Nursing Institute
Idea: Use distraction kits and novel devices, partnered with provider training to make vaccines and needle procedures more comfortable for pediatric patients.
Jessica Marzulli - Cleveland Clinic Hospice Care Center
Idea: Use virtual reality software to provide hospice patients with the ability to engage in interactive, once in a lifetime experiences, such as riding a roller coaster or walking with elephants.
Ryan Klatte, BSBME - Lerner Research Institute
Idea: Create 3D printed exact replicas of organs to enable surgeons to better examine anatomy, and design the appropriate surgery.
Ritika Jaini, PhD - Lerner Research Institute
Idea: Conduct a study to confirm the importance of maternal genetics in determining severity of in-utero inflammation and incidence/severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Vladimir Bolshinsky, MD - Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute
Idea: Conduct a study that will 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.
Brian Yard, PhD - Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute
Idea: Conduct a large profiling effort to identify gene mutations that affect survival to radiation therapy.
Margaret McKenzie, MD – Center for Occupational Health
Idea: Provide home blood pressure monitors to residents in Warrensville Heights, Ohio to help facilitate individuals taking better control of their health, and increase awareness of blood pressure.
Francois Bethoux, MD - Neurological Institute
Idea: Conduct a preliminary study to evaluate the therapeutic use of exoskeletons for patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
Jessica Timms, MS, CCLS - Nursing Institute
Idea: Record parents’ voices to be played at various times throughout the day for their children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to foster the attachment between parents and their newborns.
Jeremy Weleff, MD - Neurological Institute
Idea: Connect homeless individuals with community partners to optimize how homeless patients are identified and treated within the Cleveland Clinic Healthcare System.
Salena Ramsey, BA, CCLS - Imaging Institute
Idea: Decrease anesthesia and implement interactive demonstrations with pediatric patients to promote a more positive MRI experience.
Laura DePiero RN, BSN, CHPN – Center for Connected Care
Idea: Expand Camp Promise, a summer camp for children ages 6-11 years old who have suffered a loss.
Jason Hale, MD - Anesthesiology & Pain Management
Idea: Provide a Nitrous Oxide treatment to patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as a safer, more comfortable treatment alternative.
Milvon Wright, MSW, LSW - Cleveland Clinic Children's
Idea: Provide wellness bags, pillbox locks, and establish a financial hardship fund to help remove barriers for patients with Sickle Cell Disease.
Xin Xin Yu, MD - Neurological Institute
Idea: Pair 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.
Jessica Timms, MS, CCLS & Katie Eureka, CCLS - Nursing Institute
Idea: Purchase sensory items to help children with sensory issues become more comfortable during their hospital visits.
Rebecca Rothstein, MA, BCBA - Cleveland Clinic Children’s Lerner School for Autism
Idea: Purchase specialized equipment to aid caregivers treating patients with high levels of severe aggression and self-injurious behaviors.
Donna Driscoll, PhD - Lerner Research Institute
Idea: Train and educate women and minorities in biomedical research as a part of the program, RISE in Cleveland, to develop a diverse pipeline of talent for the future.
Nathan Mesko, MD - Orthopedic & Rheumatologic Institute
Idea: Alleviate financial hardship for patients who need specialty Sarcoma care at Cleveland Clinic.
Aaron Ritter, MD - Neurological Institute
Idea: Conduct a study to develop a treatment for cognitive decline in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Brandon Hopkins, MD - Head & Neck Institute
Idea: Create a tracheostomy care path to improve quality of care and decrease remissions and complication rates for patients.
Jason Turowski, MD - Respiratory Institute
Idea: Study the utilization of a Virtual Visit program for lung transplant patients to improve patient engagement, satisfaction, and retention of transplant educational material.