WESTWOOD—On Tuesday, December 8, UCLA Health Sciences made an announcement regarding a $10 million gift, given by philanthropists Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, which will primarily support multidisciplinary migraine research.
The donation is part of the $4.2. billion UCLA Centennial Campaign that is scheduled to conclude during UCLA’s 100th anniversary in December 2019.
Migraine is described by the Migraine Research Foundation as a “severe recurring intense throbbing pain on one side of the head, although in about 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected.” It often tends to be accompanied by one or more of the following: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.
A neurological disorder, migraines affect 36 million people in the U.S. The third most common medical disorder worldwide, as stated by the World Health Organization, migraines are closely linked with various other disorders, including chronic pain, stroke, and depression.
A press release from the UCLA Health Sciences Department explains that Wendy and Leonard Goldberg’s goal is to help advance the understanding of migraines and the care of patients with the disorder.
“Leonard and I have seen firsthand in friends and family members how debilitating migraines can be,” said Wendy Goldberg. “We are eager to help find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.”
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 90 percent of migraine sufferers are unable to work or function normally during a migraine. The Migraine Research Foundation also notes that the disorder is a public health issue with serious social and economic repercussions with American employers losing more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to migraines.
“The Goldbergs’ visionary gift, which names and endows the UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program, is the largest from individuals to support migraine research and treatment,” said Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and chief executive officer of UCLA Health. “It will be a complete game changer in the field of headache and migraine – locally and globally.”
The UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program will be directed by Dr. Andrew Charles, professor of neurology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Migraine and Headache Studies.
“This remarkable gift will enable our multidisciplinary team to bring forward new therapies, provide the best possible care and improve the lives of those who suffer from migraine,” said Charles. “Migraine is generally under-recognized as a major medical problem, in part because it is not fatal, but it is not hyperbole to say that it can ruin lives.”
In fact, there is a major genetic component involved with migraines in which children of parents with migraines commonly suffer from the disorder. The Migraine Research Foundation further acknowledges that if one parent suffers from migraines there is a 40 percent chance a child will suffer. If both parents suffer, the chance rises to 90 percent.
More than $500,000 of the $10 million donated will be used to establish the Goldberg Head and Neck Fund in the department of head and neck surgery under the direction of Dr. Gerald Berke. The remaining $1.5 million will be utilized to set up the Goldberg Health System Fund.
Canyon News reached out to UCLA Health Sciences’ Senior Public Information Officer Kim Irwin, who mentioned that the Goldberg Health System Fund is unrestricted and will be used for most urgent needs.
Wendy Goldberg is an editor and best-selling co-author, of “Blue Bloods Cookbook” and “Marry Me.” Leonard Goldberg is an award-winning film and television executive producer who has served as head of programming for ABC and president of 20th Century Fox.
The couple was honored in 2012 by Cedars–Sinai with the first annual Hollywood Icon Award in recognition of their achievements in film, television and charitable work. They have provided funding for several programs at the University of Pennsylvania, including the student residence Goldberg House. They also established the Wendy and Leonard Goldberg Lectureship at Cedars–Sinai Medical Center.