By Jill Cowan
9:15 PM PST, February 5, 2013
Laguna Beach philanthropists Sue and Bill Gross donated $2 million to help fund the work of Hoag Hospital breast cancer expert Dr. Melvin Silverstein, the hospital announced Monday.
The gift establishes the Gross Family Foundation endowed chair in oncoplastic breast surgery, which will allow Silverstein to expand his training of other breast cancer specialists.
Hoag's endowed chair system, which is similar to those at academic institutions, gives leaders in a specific field more money and flexibility to pursue innovative treatment methods.
The Gross Family Foundation's addition is Hoag's seventh endowed chair. Others were established to further research in a variety of fields, including memory loss and cognitive disorders, cardiac care and gastrointestinal cancer.
Silverstein, who came to Hoag five years ago after serving as a professor of surgery at USC, has trained 16 doctors through a USC and Hoag fellowship focused on breast cancer.
The newly endowed chair will allow Silverstein "to train more fellows, who will reach many additional patients throughout the world," he said in a statement. "Passing on knowledge is critical to our long-term efforts and I'm honored to have the opportunity to do so."
In the statement, he thanked PIMCO founder Bill Gross and his wife, Sue, who is president of the family's foundation, for their contributions to the Hoag Breast Care Center. Silverstein is the medical director of that center.
"Their generosity helped build the Sue & Bill Gross Women's Pavilion, which houses the Hoag Breast Care Center," he said. "Their newest major gift clearly shows they believe in our mission, and I am deeply touched by this honor and recognition."
Sue Gross said in a statement that she is happy to recognize Silverstein's "pioneering work," and that the foundation supports Hoag's endowed chair model, which she said will help those doctors "expand their impact far beyond their patients while advancing their fields."
"The contributions Hoag's endowed chairs are able to make with these resources are invaluable to the organization and to the community," she said.