By GREGORY ZELLER //
The Feinsteins have gone Bed, Bath & Beyond the call of duty, once again.
Susan Feinstein and her husband, Leonard, co-founder and co-chairman of the New Jersey-based national housewares chain, announced Friday a fresh $25 million donation to Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research – the health system’s busy Manhasset R&D hub, renamed in 2005 following the Feinsteins’ first $25 million gift.
The new endowment will “further expand its research efforts in areas including clinical trials, neuroscience, autoimmunity and bioelectric medicine,” the Feinstein Institute said in a statement.
The Feinsteins’ support of neuroscience and other medical research traces back to a tragic 1982 automobile accident involving their then-21-year-old son, Barry. After spending months in numerous hospitals being treated for serious head and brain injuries, Barry was released – but the Brookville residents were frustrated by insufficient long-term-care facilities and inadequate rehabilitation services on Long Island.
They founded the Commack-based Long Island Head Injury Association in 1995, and in 2000 made their first contribution to the then-North Shore-LIJ Health System, leading to the establishment of the Susan and Leonard Feinstein Center for Neurosciences.
That was followed by the first $25 million gift, vital cog in a $45 million expansion – and renaming – of the health system’s R&D division. Now, more than a decade hence, comes the latest big check.
“We wanted to give where we thought we could make a difference – for a resource that wouldn’t exist unless we stepped in to help,” Leonard Feinstein said Friday, in a statement announcing the new donation.
“Dedicated neuroscience research had never been done at Northwell Health … on the scale we imagined,” Feinstein added. “So we stepped in to make that happen 11 years ago.”
Led by President and CEO Kevin Tracey, the Feinstein Institute has grown into a global standout of scientific knowledge and a leader in bioelectronic medicine, a convergence of neuroscience, molecular biology and bioengineering – and the main passion of Tracey, a veteran neurosurgeon credited with pioneering the emerging field.
Including the Feinsteins’ latest donation, the Feinstein Institute has raised over $275 million for bioelectronic medicine research, including private investments and state grants. And none of it would be possible, according to Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, without those trailblazing benefactors.
“[North Shore-LIJ] established the research institute in 1999, and Leonard and Susan have been with us for each critical step as we’ve grown,” Dowling said in a statement. “[Their] ongoing generosity is a testament to the advancements we have made in science, medicine and curing disease.”
Tracey trumpeted the couple’s “unwavering support of our research programs over many, many years,” calling it “absolutely key” to various discoveries and the launch of the Feinstein Institute’s new Center for Bioelectronic Medicine laboratory.
“None of this would have happened without them,” Tracey said.
Feinstein, a longtime member of his namesake institute’s Board of Directors, said Northwell Health-based research “can revolutionize the way medicine is practiced,” particularly when it comes to bioelectronics.
“In this promising area of research, we are realizing useful applications and results now, and within five to 10 years, we will see cures for some of the most confounding human diseases in our lifetime,” Feinstein added. “Not many research initiatives show that kind of promise.”