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UH Receives $2 Million Gift to Establish Endowed Chair in Health Care Business Innovation

By Bryan Luhn 713-743-0954

Elaine W. Finger gave $2 million for an endowed chair in health care business innovation at UH.

Renowned Houston philanthropist Elaine Finger has made a generous $2 million gift for an endowed chair to advance education, research and innovation in business and health care at the University of Houston. The Elaine W. Finger Endowed Chair in Health Care Business Innovation will be a joint appointment in the C.T. Bauer College of Business and the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine, catalyzing groundbreaking advancements and further propelling the university into a leading hub for innovative solutions.

“An investment in health care business innovation is far more than a gift, it is a visionary commitment to the future of health care in Houston and beyond,” said Diane Z. Chase, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “The establishment of this Chair is a testament to our shared dedication to developing solutions that will shape the health care landscape for generations to come.”

The endowment will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the university’s Aspire Fund, a grant program fund created by the gift of an anonymous donor that matches all eligible gifts up to $50 million (for a total of $100 million). It’s part of an effort to develop a robust program in health care innovation research, education and industry outreach.

“We are developing a comprehensive health care program with groundbreaking research, programmatic innovation and industry outreach right next door to the world’s largest medical center,” said Paul A. Pavlou, dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business and a Cullen Distinguished Chair professor. “This is a unique opportunity for collaboration at the intersection of health care and business, harnessing the enormous resources surrounding us to build a better future for health care in Houston.”

Elaine Finger, who earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from UH in 1992, is no stranger to educational philanthropy. Over the past 10 years, her family’s foundation has awarded hundreds of scholarships to help Houston high school graduates from low-income families attend local community colleges. Finger says she couldn’t pass up an opportunity to help advance education and difference-making research in health care and business.

"A commitment to transformative leadership in shaping the future of health care business innovation is the greatest gift I can give,” Finger said. “This endowed chair begins a new era where business and health care education converge for the well-being of everyone.”

Earlier this year, Bauer College launched the Healthcare Business Institute (HBI), led by Ravi Aron, research director and professor of health care strategy, to address the need for research and innovative solutions in an industry facing significant quality, cost and access concerns and connect students, faculty and researchers from Bauer, the Fertitta Family College of Medicine and the highly ranked health law program at the UH Law Center, among other UH programs.

“This endowed chair will only enhance our efforts towards becoming the leading health care business research organization in the world,” Aron said. “Our strategic location near the Texas Medical Center and access to specialists across the health care space give us a unique opportunity to conduct game-changing research that could transform the health care ecosystem.”

The search for the new chair will focus on an accomplished thought leader in health care innovation who is of high national prominence and able to elevate the stature of the University of Houston by bringing a record of achievements recognized by membership in the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Medicine or another national academy related to the field of study.

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