The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation
Wallace Coulter's deepest passion was to improve health care and make these improvements available and affordable to everyone. Thus, it should come as no surprise, that Mr. Coulter dedicated his wealth to continuing to improve health care through medical research and engineering. Prior to his death Mr. Coulter established the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation to fund these areas.
The Foundation received funding in December, 1999 and will continue this legacy by funding translational research in biomedical engineering with the goal of accelerating the introduction of new technologies into patient care. Prior to the establishment of its two main programs to support translational research in biomedical engineering, the Foundation began working with colleges, universities and professional associations that Wallace Coulter was associated with during his lifetime. His values of endless curiosity, continuous learning, teamwork, consideration and respect for the individual, coupled with the highest level of ethics and integrity are the cornerstone values of The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.
Florida International University
Almost immediately, the Foundation was presented with a unique opportunity to help jump start a relatively new department of biomedical engineering at Florida International University (FIU). FIU is a state university located in Miami. In fact, many Coulter Corporation employees graduated from FIU.
In July of 2000, the Foundation made a $5,000,000 grant specifically to the Department of Biomedical Engineering at FIU. The timing of this grant allowed the university to apply for and receive matching funds from the State of Florida which resulted in a $10,000,000 combined grant to the department. This entire grant established an endowment to advance research and education through the establishment of two endowed chairs, scholarship and research funds, a biomedical engineering lecture series and a young inventors program.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Recognizing that Mr. Coulter attended Georgia Tech, the Foundation became acquainted with the unique department of biomedical engineering that was a joint program between Georgia Tech and Emory University in Atlanta. Wallace Coulter attributed his engineering discipline to his time spent at Georgia Tech. It soon became evident that this program was worthy of funding based on the close collaboration between the engineers at Georgia Tech and the medical staff at Emory.
In 2001, the Foundation made a $25,000,000 landmark grant to the combined program. In recognition of this grant, the combined department is now known as the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. Included within this grant are both endowment and operating funds to purchase laboratory equipment and fund department chairs. In addition, this grant contained a unique $8,000,000 endowment to provide ongoing funding for translational research. Each year, co-investigators comprised of engineering faculty from Georgia Tech and medical staffs from Emory apply for annual grants to fund research that may ultimately lead to improvements in patient care. The results of this program have been so promising, that it has become the template for the Foundation in designing its Translational Research Partnership Program.
Early on, Wallace Coulter recognized that women were underrepresented in the engineering fields. At the same time, he understood and appreciated the unique contribution that woman brought to the design and problem solving process. Mr. Coulter always made the extra effort to provide opportunity to women engineers at his company. In 2001, the Foundation learned that Smith College was starting a school of engineering, the first at a women's college. Recognizing this unique opportunity, the Foundation established an international scholarship program for qualified students from developing countries to attend the college. The program sought out young ladies who were the first in their family to attend college. Those students selected received a full four year scholarship to attend Smith. Although this scholarship program is nearing completion, the Foundation is immensely proud of the accomplishments of the twenty-one young women that have attended Smith from such diverse countries such as Ghana, Nepal, Myanmar and Senegal. This program was endowed in 2006, allowing up to four qualified women the opportunity to study and earn an engineering or science degree.
Mr. Coulter began college at Westminster College, a small liberal arts school in Fulton, Missouri. Although he only attended the college as a freshman, he credited the school with sparking his lifelong love of learning. Wallace Coulter remained a generous alumnus throughout his life. Today, the school is famous for among other things, the site where Winston Churchill made his famous iron curtain speech in 1946.
As a continuation of Mr. Coulter's generosity to the school, in 2002 the Foundation made a transformational $28,000,000 grant to the school targeted to three specific areas. $18,000,000 was earmarked to expand and rebuild the Wallace H. Coulter Science Center. This project was completed in 2004 and today, this science center is an 80,000 square foot state of the art facility.
In addition, this grant also provides $5,000,000 for a matching program for alumni giving which has greatly accelerated alumni participation. Additional funds were also earmarked for underrepresented student scholarships. Impressed with the school’s ability to construct the science center under budget and ahead of schedule, as well as running successful capital campaign that exceeded its goal, in 2004, the Foundation increased its total grant to Westminster to $30,000,000.
For many years, Wallace Coulter was involved with Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, a center of excellence in particle technology. In fact, for many years, he worked with the renowned Clarkson faculty in this area. Always impressed with this small school's ability to provide a first class engineering education, Mr. Coulter served on its board of trustees from 1983 to 1989.
Recognizing Mr. Coulter's interest in the school, in 2002, the Foundation made a $30,000,000 grant to Clarkson's School of Engineering. This grant allowed the university to further enhance its core areas such as colloidal science, multidisciplinary project learning and rehabilitative engineering. In addition, the grant provides an endowment to provide scholarships for underrepresented students. Today, the school of engineering bears Mr. Coulter's name.
City College of New York
Like many other charitable institutions, after 9/11 the Foundation wanted to provide some assistance to the people of New York. Recognizing the disruption in funding available to the City University of New York, the Foundation became acquainted with City College. This is a public university in the truest sense, having modest tuition and providing broad opportunity to the diverse population of New York. The Department of Biomedical Engineering not only has a diverse student body, but a diverse faculty both in gender and national origin. In particular, the department has forged relationships with many of the fine teaching hospitals in the area to provide a first class learning experience with modest means. In 2003, the Foundation provided the department with a $2,100,000 grant to fund laboratory construction and fund faculty chairs. In 2005, the Foundation agreed to provide additional support to the BME department in the form of a challenge grant and funding for three additional faculty members. As of July 2006, this one to one challenge grant resulted in a grant of $750,000 from the Foundation to City College. The Foundation has made grants to City College in excess of $3,000,000.
University of Miami
Wallace Coulter had a keen interest in the medical research ongoing at the University of Miami. He visited their labs often and enjoyed walking around and talking to researchers.
His interest went beyond work being done in hematology. In particular, he was always interested in expansion of knowledge in flow cytometry. Continuing the funding that Mr. Coulter provided, the Foundation supports breakthrough research at the Wallace H. Coulter Platelet Laboratory at the medical school in hematological disorders such as circulating microparticles.
In further recognition of the university's effort to advance translational research, in 2004, the Foundation agreed to provide $13,000,000 of operating funds to advance medical research being done within the various centers of excellence including the Diabetes Research Institute, Center to Cure Paralysis, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. This grant will allow the university to concentrate this ongoing translational research within one facility, to be known as the Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research, to achieve economies of scale for this work and to accelerate the introduction of this cutting edge research to clinical care.
Dillard and Xavier Universities
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused a breach of several levees surrounding New Orleans, Louisiana. Many of the local colleges and universities were severely impacted. The Foundation recognized that Xavier and Dillard, two schools with modest endowments, were in particular need of extra help and worthy of support. Such support is consistent with Wallace Coulter’s belief in the life long value of a college education. In order to assure that these two universities recover from this disaster and resume their mission of high quality education, in summer 2006, the Foundation approved a grant of $2,500,000 for each school. Part of the grant funds will be used to provide scholarships to attract deserving students to Xavier and Dillard.
In addition to colleges and universities, the Foundation continues to support professional societies that were of interest to Wallace Coulter during his lifetime.
American Society of Hematology
Although Wallace Coulter was not a hematologist, he was the only recipient of the American Society of Hematology ("ASH") Distinguished Service Award for his enormous contribution to the practice of hematology. From the Foundation's inception, it has partnered with ASH for many initiatives. It funded two educational programs at ASH in the clinical arena. In 2003, the Foundation funded the first ASH Clinical Research Training Institute, "CRTI", an intensive weeklong training program for hematology fellows and junior faculty to help them develop their skills in clinical research. Additionally, the Foundation funded many ASH scholars early in their careers focusing on translational research in hematology. In Dec 2007, ASH and the foundation announced the establishment of the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology. This Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment and outstanding contribution to hematology, and who has made a significant impact on education, research, and/or practice. The first recipient of this annual award was Ernest Beutler, MD, of the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA. For the next several years, the foundation will provide substantial funding to ASH for the development and implementation programs to promote education and training in the field of hematology, particularly programs serving resource-limited countries. At the 2013 ASH Annual Meeting, the Foundation will fund an endowment for the benefit of ASH to commemorate the 100th birthday of Wallace H. Coulter.
American Association of Clinical Chemistry
The American Association of Clinical Chemistry ("AACC") is dedicated to advancing the practice and profession of clinical laboratory science and its application to healthcare on a worldwide basis. To further this objective, AACC conducts the annual Oak Ridge Conference, an internationally well-known and highly regarded meeting dedicated to the presentation and examination of new advanced technology and concepts with potential for future practical application in the clinical laboratory. In fact, the established theme of this conference is "Tomorrow's Technology Today." The Foundation worked with AACC for five years as the sole supporter of this conference. In 2008, the Foundation made an unprecedented gift to AACC, with which the Association will create educational training and development programs for clinical laboratorians in resource-limited countries worldwide. The Association also renamed its preeminent award, the national lectureship, in honor of Wallace H. Coulter. Beginning July 2009, the Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award will be given at the opening plenary lecture. The first Awardee is Dr. Jerome Groopman, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA. AACC President Larry Broussard, PhD, said of the award, "AACC is honored to commemorate Wallace Coulter's outstanding contributions to diagnostics by naming our most prestigious lecture in his memory. His championship of research and innovation will be celebrated with lectures by modern day leaders in health care that will honor his significant legacy." The Foundation will make substantial grants to the Association for the next five years, culminating in an endowment in 2013, the 100th anniversary of Wallace H. Coulter's birth.
Consistent with the Foundation's core mission to promote and fund translational research in biomedical engineering, the Foundation has sought out those professional organizations that support biomedical engineering. Just as the recognition of biomedical engineering education is relatively new, so are their supporting societies.
The Biomedical Engineering Society
The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) is a non-profit professional society dedicated to promoting the increase of biomedical engineering knowledge and its utilization. BMES' four primary constituents are academic and industrial biomedical engineers, biomedical engineering students and society at large. BMES plays an important role in linking student interest in the field with industry. To our knowledge, BMES is the only biomedical engineering professional society that has significant student activity. In order to assure that BMES continues to play an important role in biomedical engineering education, the Foundation has provided a multi-year grant to BMES.
The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) was incorporated in 1991. Among its goals were the establishment of a clear and comprehensive identity for the field of medical and biological engineering and the promotion of public awareness of medical and biological engineering. In its short existence, AIMBE has certainly met these objectives; in fact, AIMBE played a significant role in the recent establishment of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) within the National Institutes of Health. AIMBE's principal activities include participation in the formulation of public policy; and dissemination of information both to the public and scientific community, through publications and forums; and education. In addition, AIMBE plays a vital role in serving as a link between biomedical engineering education professionals and the biomedical industry. All in all, the mission of AIMBE is closely aligned with the Foundation’s goal of promoting biomedical engineering to improve patient care. In recognition of this alignment, the Foundation has provided funding to AIMBE. In 2005, the Foundation provided a matching grant up to one million dollars. As of July 2006, the Foundation has paid out $500,000 to AIMBE for this challenge.
Translational Research Programs
The term translational research is defined differently be different people. From the Foundation's perspective, translational research is research that has some or all of the following characteristics:
||It is driven primarily by considerations of use and practical application of the research results, as opposed to basic research, which is driven primarily by a quest for knowledge.
||It envisions the development of a practical solution that addresses a particular clinical problem or unmet clinical need.
||The research results generally include protectable intellectual property.
||It involves clinical application as a goal, and therefore requires a transition or translation of the research from a research laboratory to the clinic – from bench to bedside.
||It often envisions a particular product as the endpoint of development.
||It involves commercialization as a goal and therefore requires a transfer of the technology from the academic institution to a commercial entity for final product development, manufacturing, marketing and sales.
At this time, the Foundation has two programs to advance biomedical engineering research at universities and medical schools in North America.
This significant commitment to translational research in biomedical engineering coupled with the ongoing support of professional associations and provides a clear and concise picture of the current and future direction of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. As of July of 2006, the Foundation has funded nearly 100 translational research projects through its two translational research grant programs. In the end, the Foundation will not be judged by its grants and contributions, but by the achievements of its grantees.
The Foundation is delighted to have made its early grants to those entities that Wallace Coulter was associated with during his lifetime. Consistent with Mr. Coulter’s long association with many of these organizations, the Foundation will continue to work with and support many of them as well as additional worthwhile organizations. Without exception, the Foundation is proud of the progress and continuing work of these entities.