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Frazier gift will allow UofL, Jewish to boost rehab medicine

October 9th, 2009

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A $1.5 million gift from Louisville philanthropist Owsley Brown Frazier will be used to create a new endowed chair in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Frazier Rehab Institute and UofL’s School of Medicine.

Officials from UofL and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare announced the donation Oct. 9.

The step will allow UofL and Jewish to improve its nationally recognized work in understanding and treating spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and movement disorders, said UofL President James Ramsey. The chair will be filled with a top medical professional who will expand research in the area and bring other researchers and clinicians to Louisville.

“Just last week, one of our researchers, Susan Harkema, announced that her animal studies show great promise for helping paralyzed people walk again. This gift will allow us to build on successes like hers,” he said.

Frazier, who currently chairs UofL’s Board of Trustees, said that in the 1950s, his mother, Amelia Brown Frazier, helped establish the center that would eventually become Frazer Rehab Institute after suffering a disabling accident.

“She wanted to make sure that people in and around Louisville didn’t have to leave their homes to receive the best possible rehabilitation care,” Frazier said. “Her desire has been met, and I’m trying to do my part to ensure that it continues.”

Frazier Rehab Institute, a 135-bed facility and regional care network, offers all facets of rehabilitation from physical therapy to occupational, speech, recreational and pulmonary therapy.

Frazier holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in law from UofL and received an honorary public service degree from UofL in 1999. He has donated millions of dollars to the university over the years.

Besides helping establish endowed chairs in entrepreneurship, marketing and computer science at UofL’s business school, he helped create Cardinal Park, a $40 million enhancement of recreational and athletic facilities on Belknap Campus. The university president’s official home on Longest Avenue was named Amelia Place after his mother.

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