The gift solidifies funding for new programming and partnerships to transform critical care through innovation, integration and entrepreneurship.
Michigan Medicine announced Tuesday, Jan. 25, it will rename its critical care research institute after Dr. Max Harry Weil, regarded by many as a father of critical care medicine, to recognize his family’s $10 million donation for advancing research and innovation.
The center will be known as the Max Harry Weil Institute for Critical Care Research and Innovation at the University of Michigan. Formerly the Michigan Center for Integrative Critical Care Research, the institute was founded in 2013 as a central hub for research and technology development across basic, clinical, information and engineering sciences.
The generous gift from the Weil Family Foundation will allow faculty and staff at the institute to expand upon the development, funding and facilitation of the most groundbreaking research ever seen across the spectrum of critical illness and injury, said Kevin Ward, M.D., executive director of the Weil Institute and professor of emergency medicine and biomedical engineering at Michigan Medicine.
“We are so grateful for the Weil family’s generosity and their commitment to supporting the advanced research and lifesaving technologies developed by our multidisciplinary team of critical care providers, basic scientists, engineers and others,” said Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president for medical affairs at U-M. “Improving how providers care for critically ill patients, especially at this time, is vitally important, and this gift will allow University of Michigan to remain a leader in the field that Dr. Weil helped to pioneer.”
“There were many things that my father enjoyed in life, but he was really motivated by the idea of saving people’s lives, which he carried out to the last of his days,” said Susan Weil, his elder daughter and board member of the Weil Family Foundation. “We were left with a foundation and money from his pursuits of this love he had for medicine and helping people.
“There is nothing more fitting than bringing that back to his alma mater and a center that combines basic research and innovative ideas,” she added. “Michigan has proven to us they can have an impact on science and products that will save lives right away, especially during this pandemic.”
The investment from the Weil family foundation solidifies the institute’s operational funding needed to develop new programming, enhance existing ventures and identify new partnerships that will create and sustain additional technological and entrepreneurial adventures, Ward said.
“In addition to supporting all of our endeavors, this gift will allow us to educate the next generation of clinicians and scientists in critical care science, as we get projects over the finish line to the patient bedside,” he said.
Dr. Weil spent decades producing the infrastructure and resources to change the face of critical care medicine. The first physician to suggest grouping critically ill patients in a focused area for 24-hour observation, Weil went on to establish a “shock ward” at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center along with his partner and friend Herbert Shubin, M.D. Together, they established what would evolve into today’s intensive care units.
Weil also invented the first bedside shock cart, an early version of the modern crash cart. He is considered the specialty’s first entrepreneur and is credited with expanding research in the field to include the engineering disciplines. At the conclusion of his career, Weil had 20 patented inventions, all of which are highly regarded as essential tools in the field of critical care. He is a founding member and the first president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
“The reputation of the Weil name will help to forge national and international collaborations with experts in the field and organizations and additional like-minded donors with an interest in supporting critical care research,” Ward said.
The Weil Institute will build upon an already robust pipeline of translational science and products, including models and devices, diagnostics and therapeutics. Many have been, or are being, commercialized and will make an impact in major areas of critical care ranging from sepsis and traumatic brain injury to cardiac arrest, COVID-19 and trauma, Ward said.
“It is our hope that every person who participates in this institute’s work will have a great respect for how rigorous multidisciplinary research can produce real results,” said Michael Adesman, M.D., husband of Susan Weil and president of the Weil Family Foundation.
“Our father was so committed to teaching and collaborating, particularly with passing the torch to the next generation,” added Carol Weil, board member of the Weil Family Foundation and Max Harry Weil’s younger daughter. “We know the Weil Institute will work to transfer that passion for education and critical care to new generations as they build the future of patient care and innovation.”
About the Weil Institute, formerly MCIRCC
The team at the Max Harry Weil Institute for Critical Care Research and Innovation (formerly the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care) is dedicated to pushing the leading edge of research to develop new technologies and novel therapies for the most critically ill and injured patients. Through a unique formula of innovation, integration and entrepreneurship that was first imagined by Dr. Weil, their multi-disciplinary teams of health providers, basic scientists, engineers, data scientists, commercialization coaches, donors and industry partners are taking a boundless approach to re-imagining every aspect of critical care medicine. For more information, visit weilinstitute.med.umich.edu.
Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine