A $2 million gift from a local Lyndhurst couple, Robert J. and Laura J. Fogarty, will help advance innovative uterine cancer research at Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Health Institute. The gift establishes the first endowed chair for the Institute: the Laura J. Fogarty Endowed Chair in Women’s Health for Uterine Cancer Research.
Robert DeBernardo, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist and director of peritoneal surface malignancy program at Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Health Institute, is being honored as the first physician to hold the newly established chair.
“We are extremely grateful for this new gift and the generosity of the Fogarty family,” said Beri Ridgeway, M.D., Chair of the Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute at Cleveland Clinic. “This amazing gift will advance research and increase awareness for rare uterine cancers that would not be possible without the support of the Fogarty family.”
This is the second endowed chair funded by the Fogarty’s at Cleveland Clinic. In 2016, the Fogarty family donated $1 million to create an endowed chair in Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute to support research into the causes and treatment of uterine cancer. Ofer Reizes, Ph.D., a researcher in the Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Cellular & Molecular Cancer, was appointed the Laura J. Fogarty Endowed Chair for Uterine Cancer Research.
“The Fogartys’ first gift energized the new research program at Cleveland Clinic and led to the establishment of a Center for Research Excellence in Uterine Cancer. This has enabled us to coordinate efforts leading to several promising projects to further our research efforts,” said Dr. DeBernardo.
“We have been very blessed! We want to give back to establish our second research chair- which will be the first in Women’s Health – to act as a catalyst to further uterine cancer research. There are over 60,000 new cases and 12,000 deaths annually in the United States and research of these cancers is seriously underfunded,” said Laura Fogarty. “This gift is very personal to me. Diagnosed in March 2010 with carcinosarcoma, a rare form of uterine cancer, I know firsthand all the ups and downs of treatments, tests, survivorship and recurrent disease. Bob and I are pleased and thankful to honor as the chair holder, Dr. DeBernardo, my outstanding and compassionate gyn-oncologist.”
Robert and Laura Fogarty are members of the Power of Every One Campaign Cabinet for Cleveland Clinic. Laura Fogarty has been a steadfast advocate for raising uterine cancer awareness and living a better and healthy life with cancer.
Robert J. “Bob” Fogarty is an attorney and partner in Hahn Loeser, and has served as the co-chair of the firm’s litigation practice. Since 2009, he has been ranked by Chambers USA as one of the top commercial litigators in Ohio.
Dr. DeBernardo is an established leader in the development of new therapies for advanced and recurrent gynecologic cancers. He has been the principal investigator in several studies including the use of stereotactic radiotherapy (SBRT), a highly conformal radiation therapy to treat unresectable gynecologic cancer metastasis.
In addition, he developed the first Cleveland Clinic HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intra Peritoneal Chemotherapy) program dedicated to women with gynecologic cancers, one of the largest in the nation. This therapy allows women to receive chemotherapy directly into the abdomen or chest at the time for their cancer surgery. He currently has grant funding to investigate the use of augmented reality to assist in the identification and resection of advanced ovarian cancer.
Dr. DeBernardo received his medical degree from Temple University, completed his obstetrics and gynecology residency at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine followed by a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
His specialty interests include first time and recurrent uterine cancers, hyperthermic intraoperative peritoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), endometrial and ovarian cancer, pathogenesis of endometrial cancer, post op thrombosis, complex laparoscopy and laparoscopic management of gynecologic malignancy.