We should all applaud the collaboration of Banner Health and ASU in the formation of the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center that was recently announced.
With the prognosis of the vast number of individuals predicted to develop dementia, and especially Alzheimer’s Disease, clearly this expanded program is an important development.
At the same time it is important that we recognize that the basic scientists who are transferring their knowledge and skills from the Banner Sun Health Research Institute to the new Research Center are only available for this work due to the humble beginnings of the Sun Health Research Institute founded in 1986.
The Sun Health Corporation seized the opportunity to develop the Sun Health Research Institute on its Boswell campus recognizing the talent of the founder, Dr. Joe Rogers. The work of the Institute quickly gained national and international attention through studies in dementia and related disorders and successfully developed one of the most important brain and body donation programs in the country.
While the accomplishments of the Sun Health Research Institute are well documented through the years, the most impressive aspect of the Institute’s history is that its growth was funded almost entirely by the residents of Sun City, Sun City West and Sun City Grand. Thousands of individuals contributed millions of dollars because they understood the value of the Institute’s potential. They collectively built the Institute from a one man operation in a temporary building to over 60,000 square feet of research space with dozens of employees.
The Sun Health Research Institute became the Banner Sun Health Research Institute in 2008 when the operating assets of Sun Health Corporation were acquired by Banner Health. The Sun Health Foundation continues as the fund-raising vehicle for the Banner Sun Health Research Institute.
The scientific community owes a great deal of thanks to the individuals who have supported the local Institute from its very beginning. Perhaps the best way this unselfish dedication can be acknowledged will be through the discoveries and scientific advancements uncovered through this new and expanded endeavor.
The residents of the Sun Cities have been “pioneers” in many ways and the legacy of the original Sun Health Research Institute is a great example of a major contribution to society.
Ronald D. Guziak
President and CEO
Sun Health Services