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Summa Health Behavioral Health Institute Receives $1 Million Gift and Establishes the Dr. Joseph D. Varley Conference Center

Date: 11/17/2021

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 17, 2021 – Summa Health announced today that the Wildflower Family Foundation made a leadership gift of $1 million to support its Behavioral Health Institute and create a lasting tribute to longtime physician Dr. Joseph Varley, chair of the Summa Health Department of Psychiatry and honored holder of the Jim and Vanita Oelschlager Endowed Chair in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. At the request of the Wildflower Family Foundation and in grateful recognition of their gift, the conference center in the new Behavioral Health Pavilion will be named in honor of Dr. Varley.  Dr. Joseph Varley

“We are grateful to the Wildflower Family Foundation for its long history of supporting Summa Health including gifts to enhance cardiology and other key areas,” said Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa Health president and CEO. “This remarkable gift will have a profound impact on behavioral healthcare for the communities we serve and establish a lasting tribute to the legacy of Dr. Varley’s compassionate service to the patients in his care.”

As a caring physician and leader at Summa Health for nearly three decades, Dr. Varley has advanced clinical care, research, education and community service to help patients achieve mental wellness. During his tenure, he has advocated for the integration of behavioral health providers into the primary care setting as a way of increasing access to care. 

Connecting patients with providers and to the full range of medical services offered at Summa Health is reflected in the thoughtful design and location of the new Behavioral Health Pavilion on the Summa Health System – Akron Campus. Currently under construction, the 60-bed inpatient and outpatient facility is the centerpiece of Summa Health’s second phase of investment in the community and reflects its commitment to caring for the whole person.

Behavioral Health Pavilion rendering

“We share Summa Health’s commitment to behavioral health and want to support its investment in the community,” said the Wildflower Family Foundation in a statement. “At the same time, we wish to honor Dr. Varley’s legacy of longtime service to enhance behavioral health patient care and empower clinical excellence at Summa Health for many years to come.”

The ground floor of the new, seven-story facility will become home to the Dr. Joseph D. Varley Conference Center serving as the primary meeting space for physicians, employees and community groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Dr. Varley Behavioral Conference Room

About Summa Health
Summa Health is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community medical centers, a health plan, an accountable care organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and the Summa Foundation, we are nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa’s clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Healthgrades, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at, Twitter,, Pinterest, and LinkedIn

Media Contact: Shannon Kew
Phone: 234.312.5432


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