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Born Foundation supports healthcare for the heart

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Promise magazine.

Talk about having a heart.

Before he passed away in 1989, Walter Born established a foundation that would provide vital financial services to hospitals throughout the region. Since its inception, the Walter W. Born Foundation has been a significant philanthropic supporter of Summa Health and much of the Akron community.

This year — and last — the Born Foundation generously supported the construction of the new Summa Health Medical Group Cardiology Clinic on the Summa Health System — Barberton Campus, which opened earlier this year on the hospital’s first floor. The Born Foundation has also helped offset the cost of the High Intensity Cardiac Unit at Barberton. 

According to Dr. Michael Hughes, Summa Health System — Barberton Campus president, Born’s generosity has directly resulted in improved services and enhanced access for area heart patients.

“Because of the Born Foundation’s support, we’ve been able to grow our cardiology services in Barberton,” said Dr. Hughes. “If we didn’t have the foundation’s help, we clearly wouldn’t be able to offer our patients the level of services we have now. People in our community no longer have to leave the area for high-intensity cardiac care.”

Michael Hughes, M.D., and Lorrie Shaffer

Dr. Hughes noted that a big part of the Cardiology Clinic is the enhanced focus on patient education. For example, the hospital hired nurses who excel in educating cardiac patients on the importance of maintaining their health after discharge from the hospital. As a result, readmissions for heart failure patients dropped from 14 percent in July 2019 to zero a few months later in October. “Our patient satisfaction scores for cardiology are now in the 90th percentile,” added Dr. Hughes. 

Lorrie Shaffer, who serves on the committee that acts as trustee of the Born Foundation, understands the importance of excellent healthcare in the Akron region. She is joined by committee members Toby Blossom, Brenda Moubray, Vivian Hairston and Chris Keller.

“We are so grateful to have the Born Foundation support our community,” said Mrs. Shaffer, who is private bank national practice lead for service at Huntington Bank in Akron. “The hospitals in Akron are all top-notch and very innovative. We couldn’t be prouder to support Summa Health.” 

The Born Foundation made its first investment in the health system 12 years ago when it served as a major benefactor of the capital campaign for the Cancer Institute at the Jean and Milton Cooper Pavilion. Since that time, the Born Foundation has made dozens of gifts to Summa, now totaling more than $1.1 million. The Born Foundation is a distinguished member of the Summa Foundation’s most prestigious giving society, the Thomas W. Cornell Philanthropic Leadership Society.  

For more information about the cardiology program, contact Jessica Hudson, system director of development, at 330.375.4762 or


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