KNOXVILLE (WATE) – As the number of patients with Alzheimer’s disease grows in the United States, the University of Tennessee Medical Center opened the Pat Summitt Clinic, to expand its treatment capabilities, research initiatives and family support and educational programs for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
The clinic fulfills the wishes of the late Pat Summitt, the legendary longtime coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, who raised national awareness about Alzheimer’s after being diagnosed with the disease in 2011. Summitt passed away five years later.
“The establishment of The Pat Summitt Clinic at The University of Tennessee Medical Center allows us to dramatically increase our research, clinical trials, treatment, education, family caregiver support and other critical elements relative to the growing need for Alzheimer’s related services throughout our region and beyond,” said Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “It’s fitting that the clinic honors the unparalleled drive, determination and commitment that Coach Pat Summitt demonstrated, and taught so many of us, whether it was in an effort to win a national championship or on a mission to seek an end to a terrible disease. The latter will prove to be Pat’s greatest legacy.”
The number of Americans with the disease stands at approximately 5.5 million and is expected to triple, to 16 million, by the year 2050.
Shortly after Summitt’s diagnosis, she and her son, Tyler Summitt, created The Pat Summitt Foundation. It’s mission is to award grants to non-profit organizations dedicated to making advances in care and research aimed at finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.
In January 2015, The University of Tennessee Medical Center and The Pat Summitt Foundation announced the formation of a strategic partnership to create the clinic. The five-year $2.5 million fundraising campaign will provide funding to help the medical center.
“Mom fought Alzheimer’s head on and when faced with the diagnosis, just as she handled every opponent she ever faced, she never hid in the shadows and she never admitted defeat.” said Tyler Summitt. “Now with the opening of the clinic, in a way she’s won her final game against Alzheimer’s and the proof is the trophy that is The Pat Summitt Clinic. More victories for mom will come with every patient and caregiver that walks through those doors and is impacted by this clinic.”
UTMC currently treats and serves approximately 3,000 patients and their families, but due to the opening of the clinic that number is expected to grow to 6,000 within the next few years.