Back in the early 1980’s the late Sandy Cohen and Noreen Nelson, both former patients of the the institutes cofounder Donald L. Morton, M.D., invited 14 women for lunch and the auxiliary was born. Today it is 800 strong with a board of 40 that includes the daughters of Sandy and Noreen.
In her 25 years of volunteering in the cancer clinic, Ruth Weil has had lots of time to get to know some very special physicians: the surgical oncology fellows who spend two years at the John Wayne Cancer Institute for advanced training. Perhaps no one appreciates these brilliant young doctors better than Ruth, who is also a long-time Institute benefactor.
A $1 million gift in 2015 from the Tarble Foundation established the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program endowment at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. The accredited Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, which is one of the country’s largest and longest-running, helps fulfill the Institute’s mission of training the next generation of cancer surgeons. The program is led by Leland Foshag, M.D., professor of surgical oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. Long considered one of the nation’s most elite surgical oncology training programs, it continues to set the standard for multidisciplinary training.
The McAlister Family Foundation, led by Patrick McAlister, son of Hobart and Soni McAlister, continues his parents devotion to supporting Saint John’s by providing funding to the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in the 1990’s. Their early gifts supported melanoma vaccine research, followed by support initiated in 2003 for the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program. Their charitable gift has helped fund the education for the next generation of surgical oncologists.