The gift will be used to strengthen the hospital's Food and Health Alliance and Immunology Center and create the Fondren Inflammation Collaborative, a multidisciplinary center focused on the development of improved diagnostics and treatments for serious food allergies; immunologic disorders such as lupus, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and immune deficiencies; and a range of gastrointestinal disorders, including Crohn's, colitis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. With the goal of advancing understanding of complex diseases at the intersection of food, the gut microbiome, and the immune response, the collaborative will serve as a one-stop resource for both patients and researchers who are studying how inflammation affects immunologic and gastrointestinal conditions.
In addition, the gift will be used to fund four endowed chairs as well as efforts to train the next generation of physician-scientists.
"Patients with these complex conditions often travel from doctor to doctor for years in search of a proper diagnosis and treatment," said Rob Fondren, former board chair of the foundation. "Recognizing the challenges faced by these patients and their families, the Fondren Foundation's vision is to close the gap in patient care by building an international destination of hope and relief for people with these complex, often intertwined conditions and their underlying inflammatory triggers. A central hub focused on these debilitating disorders would fill a significant gap in the Texas Medical Center."
"Houston Methodist would not be where it is today had it not been for the leadership of the Fondren family," said Marc L. Boom, the Ella Fondren and Josie Roberts Presidential Distinguished Centennial Chair, president, and CEO of Houston Methodist, where eight members of the Fondren family have logged a combined hundred and eighty-nine years of service on the board. "There is really no family more unparalleled in the history of Houston Methodist. They have contributed to this institution for essentially a hundred consecutive years. It's astonishing and humbling the contributions this family has made generation after generation."