Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin

Foundation Forward:

The Official Newsletter of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation

November 2019


Greater Together: An Evening of Gratitude

On Tuesday, October 22, Tampa General Hospital’s most dedicated stakeholders gathered at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club for the first Greater Together, a Celebration of Gratitude dinner. As guests arrived, they enjoyed cocktails and live music by Danielle DeCosmo, a TGH Integrative Arts in Medicine practitioner. Frann M. Richards, chief development officer of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation, opened the evening with a champagne toast, saying, “Thank you for your thoughtful and generous investments in our outstanding hospital. Cheers to the many ways we truly are Greater Together.”
Other key speakers were John Couris, CEO, John Touchton, board chair, and Greg Celestan, Foundation board chair. The highlight of the evening’s program was a presentation by one of our most grateful patients. Miami Attorney, Michael Haggard, shared his story of gratitude for his life-saving kidney transplant which inspired his family’s generous gift to fund a full-time living donor coordinator position in TGH’s Advanced Organ Disease & Transplantation Institute. The audience gave him a standing ovation after hearing his story and the impact his gift is making for our patients.
The generosity of our benefactors is critical to our success. Your support, coupled with the world-class care from our team members, truly makes us Greater Together.

Gift of Respite

Aligning a Passion with a Gift

The Casper Family is widely known for their successful hospitality businesses and their unwavering commitment to bettering our community.  Blake and Tate Casper both serve on various boards throughout the Tampa Bay area and give philanthropically to the missions they support.  In 2018, Blake, who formally served on our TGH Foundation Board and is now an active member of the hospital board, had an interesting conversation with TGH’s newly hired CEO, John Couris.  Blake wondered how his family could best align their expertise with a priority of the hospital to maximize impact in the community. Together, they came up with a plan.
TGH leadership believes world-class health care starts with taking care of our own.  If our physicians, clinical teams and all 8,000 plus team members are engaged in our common purpose of becoming the safest and most innovative academic health system in the country, the quality of our patient care will naturally improve. It was in this spirit the Casper family decided to renovate a space for our outstanding physicians.
On June 3, 2019, we celebrated the grand opening of The Casper Family Physicians Lounge at TGH.  The new space is as functional as it is beautiful.  Blake, Tate and their design team created a modern, open space for our physicians to collaborate, perform research, gain nourishment or just relax and unwind.
“We are in the hospitality and design business and it was meaningful for us to provide a space of work, collaboration and respite for the very physicians we depend on every day," said Blake Casper at the opening of the lounge.
“We want to take care of the talent we have at Tampa General. We hope that this gift could do that in a small way", Tate Casper shared, "The physicians can plug in anywhere, stay alert, but enjoy natural light and some relief from the hustle and bustle of the hospital. We understand it’s an unorthodox gift, but if we can provide those things, we are having the impact we were hoping for.”
Special thanks to the Casper Family for this meaningful gift!

Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future

The Nancy C. Bruemmer, M.D. Women’s Leadership Circle

Over 10 years ago, the TGH Foundation launched the Women’s Leadership Council, a women’s giving circle dedicated to supporting the work of Tampa General Hospital. Along the way, some of the most committed women in our community have made a generous impact based on the information they’ve learned as members. They’ve voted every year on projects and equipment to fund and donated nearly $1 million to support TGH patients, families, and clinicians. Members of this women’s leadership group have undoubtedly left their mark on Tampa General Hospital – just like TGH’s first female physician, Dr. Nancy Bruemmer.
Nancy Bruemmer knew she wanted to study medicine, but in the 1940's there were few seats available to women in universities. Rather than let that stop her, she became determined to make her own way in the field of medicine, earning her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1954 and her M.D. from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1964. Her research and studies focused on obstetrics and gynecology, infertility, and gynecic endocrinology. During a time when she was the only female physician on staff, Dr. Bruemmer never let hardships, like not being allowed to use the all-male physicians lounge or not having a call room of her own on overnight cases, stop her from doing all she could to serve her patients. Throughout her 45+ year career, Dr. Bruemmer delivered over 10,000 babies in Tampa, all while raising a family and championing community causes as an active leader.  For her compassionate dedication to her patients, steadfast resolve to
chase her dreams, tireless community activism, and her legacy of leadership and giving, Tampa General Hospital Foundation has renamed its women’s giving group the Nancy C. Bruemmer, M.D. Women’s Leadership Circle.
This group honors the legacy of Dr. Nancy C. Bruemmer while celebrating a future of possibilities, inspiring women to use their power as philanthropists to improve and advance the health care provided to patients at Tampa General Hospital. For information on how to join the Nancy C. Bruemmer, M.D. Women's Leadership Circle, please visit
Dr. Nancy C. Bruemmer, TGH's first female physician was able to attend the luncheon and received a plaque honoring the renaming of the Women's Leadership Council

Coat of Compassion

White Coat Program 2019

From the outside looking in, you expect to see Tampa General Hospital's physicians delivering newborns, replacing joints, and healing some of the most complex patients in the state. But when you put on scrubs and don the white coat these physicians wear every single day-as our TGH White Coat Program participants did this fall-you see what is beneath the surface of today's busy world of health care: compassion.
The TGH White Coat Program is an exclusive, invitation-only experience for high level community stakeholders that allows a once in a lifetime opportunity to shadow the physicians who save lives every day at Tampa General Hospital.
"You saw it in the patients' faces-you could tell they trusted you and they were placing their lives in your hands. It gives me a new appreciation for what these physicians do and the patients they care for," said participant Anthony Scarpo.
Michael Brown, executive vice president of Skanska, shadowed Dr. Jose Montero of Infectious Disease, explaining that even though they didn't see surgical procedures, the amount of compassion he saw throughout his day made his experience a great one. "You saw the physicians treating the whole person, not just the illness. Can you imagine how difficult it is to say thank you, despite receiving the worst news about a loved one? That's because of the compassion these physicians have with the patients and families and it's powerful."
The day was filled with TGH supporters shadowing multiple procedures, patient rounds, and learning not only what it is like behind the scenes of one of Tampa's busiest hospitals, but also from the physicians that care for the sickest patients what it truly means to bring compassion to this world-class institution.
“When we, as physicians, get to interact with donors and see the excitement and interest they take in our everyday tasks, it reaffirms the love we have for what we do and the patients we care for every day.” (Dr. Debbie Rinde-Hoffman, Transplant Cardiologist, Medical Director of Advanced Heart Failure and MCS)

All FORE the Cause

The 21st Annual Golf Tournament Benefits TGH Burn Center

Joe Versaggi is a Marine Corps Veteran who spent his tenure flying helicopters in Vietnam. 13 years ago, his life was turned upside down when he experienced every pilot’s worst fear: a plane accident. After being transported to Tampa General Hospital, TGH’s Burn Unit quickly became Joe’s home away from home. After spending many days in a coma, flatlining three times, and enduring 40 surgeries, he leaned on his dear family, closest friends, and the compassionate people at TGH throughout his recovery. On Monday, October 14, Joe told his story to the 92 golfers of the TGH Foundation's 21st Annual Golf Tournament to bring awareness to the life-saving care TGH provides. This year's tournament benefited the TGH Burn Center, and Joe represents the hundreds of adult burn patients the Burn Center cares for each year. Today, Joe serves as an official Tampa General volunteer visiting with burn patients and families, giving them the courage and positivity he once needed.
After a beautiful day of golf at Old Memorial Golf Club, the golfers participated in an awards luncheon, auction and Bid from the Heart fundraiser after hearing Joe's moving story. This year's tournament raised over $395,000 for the TGH Burn Center and will help in the purchasing of much-needed equipment to aid our patients on their road to recovery.
Impact in Numbers:
The TGH Burn Center was able to purchase the following equipment to aid out patients on their road to recovery:
6 – Handheld dopplers for pulse checks
1 – Large blanket warmer to keep patients warm during procedures
1 – Ultrasound machine for insertion of lines into burn patients
1 – Bovie Stand for debridement room, where damaged tissue is removed from patients