In August 2006 Robert M. Cornfeld, D.M.D., and his wife, Judith, made a $1 million inaugural gift toward the development of the Miami Transplant Institute at the University of Miami/ Jackson Memorial Medical Center. This commitment was made in memory of Helene Metz, Judy’s sister—a kidney transplant recipient.

“It is important for people to understand that by supporting the transplant program they are giving the gift of a lifetime,” says Cornfeld.

“There are thousands of people each year whose lives are saved by receiving a new organ. My sister-in-law, Helene Metz, was one of those people. We are grateful for the care she received at the Miller School of Medicine, and it is in her honor that we made this gift.”

The Transplant Institute will change the practice of transplantation as it is known today. It will bring together a group of clinicians and researchers who have transplantations as their primary objective and will be capable of carrying out large-scale clinical trials for the testing of new therapies in this rapidly evolving field. Its focus will be to solve the issues of organ tolerance and availability, the two most significant medical challenges in the field of transplantation.

“We are delighted and thrilled to receive this gift from Dr. Cornfeld and his wife, Judy, longtime supporters of the Miller School of Medicine,” says Andreas Tzakis, M.D., Ph.D., director of the institute. “This gift will help lay the groundwork to begin the development of one of the most effective and comprehensive transplant facilities, which will provide the gift of life to so many.”

Cornfeld, a retired orthodontist, is the owner of numerous real estate companies collectively known as The Cornfeld Group. He and his wife have been major donors to the Miller School since 1992 and are staunch supporters of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, bestowing gifts for both the Simonsen Chair in Transplant Surgery and the Transplant Immunobiology Chair.

“We hope our inaugural gift will encourage others to give and support this vital initiative,” says Cornfeld, “and that together we can be instrumental in the establishment of the Miami Transplant Institute at UM/Jackson.”

The Department of Surgery’s transplant programs and physicians have earned a world-renowned reputation for successful liver, kidney, pancreas, intestine, islet cell, heart, lung, and multivisceral transplants. The programs are among the largest in the country and have superior clinical outcomes, enhancing quality of life for hundreds of patients and their families.