URMC Physician-Couple Gives $750K Gift to Orthopaedics

Apr. 6, 2014
Seth Zeidman, M.D., and Eva Pressman, M.D.

Eva K. Pressman, M.D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Henry A. Thiede Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Seth M. Zeidman, M.D., a neurosurgeon who is a member of Highland Hospital’s medical staff, pledged a gift of $750,000 for orthopaedics research at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“This generous gift from Eva and Seth will allow our nationally recognized researchers to continue to unravel the mysteries of musculoskeletal health and develop therapies that will impact patients today and in the future,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for Health Sciences.

Several years ago, Zeidman had a serious bicycle accident while riding along the Erie Canal. In addition to a broken arm and significant blood loss, he suffered a heart attack. Zeidman credits Stephen L. Kates, M.D., the Hansjörg Wyss Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics, who cared for him that day, with discovering the heart attack and saving his life, as well as helping him regain the mobility he needed to continue his career as a surgeon.

“Their gift is a wonderful way to honor the care that Seth received at Highland as well as our stellar orthopaedics research program at the University,” said Steven I. Goldstein, president and CEO of UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital and Highland Hospital.

The couple, who joined the University in 1999, is committed to supporting the pioneering work being done by the Center for Musculoskeletal Research (CMSR), which is part of the University’s Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation; their ultimate goal is to fund the Department’s Stephen L. Kates Professorship in Orthopaedics.

Although the gift honors the relationship between Zeidman and Kates, Pressman and Zeidman consider many others at the University of Rochester to be family. Together, they have recruited dozens of colleagues at other institutions to come to Rochester.

“We love it here,” said Pressman. “The faculty, staff, residents, researchers, and students are phenomenal.” Zeidman added: “Everyone is top-notch and we’ve been very pleased with how our lives and careers have developed at the University of Rochester. We’re extremely grateful for every opportunity, and we want to give back.”

Directed by Edward M. Schwarz, Ph.D., the Richard and Margaret Burton Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedics, the CMSR houses approximately 70 physicians and scientists, graduate students, and post-doctoral students in orthopaedics. They conduct studies that apply cutting-edge science to some of the most common problems in health care—such as infections, obesity, and joint degeneration.

The CMSR researchers are developing a vaccine to prevent life-threatening methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections following bone and joint surgery, for example, and identifying drugs that might act on bone stem cells to enhance fracture healing.

The CMSR is ranked second in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding, ahead of Johns Hopkins and University of Pennsylvania. Kates, collaborating closely with Schwarz and other scientists at the CMSR, including the Marjorie Strong Wehle Professor in Orthopaedics and Department Chair Regis J. O’Keefe, M.D., Ph.D., has a special interest in improving the treatment of fractures in older adults. Kates is co-director of the Geriatric Fracture Center at Highland.

The gift is meant to inspire additional gifts that, when added to the commitment from Pressman and Zeidman, would ultimately total at least $1.5 million, the amount required to create an endowed professorship in Kates’ honor. Until then, it will support a full-time faculty member in orthopaedics to conduct research that advances the care and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases.

Pressman and Zeidman have been active volunteers through their service on the Highland Foundation Board and involvement with the Highland Hospital Gala. They have committed nearly $1 million in support to the departments of surgery and obstetrics and gynecology at Highland Hospital, as well as several programs and initiatives. They are also Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society.