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Our Lady of the Lake Foundation Gives $1 million to PBRC for Childhood Obesity and Diabetes

Released: Thursday, January 15, 2004

BATON ROUGE, La. - Our Lady of the Lake Foundation announced today the presentation of a gift of one million dollars to the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation earmarked for a new program on childhood obesity and diabetes. The donation will be used to fund the Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes and other research costs of the new program.

“We want to positively impact the current health crisis related to childhood obesity and diabetes,” said Sr. Barbara A. Arceneaux, OSF, provincial of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. “These funds will help children in our community, our state and internationally through vitally needed medical research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.”

From the one million dollar donation, $600,000 will be used to obtain a matching $400,000 from the state of Louisiana through the Louisiana Board of Regents Eminent Scholars and Endowed Professorship Program also known as the 8 (g) program to create an Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes. The remaining $400,000 will provide some of the initial research operating costs.

Dr. Claude Bouchard, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, said at the recent check presentation, “Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Children are now developing Type II diabetes, once called Adult Onset Diabetes. These funds are vital to the study and understanding of the issues of overweight and obese youth.”

“It is clear that no one solution can address this epidemic adequately. Rather many approaches and the efforts of many scientists and institutions will be needed,” Bouchard said.

Obesity and diabetes have been called the “twin epidemics,” and, according to the American Diabetes Association, more than 80-percent of youth who are diagnosed as diabetic are also overweight or obese.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control show a dramatic increase in overweight children under the age of 11, increasing from 4.2 percent in the late 60s to more than 15 percent by the year 2000.

Kevin Reilly, Sr., chairman of the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation, accepted the check on behalf of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

The funds will be used to retain a new eminent medical research scholar to the faculty of the center as well as to cover some of the research costs associated with the new program.

Sr. Arceneaux announced that the Endowed Chair will be named to honor Sr. Marie Edana Corcoran, BSN, RN, a beloved nurse who cared for patients and families for more than 50 years at Our Lady of the Lake. Sr. Edana joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady in 1931 and began working at OLOL in 1937. She was well known for her presence at the Hospital at all hours to care for patients and their families. Sr. Edana retired several years ago and now resides at the Maryville Convent.

“Sr. Edana's commitment and compassion impacted the lives of so many patients, families, doctors, nurses, and support workers. She lived the hospital's mission through her unceasing dedication to its patients and without question she is the inspiration for the “Spirit of Healing.” This ongoing work on behalf of children will be a fitting tribute to her legacy,” said Roland Toups, chairman of the OLOL Foundation Board of Directors.

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge is a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. Additional hospital members of the Health System include Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales and Assumption Community Hospital in Napoleonville.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Itis a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at the Center includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities.  The Center's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 234-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.