UCI News

Ralph and Sue Stern gift to support cancer center at new UCI hospital in Irvine

Longtime UCI donors’ latest gift adds to legacy of expanding lifesaving care

November 10, 2021
Ralph and Sue Stern gift to support cancer center at new UCI hospital in Irvine
For 13 years, Ralph and Sue Stern have given generously, primarily to the UCI School of Medicine and UCI Health.

Orange, CA, Nov. 10, 2021 — UCI Health is pleased to announce a new gift from longtime UCI Health friends Ralph and Sue Stern. In recognition of the family’s latest gift and their lifetime giving of more than $12.5 million to UCI Health, a cancer clinic floor located in the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building at the UCI Medical Center – Irvine will bear the names of Ralph and Sue Stern. The cancer clinic floor will include 36 private exam rooms integrating research, prevention and the most advanced diagnostics, treatments, and rehabilitation programs to provide the best possible care for patients.

“Ralph and Sue Stern bring vision and remarkable generosity to the UCI Health fight against cancer, producing new cures and extending the opportunity for more patients to receive the team-based, personalized cancer care that is only possible at an academic health center,” said Steve A.N. Goldstein, M.A., M.D., Ph.D., FAAP, UCI vice chancellor for health affairs.  “Under the leadership of Dr. Rick Van Etten, the UCI Chao Cancer Family Comprehensive Center is at the forefront of innovation in cancer care through its use of advanced AI/machine learning, genomics and therapeutics, empowered by the compassionate minds of world-class cancer clinician-scientists.”

In January, UCI and the university’s health enterprise, UCI Health, announced plans to build a medical complex at the north end of the UCI campus, including a 144-bed acute care hospital with emergency department, the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care center and UCI Health Center for Advanced Care. The first patients are expected in early 2023 in the Center for Advanced Care and the hospital and cancer center is set for completion in 2025. UCI and UCI Health leaders will break ground on the hospital and medical complex on Nov. 15.

“UCI Health has provided advanced cancer care, rooted in scientific discovery and clinical innovation, longer than anyone in Orange County,” said UCI Health CEO Chad Lefteris. “The support of Ralph and Sue Stern has been a key in advancing this mission – it’s a privilege to continue our relationship as we expand access to lifesaving healthcare across the county.”

For 13 years, Ralph and Sue Stern have given generously, primarily to the UCI School of Medicine and UCI Health. Their $5 million gift in 2014 established the Sue and Ralph Stern Center for Cancer Clinical Trials and Research at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Under the leadership of Dr. Susan O’Brien, a specialist in hematology-oncology, their support has transformed the cancer center’s clinical research since 2015, including a 300 percent increase in the number of early phase trials in the county’s largest cancer trials portfolio.

In 2008, the Sterns turned to UCI Health for help when Sue Stern was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor. Following her successful treatment, they made two generous gifts in support of ongoing research by UCI Health Drs. Mark Linskey and Daniela Bota for malignant spinal cord and brain tumors.

Their 2014 gift was made to coincide with the selection of the new Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center director, Dr. Van Etten, a renowned hematologist-oncologist who specializes in the treatment of leukemia and other blood disorders.

In 2016, the Sterns were honored with the UCI Health Hero Award. Mr. Stern is on the Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences Advisory Board and the UCI Health Advisory Board. Mrs. Stern is also on the Samueli College of Health Sciences Advisory Board. The couple has supported cancer research, Holocaust education, Jewish institutions and schools, a community center in Uganda, a clown program to entertain hospitalized children, the theater, Girl’s Inc a local empowerment program for girls, and science and engineering efforts. In 2019, the Sterns were the recipients of the Legacy Award on National Philanthropy Day.

If you want to learn more about supporting health advances at UCI, please visit the Brilliant Future website. Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. UCI Health Affairs plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting: https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/uci-health-affairs.