February 8, 2023 The NCH Healthcare System is proud to announce a $20 million naming gift from the Rooney Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the former U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district and his wife, Francis and Kathleen Rooney. In recognition of increasing their $8 million pledge announced last July, the entire cardiac program across NCH Healthcare System will be renamed “The Rooney Heart Institute.”
Their visionary gift will benefit the comprehensive cardiovascular service line offered at NCH by supporting the establishment of a new home for premier cardiovascular and critical care in Southwest Florida. The Rooney Heart Institute is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to improving the lives of those living with heart disease and ensuring the highest standards of care. The physical hub of the Rooney Heart Institute will be located in the new proposed facility on the Downtown Baker campus which is slated to open in 2025.
The Rooneys have been longtime members of NCH’s Medical Diplomats Council and made this generous investment in our community because of their personal experiences at NCH and desire to have a greater impact on others.
Cardiovascular services at NCH have advanced rapidly in recent months under the direction of Dr. Robert J. Cubeddu, the Brynne and Bob Coletti Endowed Chair and the President of the newly named Rooney Heart Institute at NCH. Dr Cubeddu, a Harvard Graduate from Massachusetts General Hospital, joined the organization after his tenure as Chairman of Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic Florida in 2021.
One area that will see significant impact from this gift is the cardiovascular research program. Now with over two dozen active clinical research trials, the Rooney Heart Institute will expand its existing research footprint to include major studies aimed at understanding the underlying causes of heart disease, its prevention, and the impact of novel cardiovascular therapies.
Another important area of focus for the Rooney Heart Institute is the education and training of cardiac healthcare professionals at NCH, through the expansion of its cardiology fellowship and the establishment of new subspecialty training programs. Coupled with the hands-on training experience provided through the state-of-art Judith and Marvin Herb Family Simulation Center, the educational experience will enable healthcare professionals to remain up-to-date with the latest advancements in heart disease, while retaining and attracting the best and brightest nurses and physicians to our region.
The cardiology team at NCH is committed to providing premier cardiovascular care to patients with complex heart disease and this donation will further that cause by supporting the development and implementation of new treatments and therapies, including minimally invasive procedures, new clinical trial medications, and applying advanced technology and innovative techniques. The new home for cardiac care will assure patients the best quality of care – right here at home – to improve their chances of recovery and restore their well-being.
“This transformational gift has the power to change lives and affect the wellbeing of our Naples community”, said Dr. Robert J. Cubeddu, President of the Rooney Heart Institute at NCH. “It will enhance our ability to attract and recruit the best and brightest talent from other top programs, and bring forth innovative clinical solutions that will yield new treatment options for our patients.”
Francis Rooney served as U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district from 2017 to 2021 and U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005 until 2008. Rooney is the former CEO of Rooney Holdings, a diversified group of companies including Manhattan Construction Company, which was founded in 1896 and is in the fifth generation of Rooney family management. Rooney has served on numerous public and private boards, including NCH, the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies, and the Young Presidents’ Organization. Kathleen and Francis are also lifetime trustees of the Naples Children and Education Foundation.
“We are proud to support NCH through this period of transformation. We were motivated to increase our contribution to help accelerate their goals and vision of having world-class cardiac care available right here in our Naples community,” said Francis Rooney. “We look forward to seeing the continued positive impact NCH will have in improving the lives of those living with heart disease.”
“The Rooney Foundation’s generous donation will have a profound impact in our journey to establish one of America’s top heart programs, while also elevating the standards of care across the spectrum of clinical services in our healthcare enterprise,” said Paul Hiltz, President and CEO, NCH Healthcare System. “We are honored to have the Rooney family name forever associated with our cardiology department. We are incredibly, incredibly grateful for their visionary support of our community healthcare system.”
For information about the proposed facility for cardiac and stroke care, or to learn more on how you can support the Rooney Heart Institute at NCH, visit https://nchmd.org/critical-care/.
About NCH Healthcare System
The NCH Healthcare System is a not-for-profit, multi-facility healthcare system located in Naples, Florida, and is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The System is more than just two hospitals (referred to as the NCH Baker Hospital and NCH North Naples Hospital) with a total of 713 beds. NCH is an alliance of 775 physicians and medical facilities in dozens of locations throughout Collier County and southwest Florida that offers nationally recognized, quality health care to our community. NCH delivers 3,500 babies and houses the only pediatric ER in Collier County serving more than 19,000 children every year. We take pride in caring for the next generation of leaders. Our mission is to help everyone live a longer, happier, healthier life. For more information, visit www.NCHmd.org.