July 22, 2008

Valerie Collins Thomas Joins National Trauma Institute As Development Director

Valerie Collins Thomas, a longtime fundraiser in the state of Pennsylvania has been recruited to be Development Director by the National Trauma Institute, a non-profit, grant-giving organization for trauma related research. She will be responsible for the National Trauma Institute's philanthropic and private donor fundraising efforts.

Ms. Thomas was the Director of Planned Giving for the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania where she raised over $500,000 in charitable gifts and donations; and developed funding for a $2M endowed chair. Prior to that, she was Director of Development for the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania where she was responsible for funding a $1.6M operating budget.

In addition to development positions in her career, Thomas has also been Executive Director for the Pitt County Family Violence Program in Greenville, North Carolina; Community Services Director for the United Way of Pitt County; Needs and Resources Coordinator for the Cumberland County Partnership for Children in Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Corporate Relations Manager for the Volunteer Center of United Way in San Antonio, Texas. Ms. Thomas began her professional career with IBM Corporation where she was a System Engineer then an Account Marketing Representative in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, DC. She was with IBM for thirteen years.

The National Trauma Institute's mission is to fund short-term (3-5 years) trauma-related research that will change and improve current practices and procedures and thereby lower the number of deaths due to trauma. Trauma-related deaths are the number one cause of death for people ages 1-44; and trauma-related injuries occur everyday throughout America and cost our country billions of dollars in treatment and rehabilitation. Many Level 1 Trauma Centers throughout the country have closed due to lack of funds. Time consuming and repetitive surgeries, such as those necessary with traumatic injuries, become too expensive for health plans to cover or for hospitals to get reimbursed. The number of casualties and injuries has increased due to the war and the opportunity to learn and implement best practices in emergency situations needs to be researched and proven. As has been shown with diseases such as AIDS and Cancer, when funds are allocated to research and practices are changed, the number of deaths are reduced.