September 26, 2008

Allina Hospitals & Clinics Announces the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing to Honor Integrative Medicine Philanthropist, Penny George

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis has commemorated its fifth anniversary by changing its name to the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing to honor national integrative medicine advocate and philanthropist, Penny George. The announcement was made today by Dick Pettingill, chief executive officer of Allina Hospitals & Clinics in Minneapolis. The Institute was founded in 2003 by the George Family Foundation and the Ted and Roberta Mann Foundation.

Widely known as one of the nation's leaders in the philanthropic movement to advance integrative medicine, the George Family Foundation's philanthropic support of the George Institute has totaled more than $4.25 million over five years.

"My journey of recovery from breast cancer illuminated for me the vast potential for healing that can accompany a life-threatening illness," said George, "as well as the ways in which current medical practices are shortchanging Americans." George points to integrative medicine, a patient-centered approach to health care that integrates conventional medicine with the wisdom of other healing traditions, as the foundation for her recovery. "Integrative medicine has the potential to fundamentally change the face of health care today. The Institute is a philosophical and clinical manifestation of that promise," she added.

The Penny George Institute for Health and Healing provides a range of integrative medicine services in both the inpatient and outpatient environments, including such therapies as acupuncture, biofeedback, music therapy, nutrition consultations and massage therapy. The George Institute also conducts leading-edge research and education programs.

In 2007, more than 8,000 patient visits were made to the George Institute's Outpatient Clinic. That same year, more than 14,300 inpatient visits were made by the George Institute's team of health care professionals -- making the George Institute the nation's largest hospital-based integrative medicine program. "The Penny George Institute for Health and Healing is a tremendous resource for our patients, physicians, nurses, other health care professionals and the community we serve," said Penny Wheeler, MD, chief clinical officer, Allina Hospitals & Clinics.

George's philanthropic support was the cornerstone of a $15 million campaign with more than 6,500 donors that has also enabled the recruitment of national leaders, including executive director Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNC, the 2006 American Holistic Nurse of the Year; new medical director Gregory Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, FACP, formerly with the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo; and new research director Jeffrey Dusek, PhD, formerly of Harvard Medical School.

George noted, "I am extremely proud of what the leadership team at the Institute has accomplished with the support of the Abbott Northwestern Hospital community to improve patient care through the integration of a full range of healing therapies. It is our hope that the Institute will become a national model for improving health care through the healing essence of integrative medicine."

For more information on the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, call 612-863-3333, or visit

    Media Contacts:  Matt Russell                     Jennifer Syltie Johnson                     Russell Public Communications    JSJ Communications                     520-232-9840                     651-246-4040                     520-909-3941 (cell)              [email protected]                     [email protected]  

George Family Foundation

CONTACT: Matt Russell of Russell Public Communications,+1-520-232-9840, cell, +1-520-909-3941, [email protected]; orJennifer Syltie Johnson of JSJ Communications, +1-651-246-4040,[email protected], both for George Family Foundation

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