Endowments have built and sustained the Arizona Arthritis Center and endowments will secure our future. They provide a firm financial foundation that impacts the Center long after the gift is made. Endowments serve as meaningful ways for individuals, corporations or foundations to leave a lasting legacy.
Through a $1 million gift, the Center can establish an endowed chair, which focuses on research of your choice. An endowed chair is established with a single gift or a combination of gifts totaling $1 million. Endowed chairs provide prestige and visibility to the positions they support and they help to attract and retain top researchers and physicians.
Rheumatology Research Endowment
$6 Million Stephens Gift Invested in UA Rheumatology Research
Rheumatologist Charles A.L. Stephens, MD joined Dr. Paul Holbrook and his thriving Tucson medical practice of Holbrook-Hill Medical Clinic in 1946. This was the beginning of Dr. Stephens’ lifelong passion - to research and discover methods to advance the understanding of arthritis' causes and treatments.
Today, Stephens' legacy lives on at the UA College of Medicine in the form of a $6 million leadership gift given by him and his wife, Suzanne. The Charles A.L. and Suzanne M. Stephens Chair of Rheumatology and The Charles A.L. and Suzanne M. Stephens Research Fund in Rheumatology have provided the College of Medicine the resources necessary to recruit top research talent to achieve the goal of finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for arthritis and immune-related diseases.
Stephens' early research included the use of cortisone to treat rheumatoid arthritis and studies on some of the first arthritis tissue cultures. "He had a very inquisitive mind and it's amazing what he achieved working as a community physician with no academic institution to back him at that time. He was very well published," said John Franklin, close family friend and attorney.
Stephens and Holbrook founded the Arthritis & Rheumatism Foundation, the forerunner of the Arthritis Foundation. Stephens later established his own medical practice and was president of the Southwest Clinic and Research Institute (SCARI), which laid the groundwork for the development of the Arizona Arthritis Center. In the 1960s, SCARI was located in the UA College of Agriculture.
"One of Charlie's patients was a faculty member in the College of Agriculture who found a small room in the basement for the lab, which was basically large enough to contain a bench, chair and phone. But early on he studied lymphocytes and synovial fluids in joints," said Johnson.
He later served as an early faculty member at the College of Medicine and continued in his community practice. "He worked well into his 70s. He loved academics and loved to teach," said Johnson.