Audre and Bernard Rapoport

$1 million from Audre and Bernard Rapoport supports cardiology division

Audre and Bernard Rapoport

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of disability. Faculty physicians at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, such as Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., are leading groundbreaking research, prevention and treatment of this deadly disease.

This year, Dr. Lange’s efforts were buoyed by gifts totaling $1 million from Audre and Bernard Rapoport and The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation. These funds will allow Dr. Lange to expand upon research and treatment programs in the Division of Cardiology over the next five years.

“I am honored and humbled by Mr. and Mrs. Rapoport’s generosity,” Dr. Lange said. “Their commitment to the Health Science Center and interest in cardiology research and care will allow us to make further advancements in this area possible.”

Dr. Lange is professor and executive vice chairman of the Department of Medicine, director of the Office of Educational Programs and holds the L. David Hillis, M.D., Endowed Chair in Medicine. He is a practicing physician with UT Health San Antonio, the clinical practice of the Long School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center. Prior to joining the Health Science Center in 2008, Dr. Lange served as chief of clinical cardiology in the Department of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution.

Dr. Lange has published more than 200 journal articles and book chapters relating to three types of heart disease: ischemic, valvular and congenital heart disease in adults. Ischemic relates to reduced oxygen supply to the heart as a result of arteries blocked by cholesterol or plaques. Valvular relates to defects of the heart valves. Congenital heart disease results from defects of the heart’s structure and function that occur before birth.

“I am privileged to be able to serve my fellow faculty, students and patients in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Rapoport and their generosity,” Dr. Lange said. “My goal is to build a world-class program that supports the vision of the Health Science Center’s mission of advancing medical research, education and clinical care through academic medicine.”

Dr. Lange said he plans to use the funds to recruit accomplished new faculty and to retain senior faculty who will work together to develop novel therapies for heart disease. He also plans to invest in new state-of-the-art facilities and equipment as well as fellowship programs that will benefit outstanding junior researchers and students.

“Our Division of Cardiology is at the forefront of academic medicine through its multiple ongoing research programs, its access to the latest technology and its partnership with facilities such as University Hospital, Christus Santa Rosa Health System, and the Audie Murphy Division, South Texas Veterans Health Care System,” Dr. Lange said. “These resources allow us to offer diagnostic, therapeutic and management services as well as invasive and noninvasive procedures for patients. In addition, our clinician scientists participate in the development of new cardiovascular drugs, in which our patients can benefit from through their participation in clinical trials. Because of Mr. and Mrs. Rapoport’s generosity, we will be able to expand in all of these areas.”

Bernard Rapoport was born in San Antonio in 1917 to Russian, Jewish immigrants. Despite his humble upbringing, he worked his way through college during the Great Depression and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in economics. He married Audre Newman in 1942 and began selling insurance. With a modest investment in 1951, Mr. Rapoport grew the American Income Life Insurance Company to a business worth more than $560 million.

Fueled by their desire to employ their success in promoting social justice, improving communities and helping the underserved, the Rapoports later established the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation.

Since its inception in 1986, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation has dedicated more than $50 million in grants to many organizations and causes throughout the United States and Israel to cultivate emerging talents and promising models and to support education, arts and culture, health and human service, and civic participation.

In 1991 Bernard Rapoport was appointed to a six-year term on the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System where he served as chairman from 1993 to 1997.

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