Seeking to bridge the transition from pediatric to adult care for people living with cerebral palsy, Debby and Peter A. Weinberg, with several of their family members and friends, have given more than $7 million to help establish the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Up until now, there has been only one other center in the United States that provides integrated, multidisciplinary care for both children and adults with cerebral palsy, and this is the first on the East Coast. The Center was officially launched this week, at events attended by Mr. and Mrs. Weinberg, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CUMC Dean Lee Goldman, MD, and faculty and staff supporters of the new Center.
The new Center will coordinate care with specialists at CUMC and its affiliate, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia for patients of all ages, ease the transition of teenage patients into adult care, and educate caregivers and families while offering them support. In addition, the Center will lead basic and clinical research, and establish the first-ever nationwide cerebral palsy patient registry—helping researchers to overcome longstanding hurdles of lack of data on cerebral palsy patients and insufficient outcomes data, while providing a robust platform for multidisciplinary longitudinal research.
Debby and Peter A. Weinberg are the lead donors in this effort, in recognition of the support and care that their youngest son, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cerebral palsy at age 3 months, has received at CUMC. Additional gifts are from their friends and family.
"Today our son is 17 years old and a thriving junior in high school. We feel very grateful to Dr. David Roye and all of our son's physicians at CUMC for the dedication they have shown our family," said Debby Weinberg. "But we know that there are many young children with cerebral palsy and now a large and growing adult cerebral palsy population, who find it difficult and overwhelming to access the medical system. We hope that the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia will provide a 'medical home' for these patients and make it easier for them to obtain the highest quality medical care."
"When our son began to transition from pediatric to adult care to manage his cerebral palsy, we realized that there is a vital need for adult specialized care to pick up where pediatric medicine leaves off," said Peter A. Weinberg, a founding partner of Perella Weinberg Partners L.P., a global financial services firm. "To help address this need, we are proud to be able to come together with our family and friends, to establish the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia. We are committed to helping cerebral palsy patients, from newborns to adults, live to the best of their capabilities."
Cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect movement, speech, and cognitive function, strikes young children—from before birth to up to two years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cerebral palsy occurs in one of every 278 births, making it three times more common than Down syndrome and nearly 30 times more common than muscular dystrophy.
Nearly 1 million people live with cerebral palsy in the United States. And a significant majority of cerebral palsy patients—nearly 9 out of 10—reach adulthood. Today, there are two to three times as many adults as children with cerebral palsy. Adult patients face unique challenges that often require specialized care; e.g., pain management, mobility problems, and aging-related conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.