FDU dedicates the Daniel and Martina Lewis Center for Healthcare Innovation and Technology

Lewis Center ribbon cut

Donor Martina Lewis unveils a plaque announcing the Daniel and Martina Lewis Center for Healthcare Innovation and Technology as (from left) her husband Daniel, University President Sheldon Drucker, School of Pharmacy Dean Michael Avaltroni and University Provost Christopher Capuano look on. (Photos by Dan Landau)

By Kenna Caprio

Members of the Fairleigh Dickinson University community gathered to unveil the Daniel and Martina Lewis Center for Healthcare Innovation and Technology on Tuesday, June 2. Initiated by a $1-million gift from alumnus and University trustee Daniel Lewis, MBA ’76, and his wife Martina, the academic center — housed within the School of Pharmacy — will foster collaboration among healthcare education leaders from within and outside of the University.

Experts and students will work together in a collaborative environment that promotes the advancement of healthcare delivery and improves patient and population health outcomes.

“The generous gift of $1 million will be placed in a restricted endowment fund, the annual proceeds of which will be used to support graduate student scholarships in health science programs at the University, including nursing, psychology, pharmacy, health sciences, and eventually other programs,” said University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Christopher Capuano.

Lewis Center group

From left are: School of Pharmacy Dean Michael Avaltroni, University President Sheldon Drucker, alumnus Daniel Lewis, MBA'76, Martina Lewis, University Provost Christopher Capuano and Senior Vice President for University Advancement Richard Reiss.

Approximately 80 guests, trustees, faculty, staff and administrators attended the ceremony and formal remarks given by Capuano, University President Sheldon Drucker, School of Pharmacy Dean Michael Alvaltroni and Lewis.

“The endowment is structured to jump-start programs and provide ongoing graduate scholarships,” said Lewis. “The scholarships will go to high quality graduate students and help them prosper.” He says the health sciences are “one of the key growth engines of the University” and hopes the gift will continuously expand FDU’s role in and commitment to the field.

“We’re in this to provide a lasting legacy for the University,” he continued. Martina Lewis added, “We have such a small amount of time on this Earth. We want to leave something behind.”

During the event, guests had the opportunity to tour the facilities, mingle and discuss the new initiatives, and even interact with a video conferencing robot, the latest in pharmacy care technology.

Lewis Center Avaltroni and robot

School of Pharmacy Dean Michael Alvaltroni shows off the school's new video conferencing robot, used to facilitate interactions between pharmacists and patients.

“The future of health care is a blank slate,” said Avaltroni, “and we want to put our footprint and name on it.”

There are four key areas of excellence within the new Center: the Sterile Compounding Training Center, a Global Alliance of Pharmacists, a Virtual Care and Wellness Initiative, and Higher Education in the Medical Home.

“The new model (of health care) is built around health outcomes,” Avaltroni said. “It will be changed by those we educate and those who innovate. The goal is to utilize the Center as a catalyst and center point, to bring students and educators together to change the world from here — globally, locally and at the University.”

Already, he said, the pharmacy school has started to form partnerships with Atlantic Health System and Barnabas Health, to give students hands-on experience with virtual care and other wellness initiatives.

“Thank you Dan and Martina for your support and your generosity. You have helped to shape this University, to make it a better place for learning and to ensure that FDU is a leader in education, and that our students have the financial means — through scholarships — to attend,” said University President Sheldon Drucker.