The Van Kampen Conference Center

On Oct. 28, the Van Kampen Conference Center officially opened, changing the way cardiology and cardiovascular surgery fellows learn and the way Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (Stritch) faculty members teach.

The new center offers a significantly improved meeting space, state-of-the art audio-visual equipment, head-lamp cameras that record surgeries, and more work stations with computer hook-ups to accommodate staff and fellows. Art work for the conference room also is included in the tribute gift.

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New head-lamp camera equipment that can be worn by surgeons is of particular note. Before, when surgery was performed, only surgery staff in the operating room could view the procedure. With a head-lamp camera to record the surgery, these complex procedures will be able to be viewed and pre-viewed by cardiovascular surgery staff and fellows, enhancing both post-graduate education and surgical care. Ultimately, a library of surgery videos will be available for these same audiences.

“The generosity of the Van Kampen family will greatly enhance our learning environment and quality of care, helping the medical center recruit and retain the best physicians in the field,” said David Wilber, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Divison of Cardiology.

World-class heart care and hope brought Judith and Robert Van Kampen to Loyola University Health System (Loyola). Because of Loyola’s expert, compassionate care, the Van Kampen’s turned their personal struggle into advancements for the future of medicine.

After battling heart disease for three years, Robert Van Kampen was among the thousands of Americans whose only alternative for treatment was a heart transplant. At any given time, approximately 3,500 to 4,000 patients are waiting for a heart or heart-lung transplant. Patients may wait months for a transplant, and more than 25 percent do not live long enough to receive one.

According to U.S.News & World Report, Loyola is the top ranked heart hospital in Illinois, boasting some of the highest volumes and best outcomes for heart surgery. With more than 600 heart transplants performed since 1984, the most in Illinois, Loyola has one of the most established and active programs in the United States.

Robert Van Kampen was scheduled for a heart transplant, despite the obstacles facing a transplant patient. “Loyola was willing to give Bob (Van Kampen) a chance when others wouldn’t," said his son-in-law, Scott Pierre. The wait proved too long, and Mr. Van Kampen passed away in October 1999.

His family was so pleased with Loyola’s responsiveness and care during Robert’s waiting period that they contributed $550,000 toward the creation of the Van Kampen Conference Center in the Cardiovascular Institute.

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A Gift of Family Hope