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Parkes Family creates endowed professorship at School of Medicine and Dentistry

The Mary Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy and Pulmonary Care at UR Medicine, named for the late Mary Parkes, has expanded its care and research, officials said.

The Walter & Carmina Mary Parkes Family Endowed Professorship at the UR’s School of Medicine and Dentistry has been formed, thanks to the Parkes family, officials said.

“URMC’s partnership with the Parkes family is essential to the success of clinical, research and education programs designed to improve asthma care,” said Mark Taubman M.D., CEO of URMC and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, in a statement. “Their support will serve as a lasting tribute and will further enable the innovative work being done in pulmonary diseases.”

The family has committed $1.5 million.

“It was our family’s dream to honor the memory of our daughter with the center. Now, establishing a professorship allows us to make it everlasting,” said Walter Parkes, chairman of O’Connell Electric Co.

The first Parkes Family Professor is Steve Georgas M.D., a physician-scientist. He is professor of medicine, environmental medicine, microbiology and immunology.

Georgas is studying how the lung’s immune system responds to inhaled particles, allergens and viruses, and how this process breaks down in asthma leading to potentially dangerous immune responses that can cause allergic airway inflammation and difficulty breathing, UR officials said.

The Mary Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy and Pulmonary Care is based at Red Creek Drive in Henrietta. It was established in 1995.

Mary Parkes was diagnosed with acute asthma as a girl.  She became an intensive care unit nurse before the lung disease progressed. She was hospitalized more than 50 times before her death in 1991, officials said.

“We are so happy to be working with UR Medicine because it is always moving forward and we are proud to be a part of that energy,” said Susan Parkes McNally, executive vice president and treasurer of O’Connell Electric. “We look forward to what we can continue to do and achieve in providing care for people with chronic pulmonary issues.”

Follow Kerry Feltner on Twitter: @KerryFeltner

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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