Tuesday, February 27, 2018 12:00 AM

​Bob Smittcamp family gifts $10 million for neurosciences at Community

The Robert (Bob) Smittcamp family of Fresno has donated $10 million to advance neurosciences at Community Medical Centers.

Combined with a 2016 gift, the Smittcamp family contributions to the hospital system total more than $11 million. The earlier gift helped expand Community’s neuroscience program, remodel the neuroscience intensive care unit at Community Regional Medical Center, and provide specialized stroke training to the nursing staff.

“We are impressed with the ambitious vision and leadership of Community Medical Centers and their rapid growth over the last decade,” Smittcamp said. “However, additional growth and recruitment of world-class neurosurgeons is still required to ensure the success of this service line. I am hoping this new gift will accelerate the hospital’s plans in this critical service area that affects so many Valley families.”

Bob Smittcamp is Chairman and CEO of Lyons Magnus in Fresno, an international food and beverage manufacturing company. He is also co-owner of Wawona Packing Company and a long-time San Joaquin Valley resident. The Smittcamp family is well known, not only for its business success, but for political and community leadership at local and national levels.

“I’ve become knowledgeable about Community Medical Centers over the past decade and concluded that it’s the charity where I can make the biggest difference, for the most people, for the greatest number of years,” Smittcamp said. “This is the Valley’s main hospital system, and I hope many others will join me in helping to grow its capabilities.”

Gift will help establish the Central California Neuroscience Institute
Hospital officials say Smittcamp’s gift will help establish the Central California Neuroscience Institute at Community Regional Medical Center as a leader in neurological specialties. Community seeks to create a seamless patient-care experience for those who suffer from neurological conditions, eliminating the need for patients to travel outside the area.

“Bob is a remarkable individual, and I’m honored he chose Community as the recipient of his confidence and generosity,” said Community President and CEO Tim Joslin.

“He understands the value of the yield returned by improving the healthcare status of this region and also how it will help the Valley’s economic status,” Joslin said. “He also knows how important it is to have top healthcare right here, rather than having to travel 3 or 4 hours to get it — especially when it’s a critical situation. This gift will allow us to continue bringing the latest technology here, continue with groundbreaking research, and attract top experts so Valley families can get the best care close to home.”

Katie Zenovich, Community’s vice president for corporate development, said, “We are so grateful for Bob. His leadership in philanthropy will help us do much more to save and improve lives for decades to come. And he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s studied us and knows a lot about Community’s current needs and long-term vision for efficient, regional healthcare.”

Community provides the only comprehensive neuroscience center in the region, with expert neurosurgeons and neurologists specializing in treating brain and spine injuries, illness, cancers and malformations. Nearly half the brain-cancer surgeries in the central San Joaquin Valley are performed at Community Regional, hospital officials said.

Community Regional is the only hospital in central California to receive a “Center of Excellence” designation in neuroscience and the only hospital to offer continuous neurological and neurosurgical coverage, 24 hours a day.

Maggie Furrow reported this story. She can be reached at medwatchtoday@communitymedical.org.