At a private reception at Norwalk Hospital on November 16, Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) announced the creation of the Christian J. Trefz Family Endowed Chair in Global Health, the first of its kind in the State of Connecticut and one of only a few hospital-based endowed global health chairs in the nation.
At the reception, Majid Sadigh, MD, an internationally recognized global health expert and the director of WCHN’s Global Health Program, was inducted as the Endowed Chair’s inaugural recipient.
Established with a generous gift from Christian J. and Eva W. Trefz of Westport, the Endowed Chair advances the work of WCHN’s Global Health Program, launched in 2012 to provide medical residents, students and faculty with hands-on learning opportunities to experience global healthcare systems and to better understand public health issues and the impact of globalization on vulnerable populations.
The Christian J. Trefz Family Endowed Chair in Global Health is the eighth endowed chair at WCHN, the parent organization for Norwalk, Danbury and New Milford Hospitals and affiliated organizations.
“This Endowed Chair in Global Health promotes an environment of learning and innovation that serves the needs of our very diverse residents,” said Christian Trefz, vice chairman of the Trefz Corporation and owner of a number of McDonald’s restaurants in Connecticut. “We believe that access to culturally compassionate care provided by local experts is so important for thriving residents and communities.”
A member of the Norwalk Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, Christian Trefz and his wife Eva are longtime Norwalk Hospital donors who previously named the Hospital’s new Christian J. and Eva W. Trefz Lobby. Trefz has received notable recognition for his commitment to the community, including McDonald’s prestigious Golden Arch Award, which recognizes significant community involvement and business achievement. Trefz and his brother Ernest opened their first McDonald’s restaurant in 1964 in Waterbury, Conn.
The WCHN Global Health Program has expanded to include collaborative training opportunities for students and faculty at Norwalk Hospital as well as the University of Vermont College of Medicine, for which WCHN serves as a full branch campus. The Global Health Program currently offers clinical training opportunities at partner sites in five countries, including the Dominican Republic, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Russia and Vietnam.
“In an increasingly global community, global health programs are known to attract the best and brightest practitioners, especially in the primary care field,” said John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of WCHN. “Global health training can reconnect healthcare providers to the passion that drives our commitment to serve others. We are deeply grateful to the Trefz family for its exceptional generosity and commitment to this vitally important work. The benefit to our hospitals and community is truly immeasurable.”
About Western Connecticut Health Network
Western Connecticut Health Network is the region’s premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is now anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. The continuum of care offered includes numerous medical practices and sub-specialties across the region, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Danbury Hospital & New Milford Hospital Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and other affiliates.