It’s a night when UT Health physicians trade their white coats for aprons and their stethoscopes for sombreros. And instead of giving advice, they take orders from their patients.
The sixth annual “From the Heart” Celebrity Wait Night and fundraiser dinner will take place Monday, Aug. 15, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Loma Linda Restaurant, 10400 Airport Highway in Swanton.Dr. Thomas Schwann, UTMC chief of staff and professor and interim chair of surgery, has participated in the event from the start and is known for his creative costuming.
“The food and drinks are great, the people are great, and the costumes are great,” he said. “They are a fun way to make the night memorable as we celebrate and raise money for a great cause.”
Al Mundt, whose family owns Loma Linda, initiated the event as a way to give back to the hospital he credits with saving his life. Mundt had a heart transplant in 1998 at the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital.
“Al has been a strong supporter of UT Heart and Vascular Center ever since,” said Dr. Samer Khouri, associate chief of cardiology. “He and his family are very grateful for the care he received and have been very generous in helping to promote cardiac health in our community.”
Funds raised by the celebrity waiter event support the Mundt Cardiology Endowment Fund at the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences. Established in 2008, the endowment supports new and innovative programs in advanced cardiac care at UTMC.
Khouri was the 2015 recipient of the Adela and Alfred Mundt Endowed Professorship in Transplantation Cardiology. His expertise is the diagnosis of diastolic heart failure and pulmonary hypertension and the interaction between the kidney and the heart.
“Receiving the endowment from the Mundt family and the University is a great honor,” Khouri said. “It is important to the work we are doing to provide quality medical care to cardiac patients.”
Khouri said he feels every major metro area should have a medical facility that can provide specialized cardiovascular care such as left ventricular assist devices (LVADs).
“Every year a half a million people are diagnosed with heart failure and only 3,000 transplants are performed,” he said. “The LVAD can save lives, serve as a bridge to transplant until a donor is found, and improve the quality of life for heart failure patients.”
Joining Schwann and Khouri as celebrity servers will be Dan Barbee, UTMC interim chief executive officer; Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president of clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Dr. Laura Murphy, professor of medicine; Dr. Mark Bonnell, UTMC cardiothoracic surgeon; and Dr. Mark Burket, UTMC cardiologist. Tricia Cullop and Tod Kowalczyk, UT women’s and men’s basketball coaches, and Mike O’Brien, vice president and director of athletics, also will serve patrons that evening.
“We will have a raffle with prizes ranging from suite seats at a UT Rocket football game up to $5,000 cash,” Schwann said. “With only 2,500 tickets available, the odds of winning a prize are really very good.”
Tickets are $10 each and will be available for purchase leading up to and during the event. Prize winners need not be present to win.
“Celebrity Wait Night is something that we really look forward to ever year,” Khouri said. “It’s a fun event with a lot of laughs, and the patients enjoy giving their doctors orders for an evening.”
For more information about the event and to purchase raffle tickets, contact Jennifer Schaefer, major gifts officer, at 419.383.5071or Jeanie Kunzer, manager of Loma Linda Restaurant, at 419.865.5455.