Alzheimer's Research Initiative Early Totals Show $3 Million Pledged Toward Goal

Date Announced for Initiative’s Celebration Event, the 2019 An Evening in Orange


The early phase of an initiative to raise money for Alzheimer’s research has already resulted in more than $3 million in commitments from donors hoping for an eventual cure for the sixth most deadly disease in the United States, officials with the effort announced. The Alzheimer’s Research Initiative is a fundraising effort to increase research capabilities at The Pat Summitt Clinic at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. www.utmedicalcenter.or

“It is overwhelming to think about the millions of families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease,” said Amy Miles, chair of the Alzheimer’s Research Initiative. “It’s comforting to know that great people from the East Tennessee region and across the nation are pulling together with the common goal of bringing more funding for research to lead to a cure for the disease. It is a great demonstration of the teamwork inspired by coach Pat Summitt. It seems so fitting that the campaign will grow the research efforts at the clinic that bears her name.”

The goal of the fundraising initiative, according to Miles, is to raise at least $5 million for the research endeavors conducted by the team at the clinic named for the late Pat Summitt. The legendary basketball coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball team led eight teams to national championships. Summitt’s public announcement of her battle with Alzheimer’s led to significant awareness of the disease and a national discussion about the need for advancing care and research.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center, which owns and operates The Pat Summitt Clinic, officially opened the clinic in January of 2017, in partnership with The Pat Summitt Foundation. The clinic was opened to fulfill Summitt’s vision to have a place in East Tennessee where patients, families, caregivers, and leading medical experts would work collaboratively to improve care and support, educate future physicians and clinicians, and conduct ground-breaking research.

“While our knowledge and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has grown exponentially over the past two decades, many critical questions remain unanswered and the cause of the disease remains elusive,” said Dr. Roberto Fernandez, medical director of The Pat Summitt Clinic. “Through the research initiative and with the active participation of patients, caregivers, and many other individuals who are so generously willing to take part in our research studies, we hope to expand our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms responsible for Alzheimer’s, develop new tools for early detection, and make significant contributions to the ultimate goal of finding a cure.”

The number of Alzheimer’s cases in the nation is expected to more than triple by the year 2050, reaching in excess of 16 million impacted individuals and families. There are currently an estimated 5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease. The fundraising initiative will provide for significant expansion of the multi-disciplinary Alzheimer’s research being conducted at the facility.

The clinic, the first and only of its kind in the region, serves more than 3,500 patients in East Tennessee. That number is expected to increase to approximately 6,000 within five years.

The Alzheimer’s Research Initiative will culminate with the medical center’s signature event, An Evening In Orange. The date for the event is set for Sept. 28, 2019 at Lakeshore Park in Knoxville.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Research Initiative, contact The University of Tennessee Medical Center Development Office at (865) 305-6611 or via email at 

About The University of Tennessee Medical Center

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, the region’s only hospital to achieve status as a Magnet® recognized organization, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. The University of Tennessee Medical Center, a 625-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The medical center, the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at