Hoffman Center advancing work in genetics, epidemiology

Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman

For decades Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman were champions of UT Southwestern Medical Center and its commitment to medical excellence and dedication to discovery. The estate of Mrs. Hoffman recently completed a $5 million gift to Southwestern Medical Foundation for The Hoffman Family Center in Genetics and Epidemiology.

“This gift from the Hoffman family will provide essential resources for UT Southwestern faculty in these propitious and rapidly developing fields of medicine,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “I look forward to seeing how their generosity will fuel future progress and discoveries.”

Dr. Richard Hoffman, the couple’s surviving son and a nationally acclaimed epidemiologist, said, “Several years ago my mother and I had lunch with Dr. Kern Wildenthal, then President of UT Southwestern. We brainstormed how the family could continue helping UT Southwestern and wanted to choose an area of focus that could help find new treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and leukemia.”

In 2006, his father Edmund Hoffman died of Alzheimer’s and Robert Hoffman, Dr. Hoffman’s brother, died of leukemia. “I remember suggesting that we do something related to epidemiology. From there the Center’s focus emerged,” Dr. Hoffman recalled.

Studying genetic factors to determine disease in populations is a concept UT Southwestern has long embraced. In 1999, the Dallas Heart Study was established with a stated goal of learning more about the hidden causes of heart disease and finding new treatments. Dr. Helen Hobbs, lead for the Dallas Heart Study and Director of the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at UT Southwestern, is a beneficiary of the Hoffman Family Center.

“Adelyn Hoffman’s gift supports the Dallas Heart Study, a multi-ethnic population-based sample of Dallas County,” said Dr. Hobbs, 2016 recipient of the prestigious Breakthrough Prize and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at UT Southwestern. “In this population we continue to find new genetic differences that confer susceptibility, and resistance, to both heart disease and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes. The funding allows us to probe the biological basis of cardiovascular disease for citizens in Dallas. I have no doubt this gift will impact our community in major ways.”

The Hoffmans were married for 61 years, until Mr. Hoffman’s death in 2006. Together their support to UT Southwestern resulted in establishing the Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman Distinguished Chair in Medical Science, held by Dr. Willis Maddrey, Assistant to the President, and the Hoffman Endowment for Excellence in Osteoporosis Research.

In 1999, the couple was recognized with Southwestern Medical Foundation’s highest honor, the Charles Cameron Sprague Community Service Award. Sprague Awards recognize individuals who have provided significant support to the fields of health care, medical education, and medical research.

Mr. Hoffman was a director of several Dallas-based companies, including Trinity Industries and Lomas Corp. With the help of son Robert Hoffman, Coca-Cola Bottling Group (Southwest) became the fifth-largest soft drink bottler in the United States. Mr. Hoffman chaired the American Heart Association committee that selected Dallas as the organization’s national headquarters and served for many years on Southwestern Medical Foundation’s Board, a role Dr. Hoffman has embraced as a current member of the Board of Trustees.

“The Foundation is grateful for the tremendous support the Hoffman family has provided over many years, through their insights, leadership, and visionary philanthropy,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “The Hoffmans’ latest gift to fund DNA-based epidemiological research, will play a critical role in unlocking today’s mysteries in public health. It is a profound and far-sighted gift for our future.”
A beloved civic leader, Mrs. Hoffman was a benefactor of numerous organizations, including Goodwill Industries of Dallas, the Visiting Nurse Association, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and many others.

“It feels significant to complete this gift,” said Dr. Hoffman, a 1975 graduate of UT Southwestern Medical School. “My parent’s involvement with UT Southwestern goes back to the 1950s and their initial volunteerism with the Dallas Heart Association. They knew many faculty members, who in turn became mentors for me as a medical student. Even after I left Dallas for further training, their interest and involvement with UT Southwestern continued. I will always be proud of their contributions to the school and the field of medicine.”

Dr. Hobbs holds the Eugene McDermott Distinguished Chair for the Study of Human Growth and Development, the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Chair in Developmental Biology, and the 1995 Dallas Heart Ball Chair in Cardiology Research.

Dr. Maddrey holds the Arnold N. and Carol S. Ablon Professorship in Biomedical Science.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.