Wittcoff Nursing Fellowship to Support UCLA Stroke Rescue Program

Donors Laura and Mark Wittcoff, far right, are shown with the Mobile Stroke Unit team at a Torrance fire station. *Photo by Megan Witt.

UCLA has received $1 million from Mark and Laura Wittcoff to establish the Marjorie Scherck and Raymond Wittcoff Nursing Fellowship in Stroke Care Innovation. The fellowship will support nursing staff for the UCLA Arline and Henry Gluck Stroke Rescue Program, which operates a mobile stroke unit that provides early diagnosis and care when patients are being transported to a hospital.

The fellowship honors two of the Witcoffs’ family members who were committed advocates for nursing care as supporters of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where Mark’s father, Raymond Wittcoff, was chairman of the board at Washington University Medical Center. Marjorie Scherck, Laura’s grandmother, was a major benefactor of the hospital who took Laura to volunteer in the gift shop.

“Thanks to our beloved family members, we’re very lucky to be able to give, and it gives us great satisfaction to know that this gift memorializing them will advance UCLA’s mission of research, education and service,” Mark Wittcoff said. “We’re proud to be assisting UCLA which helps all people with the same high level of care.”

The nursing fellowship marks the Wittcoffs’ second major gift to UCLA, following a 2019 contribution to support the stroke rescue program and other UCLA Health priorities. The Wittcoffs also volunteer as co-chairs of the program’s council of advocates, which is raising additional funds and recruiting community leaders to be ambassadors for the program.

In addition, the Wittcoffs serve on the board of the UCLA Health System. That position came about because of an invitation from Henry Gluck, and Mark Wittcoff said it was Gluck’s friendship and mentorship that inspired the couple’s most recent gift.

“We consider it a responsibility to raise much more than we give,” he said. “What better way to honor and continue Henry and Arline’s inspiring work than by ensuring that this life-saving program grows and lasts into the future.”

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and one of the top causes of death in the U.S. Because people’s ability to recover from a stroke often depends on how quickly they receive treatment, UCLA Health launched the Gluck Stroke RescueProgram in September 2017.

Staffed by a vascular neurologist, critical care nurse, paramedic and CT technologist, the ambulance was California’s first mobile stroke unit. In partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Emergency Medical Services and Department of Health Services, the program enables early testing and initial treatment while patients are transported to the most appropriate stroke center.

For further information, please contact Ellen Haddigan-Durgun at ehaddigan@mednet.ucla.edu, or visit


Reprinted with permission from UCLA Health.

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