News Media Resources Publications Inside Penn Medicine Contact Us for Experts  
  System News | HUPdate | PresbyBulletin | What's New at PAH | Browse Archives  

Development News

  • Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center Awarded $200,000
  • Historic Collections Receives Grant to Help Heal “Christ Healing the Sick”
  • More Support for PAH



Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center Awarded $200,000

The Parkinson Council recently announced its annual awards for 2013. This year’s awards include a $200,000 grant to the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center (PD&MDC) at Pennsylvania Hospital to go toward outreach, education, clinical care and research.

The Parkinson Council is the Greater Philadelphia area chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation. The Council works diligently to raise funds to support Philadelphia area nonprofits and institutions dedicated to improving the life of patients, caregivers and their families, educating and promoting the search for the cause and cure for Parkinson's.

The PD&MDC is deeply grateful to the Parkinson Council for their continuing support.

Historic Collections Receives Grant to Help Heal “Christ Healing the Sick”

Pennsylvania Hospital’s Historic Collections recently received a $40,000 grant from the Stockman Family Foundation for the assessment and initial conservation efforts of “Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple,” the painting by renowned artist Benjamin West.

Completed in London in 1815, the painting has been displayed at Pennsylvania Hospital for almost 200 years, and depicts Jesus Christ receiving the sick, lame and blind. The addition of the “lunatic boy” to the painting was an added homage to the Hospital’s care of the mentally ill. Positioned between the historical and modern parts of the hospital, "Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple" provides an eloquent bridge between the hospital's past and future.

The conservation of the painting will be directed by Conservators Steven Arisoty and Mark Bockrath, recommended by Mark Tucker, Philadelphia Museum of Art Vice Chair of Conservation and Senior Conservator of American Art. Under the supervision of Stacey Peeples, the Hospital’s curator-lead archivist, the initial phase will involve removing the painting from the wall to fully assess the bulge in the left hand corner of the painting and produce a detailed conservation treatment plan. Initial assessment will take place in spring 2013.

Many of us pass the painting every day – perhaps even multiple times a day. However, how many realize what a treasure hangs here at PAH? In 1800, Benjamin West – a teacher of other American artists and historical painter to King George III – received a letter in London from the president of the Board of Managers of PAH requesting he contribute a painting to the nation’s first hospital.

In the letter, the Board of Managers pled their case: "The works of an artist which ornament the palace of his King cannot fail to honor him in his native land."

West couldn’t say no: "The subject I have chosen is analogous to the situation. It is the Redeemer of mankind extending his aid to the afflicted of all ranks and condition."

"Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple" was completed and exhibited in 1811. It caused such a stir in England, however, that officers of the British Institution pressured West to sell it as the first work to be hung in a proposed National Gallery. It was purchased for 3,000 guineas, the largest sum ever paid for a modern work.

Determined to not let down PAH Board of Managers, West wrote them and promised "a more improved plan of composition." He decided to include "a demoniac with his attendant relations" to reference the hospital's treatment of the mentally ill. The second painting was eventually completed and arrived in Philadelphia on the ship "Electra" in 1817. Accompanying the picture was a touching letter from West, who was nearing the end of his long life. It read:

"Benjamin West, Historical Painter to His Majesty George III, and the President of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, feels the highest satisfaction in informing the Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital by having finished the picture of our Savior receiving the Lame and Blind in the Temple to heal them. And Mr. West bequeaths the said picture to the Hospital in the joint names of himself and his wife, the late Elizabeth West, as their gratuitous offering and as a humble record of their patriotic affection for the State of Pennsylvania, in which they first inhaled the vital air – thus to perpetuate in her native city of Philadelphia the sacred memory of that amiable lady who was his companion in life for fifty years and three months."

The painting was first hung in its own specially constructed "Picture House" on Spruce Street where the Cathcart Building now stands. It attracted over 30,000 visitors during its first year on display. The admission fees over a 25-year-period were enough to pay for the building with $15,000 left over for general hospital funds. The painting has also been exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the hospital's former West Philadelphia Department for Mental and Nervous Diseases (the Institute), and in a former clinical amphitheatre at the hospital's 8th Street site.

More Support for PAH

Working with constituencies across Pennsylvania Hospital, the PAH Development Office assisted in securing a number of very generous grants in calendar year 2012. Grants awarded to hospital programs and the Department of Historic Collections include:

  • $750,000 from the Otto Haas Charitable Trust for palliative care at the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
  • Over $400,000 in pledges and grants from the First Hospital Foundation for various hospital programs and historic preservation efforts
  • $210,000 from the Hall Mercer Foundation for services at Hall Mercer Hospital
  • A total of $117,760 in payments from the Catharine D. Sharpe Charitable Trust in support of the Sharpe Spinal Research Laboratory
  • $80,000 representing a second payment on a $240,000 grant received from the Hanger Orthopedic Group in support of the Hanger Orthopedic Fellowship at Pennsylvania Hospital
  • $30,000 for language services in Latinas Community Health Services in the Department of Child and Family Services from the Connelly Foundation
  • $10,000 from the Garfield Duncan Diabetes Research Foundation for the Diabetes Education Center
  • $5,000 towards Pine Building renovations from the Vanguard Group Foundation
  • $5,000 from the Scholler Foundation for the purchase of a new EKG machine for the Emergency Department
  • $2,500 for the Department of Family Education from the Barra Foundation.


Do you want to keep up with all the latest news stories about Penn Medicine?

Subscribe to Penn Medicine In the News daily emails! Click here to sign up online if you're not yet receiving one of our email editions.

Or, if you've received an email edition recently, use the "update your preferences" link at the bottom of the email or contact us to subscribe.

Do you volunteer your time or provide supplies to help those in need?

We're always looking for great story ideas!

Click here to send your stories, ideas, and photos to us online now, or email them to!

Make it count! Help us keep track of all of Penn Medicine's community outreach activities by filling out the Penn Medicine CAREs reporting form. No contribution is too small to report. Visit

Browse More Stories Inside Penn Medicine


About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine , Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2011, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania