Oakwood Healthcare System receives historic donation from local philanthropist



May 21, 2014


Contact: Heidi Hedquist



Oakwood Healthcare System receives historic donation from local philanthropist

Combined donation of $7.2 million has immediate impact

System’s single-largest gift expands important Women’s Health Services



DEARBORN- Oakwood Healthcare System (OHS) this week announced its receipt of a combined $7.2 million gift from Southeast Michigan businesswoman and philanthropist Karen Colina Wilson Smithbauer to expand its Women’s Health Services—one of its largest donations from a single donor in its 60-plus year history.


Smithbauer, who has contributed to numerous Oakwood women’s and children’s programs, is now adding more than $5 million to her previous gifts, which will all go towards expanding the system’s Women Health Services in efforts to improve the overall health and lives of thousands of women across Southeast Michigan and the Downriver community. 


Specifically, Smithbauer’s $7.2 million donation will transform Oakwood’s Women’s Health Services by:


·       Enhancing system-wide coordination of a variety of traditional Oakwood Women Health Services including breast and cardiac care


·       Doubling the size of the Karen Colina Wilson Smithbauer Breast Care Center at Oakwood Hospital-Southshore, including securing dedicated equipment and technology and many new amenities


·       Creating the Karen Colina Wilson Smithbauer pavilion at Southshore – where twice as many heart and vascular services will be available to the downriver community


·       Opening a multi-disciplinary center in Dearborn with women’s health services all under one roof.


·       Making a nurse navigator accessible to each woman newly-diagnosed with breast cancer throughout our six breast care centers - to personally help them navigate care and treatment at a time when they are most vulnerable.


·       Expanding Oakwood women-focused community education, outreach and screenings







“We are thrilled that this gift moves us toward realizing Karen’s vision of involving and empowering women through all the seasons of their lives while guiding them in their journey to health and well-being,” said Carla O’Malley, President and Executive Director of the Oakwood Healthcare Foundation.   “Her investment will impact generations of women throughout the region, throughout our lives and beyond.  We are honored to have her passionate voice representing women’s health at Oakwood,” added O’Malley.


“As a breast cancer survivor, I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the table,” said Karen Colina Wilson Smithbauer.  “And as a woman I know that my health care needs today are very different from 10 and 20 years ago and will also become different in the future.  As I’ve become more involved, I’ve asked myself: ‘What can I do so another woman doesn’t have to face what I’ve faced,’” added Smithbauer.


Smithbauer is a nationally-respected business leader turned philanthropist who built a storied career in beverage distribution.  She is the former CEO of Central Beer Distributors, Inc. and is the founder of the Karen Colina Wilson Foundation which focuses on women's and children's causes.


A longtime resident of the Downriver community and an 11-year breast cancer survivor, Smithbauer has been a longtime supporter of Oakwood through both her gifts and service. She is chair of Oakwood’s Women’s Advisory Committee, which was created to pave the way for transformational delivery of healthcare to women across Southeast Michigan and also serves on the Oakwood Foundation Board.  In addition, she currently sits on the Board of Trustees of Monroe Bank and Trust Financial Corporation, The Wright Foundation for Transformational Leadership, and the First Step Domestic Violence program.  She is also a member of the Council of Michigan Foundations.



About Oakwood Healthcare


Oakwood Healthcare specializes in providing comprehensive healthcare with a personal touch to the residents of southeast Michigan. We believe Patients Come First. That’s why our mission is to provide excellence in care, healing and health to the individuals and communities we serve – something we’ve been doing since 1953. We are home to four hospitals and we’re the second largest employer in suburban Wayne County with more than 10,000 employees, physicians and volunteers.  To learn more about us, visit www.oakwood.org. 




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