Philanthropists Pam and Alan Trefler donated $500,000 to aid the Mass General Emergency Department’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

Inspired by the leadership of David Brown, MD, chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine, philanthropists Pam and Alan Trefler have made not one but two donations of $250,000 to support Massachusetts General Hospital’s COVID-19 response efforts. The Treflers hope the $500,000 commitment made through their Trefler Foundation will encourage others to support caregivers on the front lines.

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated across the state, the Treflers searched for an immediate way to help those on the front lines.

“Our hospital is grateful to have the steadfast support of Pam, Alan and the Trefler Foundation, especially during this critical time,” says Peter L. Slavin, MD, Mass General president. “Their transformative generosity is being put to immediate use as we serve our community on the front lines of the pandemic.”

Stepping Up for Mass General

The Treflers have generously supported Mass General for the past 15 years in many areas including gastrointestinal cancer research, surgery, community health and patient navigation initiatives at the Mass General Cancer Center and the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center. They also have a deep personal connection to the hospital. Pam is a two-time cancer survivor.

Pam Trefler

Last year the Treflers made their first gift to the Mass General Emergency Department, committing $100,000 to fund a pilot program that streamlines CT scans for patients with emergency conditions. As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated across the state, the Treflers searched for an immediate way to help those on the front lines. After receiving an email update from Dr. Brown outlining the challenges facing his team in the Emergency Department, they took action – donating $250,000 to directly support his efforts.

“Especially at the beginning of this pandemic, everyone’s worried about our health care systems and ERs getting overwhelmed,” says Pam. “Mass General is the best place to have an impact.”

A Second Gift

When Dr. Brown reached out to thank the Treflers for their generous gift, he updated them on the obstacles still ahead for the Emergency Department. Even in the face of a difficult situation, Pam was struck by his resilient tone. “He shared something I’d never considered before — when you go into emergency medicine, this is actually what you sign up for – you might not be expecting a pandemic, but this is what you’ve trained for,” says Pam. “I thought, I really have to give more to help them.” That night, the Treflers decided to contribute another $250,000 to Emergency Medicine.

“My hope is that this gift will allow Dr. Brown and his team to do the things they might not be able to do otherwise. Anything that people can donate will help.”

Their donation couldn’t have been timelier. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of Pam and Alan Trefler, who through their incredible support of Mass General Emergency Medicine, are standing shoulder to shoulder with us as we manage the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic response from the very front lines,” says Dr. Brown.

Encouraging the Community

Pam and Alan were particularly moved by Mass General’s Emergency Department’s commitment to caring for patients from vulnerable communities like Chelsea that are disproportionally affected by COVID-19. “The disparity is huge, and the ER is seeing a lot of these patients,” says Pam. “I’m hoping our support will benefit the community and those who need it most.”

David Brown, MD
David Brown, MD

The Trefler Foundation is well known for donating to organizations that work with low-income communities in and around Boston and has made several grants to support city-wide pandemic response initiatives. But Pam believes that their gift to Mass General will have the most impact, and encourages others to join her: “My hope is that this gift will allow Dr. Brown and his team to do the things they might not be able to do otherwise. Anything that people can donate will help.”

To learn how you can join the Treflers in supporting Mass General’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.