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The one hundred honoree: Donna  Karan and the Urban Zen Foundation

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Donna Karan and the Urban Zen Foundation

Mass General Giving

Fashion designer Donna Karan is renowned for the serene harmony of her attire, its sleek components blending into a seamless whole. As a philanthropist, she envisions bringing a new level of harmony to patient care.

Her charitable organization, the Urban Zen Foundation, has collaborated with experts in Asian healing traditions to create a model of patient-centric, integrative care that blends such practices as yoga, acupuncture and meditation within the mainstream treatment regimen of an American clinical setting.

While caring for her husband throughout his years of treatment for lung cancer, the designer appreciated the effectiveness of medicine based on state-of-the-art science but observed the tendency of practitioners to treat the disease rather than the patient.

Donna Karan’s foundation developed its Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, which brings together western and eastern approaches to healing within a collaborative model that engages the patient, family, clinicians and hospital staff.

The initiative includes a rigorous training program that certifies integrative therapists who may work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, support groups, and private practice, as well as in nursing and medical schools. The program has already been adopted in a variety of clinical settings, empowering patients to work in harmony with clinicians to lessen suffering and promote healing throughout the treatment process.