Dr. Robert Mendenhall makes lead gift to Endowed Chair of Cardiology
Philanthropy that changes lives
Pioneers connected by heart
It’s as if they were destined to meet: one an innovator in the construction industry, the other a world-recognized expert in the management of arrhythmia; one a patent holder in asphalt recycling, the other a pioneer in cardiac ablation procedures. The two first met as patient and doctor at California Pacific Medical Center, now they are joined through Robert Mendenhall’s lead gift to the Distinguished Endowed Chair of Cardiology, to be held by Andrea Natale, M.D., FACC, FHRS, senior medical director of CPMC’s Atrial Fibrillation and Arrhythmia Program.
Says Dr. Mendenhall, “when I had a stroke in 2001, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. And though I was told I needed a pacemaker, I did not want one. I was referred to and treated by Dr. Natale, and now I am fully recovered. He is a true pioneer, and I am proud to support his work as both friend and admirer.”
Robert Mendenhall: from asphalt recycling to the Inventors Hall of Fame
Dr. Mendenhall was raised on a dry farm in Alberta, Canada, and moved to Utah as a young boy. There he worked his first job, at the tender age of eight, in his grandfather’s and father’s construction company. At the age of 16 he acquired his pilot’s license, and when Dr. Mendenhall started Las Vegas Paving Corporation in 1958, he used his airplane to travel to jobs in remote areas, logging more than 7,000 hours of airtime. The company’s research and development in recycling asphalt pavements in the 1970s led to 47 patents (with more pending), and four decades of work benefiting construction, the environment, the state of Nevada, and his family of employees. For his pioneering work he has been called “the grandfather of asphalt recycling,” has been named to the Nevada Inventors Hall of Fame, and holds an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Dr. Andrea Natale: meets the challenge of complex cardiovascular cures
Meanwhile, Dr. Natale began shaping his career as an arrhythmia expert while a medical student in Florence and Rome, Italy, before crossing the Atlantic for clinical training in cardiology in Houston, Texas; Ontario, Canada; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He, too, worked for a time in aviation, as head of the cardiovascular physiopathology section at the Italian Air Force’s Aerospace Research Centre. He then returned to the States to work as director of electrophysiology programs at Duke, the University of Kentucky, and Cleveland Clinic; as a professor at Duke and Stanford; and then as a member of the CPMC team.
Says Dr. Natale, “Meeting the challenge of curing patients with complex cardiovascular problems is most rewarding to me. Dr. Mendenhall’s gift will allow me to dedicate more time to research and the training of clinic fellows — critical focuses in advancing our knowledge and translating it to bedside care. For this we are deeply grateful.”
Because life is precious, we encourage giving to life, and a lifetime of giving.
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