When world-renowned fashion designer Donna Karan’s husband, Stephan Weiss, was dying of lung cancer in 2001, she was distressed that there was no place in the New York hospital that offered yoga and other meditative therapies to ease his suffering. The experience galvanized her into action.
“Much was missing from Stephan’s care,” Karan said. “He needed the knowledge of traditional Western medicine. But he also needed healing that can only be accessed from the heart and through the spirit. Out of my frustrations with the treatment at even the best medical facilities, a commitment was born. I am determined to do what I can to create a new model for wellness and patient care in hospitals and to address the needs of patients’ loved ones and the staff who are on the journey with them.”
Karan took a combination of Eastern healing techniques that she found effective and developed them into an actual program that has expanded to hospitals across the country. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, part of the UCLA Health System, is the first hospital on the West Coast to adopt the program.