$1M gift supports Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program

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A gift of $1 million from Raymond and Jane Cracchiolo to the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program will aid researchers’ efforts to study bipolar disorder and provide hope to the many people living with it worldwide.

In particular, the gift will be instrumental in launching the Bipolar Learning Community, an innovative cross-campus collaboration to implement a learning health approach to the research and care of people affected by bipolar disorder.

Photo of Raymond and Jane Cracchiolo
Raymond and Jane Cracchiolo. (Photo courtesy of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program)

A key element of the learning health approach is the learning cycle that engages community stakeholders in setting treatment priorities and provides enhanced communication between patient, family, researcher and provider.

This learning cycle leads to more efficient ways to translate knowledge from research into practice, speeding the use of new discoveries in the clinic.

The Prechter Program, part of Michigan Medicine, has partnered with the U-M Learning Health Sciences to create the Bipolar Learning Community, with an initial focus on the care of individuals after a hospitalization for a manic episode. 

Bipolar disorder affects millions of people around the world and touches all races, genders, cultures and economic classes. In the United States, 2.8% of the population lives with bipolar disorder. Yet, despite its prevalence and the impact this illness has on individuals and families, bipolar disorder research is notably underfunded, and the condition remains largely misunderstood. 

“The experience of languishing is very common after hospitalization for a manic episode,” said Melvin McInnis, director of the Prechter Program. “Even though the symptoms and behaviors associated with the manic phase have been successfully treated, around two-thirds of individuals recovering from a mania experience major difficulties getting their lives back on track.

“We simply must solve these challenges, and we will need the commitment and energy of our communities to learn how to do this. The generous gift from the Cracchiolo family begins a new era of research and care for people and families with bipolar.” 

How the Cracchiolos came to make this gift demonstrates the value of community outreach and partnerships as we work to improve care for bipolar disorder. 

On May 16, 2021, Wayne State University fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha Delta Nu hosted a walkathon to benefit the Prechter Program. During the event, Raymond Cracchiolo, there to support his grandson Vincent, a fraternity member, connected with the Prechter Program members and learned more about the program’s mission and research.

Energized by the fraternity’s effort, Cracchiolo added his gift, which will allow the Prechter Program to lead the way in instituting a Bipolar Learning Community. 

“Everything has a beginning. Bipolar is our race to overcome,” he said. “Having experienced this disease by our entire family 24 hours a day, one will not stand by. I was challenged by this awesome endeavor and am now affiliated with the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program by supporting their talented staff in this pursuit.”

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