Sept. 8-14, 2000
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Kluge Foundation supports U.Va. stress reduction program

By Suzanne Morris

In the fast pace of today's world, stress affects us in many ways. How we respond to stress may contribute to our health and well being. The John W. Kluge Foundation on behalf of Maria T. Kluge and John W. Kluge has committed $500,000 to support the University of Virginia Health System's Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program. The gift will allow the program to expand and act as a foundation for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to alternative and complementary medicine at U.Va.

"I have seen firsthand the benefits of this program," said Maria Kluge, known as Tussi. "The program works and can have a profound, positive, lifelong effect. I am very excited about the commitment the University of Virginia Health System has made to promote and support this important program."

Sponsored by the departments of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine, the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program crosses clinical areas to aid patients, families and U.Va. faculty and staff experiencing stress. Currently, the program offers an eight-week course with intensive training in meditation, yoga, breathing, mild stretching and relaxation exercises. The classes have been found to help those with anxiety, depression and chronic pain. The course is directed by its founder Allie Rudolph, associate professor of family medicine, and Dr. Matt Goodman, associate professor of internal medicine.

"The classes have been well received so far, and we look forward to expanding the program," Rudolph said. "We feel the constrictive reaction to stress can contribute to illness and disease, whereas a mindful response promotes wellness. In our classes, we teach expanding awareness of our attitudes and beliefs as a means of shifting from reaction to response on a physiological level."

Rudolph explained she first met Kluge at a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher's training program, led by Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Together, they brought the program to U.Va.

The Kluge Foundation is a family foundation created by Albemarle philanthropist John Kluge, husband of Tussi Kluge. Over the years, the foundation has made a number of gifts to health care and wellness initiatives at U.Va. For information on the Stress Reduction Course, call 924-1622.


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