A Commitment to Help
After more than thirty years of community volunteer work, Rae Merhar decided it was time to retire to the golf course and enjoy the company of her son and grandchild. But her commitment to helping people remained strong. When a friend invited her to an event at Scripps Research, her interest was piqued, and when she learned about the work being conducted by the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research, she knew she wanted to do what she could to support it by making a gift.
“I was immediately taken with George and Barb,” Rae says of Dr. George Koob and Dr. Barbara Mason, co-directors of the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research. “I was so impressed by how dedicated they are and how strongly they believe in their work.”
The Pearson Center was founded in 2003 with the goal of complementing and reinforcing traditional treatments of alcoholism and addiction by focusing on the physiological changes in the brain that drive excessive drinking and drug use and create vulnerability to relapse. Researchers are studying the viability of using new compounds, designed at Scripps Research and elsewhere, to modulate the neurological effects of alcohol, reduce excessive intake, and prevent relapse by normalizing the brain during an alcoholic's recovery. The prospects for enhancing traditional treatment of alcoholism, addiction, and relapse through pharmaceuticals have never been more promising.
When asked about her support of the Pearson Center, Rae says, “We’re just plain average folks who felt there was a need. Scripps Research is doing wonderful work in a number of areas; our particular choice was the Pearson Center because we feel that the work that they’re doing is just so important to giving people hope that they can get help.”
The work of Scripps Research’s world-renowned researchers is fueled by the personal stories and the passion of people like Rae. During these difficult economic times, the support of individuals is all the more crucial to Scripps Research’s search for tomorrow’s medical advances.