Hoag Receives $50 Million Gift to Create One-of-a-Kind Center for Brain Health

Updated on November 6, 2023

Hoag today announced a transformational $50 million gift that will establish the Richard H. Pickup Center for Brain Health, a powerhouse of innovation that will pioneer new, whole family-centered approaches to brain health and healthy aging.

Long-time Newport Beach philanthropist Richard Pickup has made numerous gifts to Hoag throughout the years, including a $15 million gift naming the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute in 2017. This latest multi-year gift will revolutionize the advancement of brain health care and treatment for people in Orange County and beyond. 

A cornerstone of the Richard H. Pickup Center for Brain Health will be the whole-family approach to prevention, early detection and care for cognitive impairment and mental health disorders, including consideration for the ways in which these disorders impact overall physical health, erode quality of life and greatly increase health care costs for patience and their families.

“Most dementia centers are focused almost entirely on clinical research and clinical trials. While research is of crucial importance – and something that we will continue to promote at Hoag – it is only part of the picture. Until we find a cure for dementia, we need to emphasize supporting patients and their families to adapt to the day-to-day impact of dementia,” said Aaron Ritter, 

M.D., Larkin Family Endowed Chair in Integrative Brain Health and director of the Memory & Cognitive Disorders Program at the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute. “Focusing on recognizing the treatable conditions that can cause cognitive impairment, we can slow if not reverse a person’s decline. This improves the quality of life for patients and their caregivers.”

Plans are being developed for a dedicated, expanded space on the lower campus of Hoag Newport Beach to house the Richard H. Pickup Center for Brain Health.  With comprehensive services under one roof, the center will facilitate needed collaboration and be better positioned than any program in the country to provide an extensive treatment plan for patients and their families.

Demand for age-related health care is outpacing the supply nationwide. In Orange County Alzheimer’s is expected to more than double by 2040. This “silver tsunami” is forcing increasing health care utilization, rising expenses and an explosion in unpaid caregiving – friends, family members and loved ones shouldering the burden and costs of care. 

The 2023-2024 U.S. News & World Report ranked Hoag one of the top 50 hospitals in Neurology and Neurosurgery. With the support of philanthropy, Hoag has provided resources to support at-risk individuals and their family members, delivering patient and physician education, tools for brain health screening, and early assessment of memory and cognitive impairment.

With attention to screenings, early detection, treatment and advancing technology and care, the Richard H. Pickup Center for Brain Health will further develop a unique model that follows patients at each leg of their health journey, constantly striving to enhance their quality of life. 

“As we get older, our neurologic health becomes more tenuous. When it comes to the brain, the solutions aren’t always as straightforward as doing surgery. It was the wisdom of my colleague, Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D., F.A.C.R., the Ron & Sandi Simon Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair of the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute and Senior Physician Executive at Hoag, to anticipate the changing demographics and address the community’s needs and demands for the next decade,” Dr. Ritter said. “There has been progress in treatments of heart disease and cancer, but the medical community as a whole hasn’t made the same degree of improvements in treating brain related issues. The concept of approaching the brain from multiple angles and multiple approaches is innovative. We have a unique position at Hoag, with the support and resources from the community, to take a multifaceted approach to brain issues.” 

The Pickup family’s enduring generosity will benefit generations of community members, said Flynn A. Andrizzi, Ph.D., president of Hoag Hospital Foundation. “The groundbreaking work done every day at Hoag is possible through the generosity of the community we serve,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to Dick and his family for their extraordinary support.”

Like many of Hoag’s generous supporters, Mr. Pickup’s transformational gift for this center and the neurosciences in general was the result of his own family’s health history. Mr. Pickup’s brother lived with dementia before passing away.

“Hoag is making great strides in the understanding of brain health and Alzheimer’s disease. They are on the cutting edge, but there is still so much that is unknown about the brain,” Mr. Pickup said. “I trust that the passionate experts at Hoag will advance this area of medicine and give people, beyond Orange County, a place they can turn to and trust.”

Born and raised in Whittier, California, Mr. Pickup moved to Newport Beach in the 1960s where he became a successful stockbroker and personally invested in concentrated positions in small and midcap public companies. Mr. Pickup’s philosophy includes investing in public companies that have strong cash flow and solid fundamentals. This investment thesis led to the holding of select stocks for extended periods of time, in some cases decades. He was instrumental in facilitating his family’s acquisition of Balboa Bay Resort & Club and Newport Beach Country Club. Mr. Pickup laid the foundation for his son, Todd Pickup, and son-in-law, Kevin Martin, to create Eagle Four Partners, a private equity firm specializing in hospitality, golf, and lifestyle residential real estate investments. Eagle Four, its affiliates, and partners are the owners of the newly-opened Pendry Newport Beach and VEA Newport Beach.  

“Mr. Pickup’s continued partnership and generosity will leave a history-making mark on the course of treatment, innovation, and understanding of brain disease,” said Hoag President and Chief Executive Officer Robert T. Braithwaite. “We will continue recruiting and retaining the best physicians and empowering them with the tools necessary to aim higher, lead discoveries, and educate the next generation of specialists to do the same. We are deeply grateful to the Pickup family for their support and trust.”

This gift will include support for attracting national experts, the creation of endowed chairs—honored distinctions that provide program funding to physicians—which will empower the center’s leaders to explore new treatment modalities and train the next generation of specialists. 

“With the growing number of people living with memory and cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, and other mental health conditions common to aging, Hoag needs to elevate already exceptional care to the next level and integrate cognitive health with primary care, and also support chronic care conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease where patients’ cognition and mental health are impacted,” Dr. Brant-Zawadzki said. “This gift ensures long-term sustainability for decades, empowering Hoag to pioneer novel treatments, engage in the latest clinical trials and conduct research that would ensure our patients have the most advanced care available,” he said.

Hoag is one of the only health systems that combines the world-class medical expertise and innovation of an academic medical institution with the agility and personalized care of a private, not-for-profit hospital system, creating “privademic” health care. Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute offers access to groundbreaking treatment options, such as a Phase 1 Alzheimer’s vaccine clinical trial, as well as other Alzheimer’s drug infusion trials. Also available are the latest diagnostic innovative technology such as MR/PET imaging for accurate diagnosis, and advanced AI neuropsychological based testing. 

“The Richard H. Pickup Center for Brain Health will transform these tangible, patient-centered efforts into a more complete and meaningful difference – both in the landscape of Alzheimer’s disease internationally – and to the individuals and their family members whom we serve,” Dr. Ritter said.


Thanks in large part to philanthropy, Hoag has become one of the nation’s finest health care systems, serving a diverse and growing population. The Hoag Hospital Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hoag, is an integral partner in Hoag’s vision to become a trusted and nationally recognized health care leader. Through the generosity of Hoag’s dedicated donors, the Hoag Hospital Foundation’s Boldly Hoag campaign is supporting the expansion of Hoag, starting on the Irvine campus. Scheduled to be complete in 2026, the new Sun Family Campus will provide increased access to specialized services for cancer, digestive health, and women’s health for communities throughout South Orange County. For more information, visit boldlyhoag.org or hoaghospitalfoundation.org.


Hoag is a nonprofit, regional health care delivery system in Orange County, California. Delivering world-class, comprehensive, personalized care, Hoag consists of 1,800 top physicians, 15 urgent care facilities, 10 health & wellness centers, and two award-winning hospitals. Hoag offers a comprehensive blend of health care services that includes seven institutes providing specialized services in the following areas: cancerdigestive healthheart and vascularneurosciencesspinewomen’s health, and orthopedics through Hoag’s affiliate, Hoag Orthopedic Institute, which consists of an orthopedic hospital and four ambulatory surgical centers. Hoag is the highest ranked hospital in Orange County by U.S. News & World Report and the only OC hospital ranked in the Top 10 in California, as well as a designated Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). For more information, visit hoag.org.


Delivering a personalized, integrated approach using best-practice guidelines, the most advanced technology, and integration of medical specialists in the most appropriate facilities, the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute (PFNI) at Hoag provides world class care for patients with specific conditions of the brain and spine such as stroke, aneurysms and vascular malformations, brain tumors, epilepsy, movement disorders, memory and cognitive disorders, pain, minimally invasive spine surgery, multiple sclerosis, addiction medicine and sleep disorders, as well as the mind-body interface of behavioral health. Many of Hoag’s PFNI programs have received high acclaim. The Hoag Stroke Program was the first in Orange County and the second in California to be named a Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center by DNV GL Healthcare and was awarded the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement for stroke care. And as one of the first centers in the U.S. to offer the most advanced radiosurgical treatment system available, Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™, the PFNI brain tumor program is the largest in Orange County and is also among the top volume programs in the western United States. Hoag has been recognized as a designated Level 4 Comprehensive Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. The PFNI’s memory and cognitive disorders program is nationally recognized. For more information, visit hoag.org/neurosciences.

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