THE UAB Comprehensive

Cancer Center

recently launched

a philanthropic

initiative to honor

the late Richard

Elkus, M.D., who

lost his battle with

pancreatic cancer

in 2005.

His wife, Helene Elkus, and their children,

Mark Elkus, Cathy Elkus Zedd and Tracy

Elkus Lurey, are leading the effort to estab-

lish the Richard A. Elkus, M.D., Eminent

Scholars Program in GI Oncology Research

at UAB. The initiative will raise $2 million

to develop novel treatments for GI cancers,

accelerate the application of these discoveries

into the clinical care of patients and reduce

the number of deaths caused by GI cancers

through preventive medical technology and

lifestyle modification.

Dr. Elkus was a devoted and loving hus-

band and father, as well as a compassionate

and caring physician. Originally born in

Ohio, he moved to the South for his educa-

tion, receiving his bachelor’s degree from

Vanderbilt University and his medical degree

from the University of Tennessee. After

residency training, he served as a lieutenant

commander and staff orthopedist in the U.S.

Navy for two years. For the next 30 years, he

practiced orthopedic surgery at St. Vincent’s

and Children’s Hospitals in Birmingham.

Dr. Elkus was an active volunteer for civic

and religious organizations, including the

Birmingham Historical Society, the Men’s

Committee National Council of Christians

and Jews, Temple Emanu-El and the

Birmingham Kiwanis Club.

The Elkus Eminent Scholars Program is

part of the Cancer Center’s recently launched

GI Oncology Research and Patient Care

Initiative, which aims to raise $5.5 million to

advance GI cancer research and patient care

at UAB by expanding the team of experts

and accelerating scientific discovery that will

lead to better treatments and earlier detection


The Elkus family has made the lead gift

and continues to raise funds to implement

pilot research studies and multidisciplinary

research projects that create new partnerships

between scientists and centers across campus.

“[Cancer Center director] Dr. Ed Partridge

convinced us of the

importance of fund-

ing research and fel-

lowships. My family

and I believe that the

UAB Comprehensive

Cancer Center, given

the needed resources,

is positioned to

become the nation’s

premier research insti-

tution for GI cancers,”

Helene Elkus says.

“We want to help

UAB reach this goal,

and we are investing

personally in this effort and encourage others

to do so as well.”

Especially important to the Elkus family

is the opportunity to have this innovative,

cutting-edge research and clinical care here

at the Cancer Center and available to the

citizens of Alabama, eliminating the need to

travel for patients diagnosed with GI cancer.

“This is a huge opportunity for UAB and

our entire community,” Helene Elkus says.

“We hope our efforts can help the Cancer

Center prevent other families from suffering

such a devastating loss as we experienced.”

For more information, or to make a gift, please contact Katy Smith at (205) 934-1603 or


l quick takes

26 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R

Cancer Center Launches Initiative to Honor Richard Elkus B Y J O S H T I L L

Pictured, left to right: Cathy Elkus Zedd, Helene Elkus, Mark Elkus and Tracy

Elkus Lurey.

Dr. Richard Elkus