By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The hottest star on television is helping Lutheran Medical Center raise awareness of mental health issues. Lena Dunham, whose celebrity status shot into the stratosphere with her hit HBO show “Girls,” will be one of the honorees at Lutheran HealthCare annual dinner dance on May 18 at Chelsea Piers. Lutheran HealthCare is the umbrella organization that runs the Sunset Park hospital as well as clinics and senior citizens housing complexes all over southern Brooklyn.
The dinner dance will celebrate the health system's 130 year history of providing health care to Brooklyn residents, according to Lutheran HealthCare officials. The event is also expected to raise funds for an expanded mental health center in the Emergency Department at Lutheran Medical Center, at 150 55th St. Officials are candid about their hopes that Dunham’s appearance at the dinner dance will help raise funds for the mental health center, as well as raise awareness of the importance of treatment options for those with mental health issues.
"Girls," a critically acclaimed series that Dunham created, writes, produces, and stars in, contains many episodes dealing with the main character's mental health struggles. The show depicts the lives and loves a group of 20-somethings in New York.
In a statement, Dunham said she’s ready to help. "As long as we keep talking about mental health in a revealing, honest and truthful manner we'll continue to break down barriers and stigmas,” Dunham stated.
“This project is a perfect fit since Lutheran is a cornerstone of Brooklyn; the borough where I work and live," Dunham stated.
"Ms. Dunham has a special appreciation of the human condition, as evidenced in the themes and characters on her show," said Dr. Bradford Goff, chairman of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Sciences. "But more importantly, she has a special interest in supporting mental health care and services. There's energy and momentum around the topic and we need to take full advantage of that. Conditions like depression, OCD, anxiety and other disorders, are everyday realities for many people," Goff said.
Along with Dunham, the 2013 honorees include Kevin Lobo, president and CEO, Stryker Corporation, and (posthumously) Dr. Pierre G. Zalzal, senior attending neurologist. These honorees will receive the Sister Elisabeth Fedde Medal of Service, named after the founder of Lutheran HealthCare.
The dinner dance is the primary fundraiser for Lutheran HealthCare. Michael Gargiulo, anchor of WNBC, will be the emcee. A silent auction featuring items such as jewelry, tickets to sporting events, gift certificates to spas and restaurants, artwork, and one-of-a-kind experiences. Top auction prizes will include a visit to the set of "Girls," tickets to see the Grammy Award winning band Fun perform live, and a personalized tour of the Jacques Torres Chocolate Factory.
For more information, visit www.LutheranDinnerDance.org.