Dauten Family

The Dauten family has lent its support, its vision, and its name to the Dauten Family Center, allowing us to pursue our mission of improving the lives of individuals with bipolar disorder.

Kent and Liz Dauten have a deeply-rooted history of philanthropy in the health sciences. Kent grew up in Champaign, IL as the son of a business professor father and a student housing entrepreneur mother, and Liz is from South Portland, ME where her father was a radiologist and her mother an artist. They met while students at Dartmouth College and were married after Liz graduated with a degree in psychology and Kent received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. After starting his career in the venture capital field, Kent co-founded the Chicago private equity investment firm Keystone Capital in 1994, and currently serves as its chairman. Liz worked at advertising firm J. Walter Thompson before devoting full time to raising their family and volunteering in the community, most recently as a board member of the NorthShore University HealthSystem Auxiliary and as Co-Chair of the American Craft Exposition. They both recently served as Co-Chairs of the Dartmouth College Fund, for which they received the Mandel Society award for visionary leadership. Kent is also an active volunteer as a board member at Northwestern Medicine and as the chair of the board of trustees of the Museum of Science and Industry. Kent and Liz are very proud of their four children Jenna, Mandy, Ben and Kit.

At the opening of the Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation, Kent and Liz Dauten shared reflections that emphasized the great need for new treatments of bipolar disorder. Presented as a “Top Ten List” in a nod to one of their favorite segments from the Late Show, their remarks are reprinted below:

Top 10 Reasons Why the World Needs The Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation

  1. There is no known cure for the lifelong condition of Bipolar Disorder, only treatments which are more art and trial-and-error guesswork than science.
  2. The last major drug discovery specific to treating Bipolar Disorder occurred in 1948 when an Australian researcher accidentally discovered that Lithium is an effective mood stabilizer, and it is still considered the gold standard almost 70 years later despite its limitations.
  3. Most of the leading mood stabilizing drugs for Bipolar Disorder have significant side effects like gastrointestinal distress/diarrhea, rapid and severe weight gain, rashes, tremors, and other side effects which often lead to medication non-compliance, further complicating treatment.
  4. The manic phase of Bipolar Disorder often makes patients feel so good, even euphoric, that they stop taking their medications. Compliance then suffers, as can their savings accounts, personal relationships and jobs during this phase.
  5. There is no medical test yet to predict or confirm whether an individual will develop or has Bipolar Disorder, so you just have to wait for the peculiar and dangerous behavioral symptoms to present in order to diagnose it. The length of time from a person’s first Bipolar symptoms to correct diagnosis and treatment typically ranges from 3 ½ to 10 years.
  6. The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can range from debilitating depression to euphoric mania to extreme psychosis. To an outsider, someone living with Bipolar Disorder may also be incorrectly perceived at times as being unmotivated, apathetic and even lazy.
  7. Bipolar Disorder episodes can cause individuals to drop out of life for months or more at a time due to extended hospitalization and the search for customized medication regimens, sacrificing schooling, jobs, and friendships along the way.
  8. Although it may be improving, Bipolar Disorder is still such a stigmatized mental illness that individuals and their families are reluctant to speak about it in public (if at all), and often have to cope with it alone rather than with social support like other diseases.
  9. Although with most other illnesses you “have” them, with Bipolar Disorder you “are” the disease—A person can have cancer but is bipolar. Even worse, while other diseases can kill you, with Bipolar Disorder you are perceived as killing yourself with the high risk of suicide.
  10. Over 6 million people in the United States alone suffer from this devastating and life-altering illness—we can and need to do better!