Camille and Larry Ruvo

Photo: Marty Carrick

Some folks pride themselves on thinking outside the box, but Camille and Larry Ruvo take it a step further. “We don’t have a box,” Larry says. “For us, it’s about breaking paradigms.” Camille and Larry drive the philanthropy that created and sustains the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. 

Smiling couple outside woman brown hair green top man blue suit striped tie

We have a bunch of questions for both of you, but first let’s talk about Angie and Lou Ruvo. What can you tell us about your parents? 

LARRY: We moved to Las Vegas in 1955. They had many friends through the restaurant, which they built from a little pizza stand into a major establishment.1 Frank Sinatra and many other entertainers ate there. My parents were very involved in the community, which helped a lot as we got started in philanthropy. 

Interestingly, “hospital” and “hospitality” both come from the same Latin root word.2 Do you see any overlap between the healthcare industry and the hospitality industry? 

LARRY: One hundred percent! In addition to our superb doctors and staff, what makes the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health different is the hospitality. When a patient arrives, our caregivers escort them to their suite. Not room. Suite. And when a patient departs, they get a flower with a nice little note. It’s all part of what Camille and I want to create: a place of dignity for patients as well as caregivers.

CAMILLE: Hospitality spills over into our fundraising events, too. It’s important for Larry and me to give people a warm and friendly atmosphere, to continuously bring donors back.

Camille, you coined the phrase: “Before the cure, there are caregivers.” Explain, please.

CAMILLE: With any disease, until we have a cure, there has to be a caregiver. Just the other day, a friend of ours had a procedure done. His wife said, “I have to be with him.” Whether it’s a significant other, a child, a parent — the importance of the people who are taking care of loved ones has to be highlighted.

LARRY: When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they told us: “Take care of the caregiver.” The caregiver often dies before the patient because they’re likely to experience substantial emotional, financial and physical difficulties.

CAMILLE: Cleveland Clinic really pointed this out to me. My grandmother had a heart valve replaced there. While she was in surgery, they walked me through every single step of what to expect. I’m not a medical professional by any means, but it made me realize the important role that I was playing in her recovery. 

The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health marks its 15th anniversary this year.3 Looking back, which highlights stand out? 

LARRY: All of the innovation, starting with the remarkable Frank Gehry design for our building. Our Professional Athletes Brain Health Study is very innovative.4 We started with professional fighters, then added other sports. As far as I’m aware, this is the only place on Earth with an endowed chair to study the health of dementia caregivers, which Camille and I funded.5 There have been other innovations, too, including the opening of the nation’s first and only Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) Prevention Center; our designations as a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, a CurePSP Center of Care and a National Multiple Sclerosis Society Partner in MS Care; and our participation in national research consortia.

CAMILLE: We’re also so proud of the free programs that we’ve been able to offer for patients and their caregivers, from art programs to music therapy to yoga. As soon as you get a diagnosis, your lifestyle changes. And not just your lifestyle — your caregiver’s lifestyle, too. These programs help provide a softer transition. 

To support the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the Power of Love gala6 continues to pack ’em in. How did it begin? 

LARRY: It was 1995, the one-year anniversary of my father’s passing. Lou loved food and wine. Some friends suggested that we should get together and tell Lou Ruvo stories. We went to Spago — Wolfgang Puck7 knew my dad. A longtime friend of ours, John Paul DeJoria,8 gave a $5,000 gift in memory of my father. Camille and I were stunned. We hosted our first benefit dinner and raised a lot of money. The rest is history.

You’ve reimagined everything from the patient experience to fundraising events. It seems like neither of you is particularly interested in maintaining the status quo.

LARRY: Absolutely right.

CAMILLE: It’s a lot of trial and error. We have great imaginations, too.

Larry, you’ve said: “Never underestimate the power of philanthropy.” Tell us more.

LARRY: Without philanthropy, we wouldn’t exist. Philanthropy is the fuel that keeps the engine running. Philanthropy is the wood that keeps the fire going.

How about both of you – what keeps you going?

CAMILLE: We want to do even better for our community of Las Vegas and our state of Nevada. Neurology is just one aspect of healthcare. We would love nothing more than to be part of the momentum of getting better healthcare across the board here. That’s the fire in the belly.

LARRY: We’ve raised the bar for neurological treatment, and it’s all because of Cleveland Clinic. We’re grateful for that. What keeps us going? The faces of the patients and their families. Camille and I get unbelievable letters from them. And without question, philanthropy allows us to carry on. 


  1. The Venetian Ristorante was a Las Vegas landmark. The Ruvo family sold it after Lou Ruvo’s passing in 1994.
  2. The Latin noun “hospes” means “guest” as well as “host.” 
  3. The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health opened in July 2009. 
  4. By examining the effects of repeated head impacts, the study hopes to guide new measures for improving brain health among athletes and others. 
  5. The Angie Ruvo Endowed Caregiving Chair, named in honor of Larry’s late mother, is held by clinical psychologist Lucille Carriere, PhD. 
  6. The 27th annual Power of Love is set for May 10, 2024. 
  7. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck of Spago fame oversees the Power of Love menu. 
  8. Philanthropist John Paul DeJoria received the Community Leadership Award at the 2023 Power of Love.