When crisis hits, one truth stands firm at Akron Children’s Hospital: Our patients still need us.
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reached the community, Akron Children’s immediately went into action to expand the hospital’s current telehealth efforts, increasing remote access to health care for patients and their families.
Now through the generosity of hospital donor and friend Marci Matthews, a $1 million gift will create the Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth. Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, this endowed chair will help strengthen telehealth services while moving the hospital’s efforts in this aspect of health care forward.
The Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth will give Akron Children’s the unique ability to access a broad range of technologies and services to improve access to patient care as well as the ability to expand health care training.
After the announcement of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order earlier this year, Akron Children’s experienced an exponential increase in telehealth appointments. Between March and April, the total number of completed telehealth visits increased by 88 percent.
“The recent events in our world reinforced to me the need to support efforts to give patients and their families access to medical treatment without barriers,” said Matthews. “I appreciated how Akron Children’s responded quickly to expand telehealth services to its patients and families. This rapid transformation of care delivery led me to support the advancements of telehealth by establishing this endowed chair.”
Telehealth utilizes technology to connect patients – and their families – to health care services from the comfort of their home. Through tools such as secure video consultations and emails, the hospital provides a variety of clinical services, including well-check and subspecialty visits. This delivery of care is cost-effective, reduces exposure to viruses and minimizes wait times. Another benefit of telehealth is that the hospital is able to facilitate staff training and continuing medical education when in-person training may not be an option.
The Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth will be held by Sarah Rush, MD, chief medical information officer; director, neuro-oncology; pediatric oncologist at Akron Children’s.
“We believe this to be the first telehealth endowed chair in the nation, and we are so grateful to Marci for this generous gift,” said Grace Wakulchik, president and CEO of Akron Children’s.
Endowed chairs are critical to the pursuit of new and innovative treatments for patients. An endowment provides a permanent, annual source of income through the interest earned on its investment. This income, in turn, allows a chair holder to pursue new advancements in their respective fields.
“Our medical landscape is changing rapidly,” said Wakulchik. “The creation of the Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth will ensure Akron Children’s remains at the forefront of this innovative way to treat our patients and expand access to learning and training.”
Make a permanent mark on pediatric care
Help Akron Children’s pursue the very best care for our patients. An endowment creates a continuous source of income for our medical staff to seek out the advancements that will propel pediatric care – and our hospital – forward. Contact Megan Hopper, senior director of principal giving, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 330-543-8340 to learn more about creating an endowment at Akron Children’s.