Throughout Akron Children’s Hospital’s history, donors have helped revolutionize the way the hospital cares for patients. From funding the construction of state-of-the-art medical facilities to helping create first-of-their kind ventures like the Celeste Myers Dental Clinic, their belief in the hospital’s mission has helped enhance quality, improve outcomes and transform lives.
Now, a new endeavor offers an opportunity for donors to make this kind of impact again through three recently designated centers of excellence.
This investment by the hospital is bolstering the commitment to becoming known for highly specialized, compassionate care for children in the community, state, country and beyond.
After a rigorous review of 12 programs, there will be further investment in the hospital’s areas of greatest strength by assembling an exceptionally high concentration of expertise in three particular fields of medicine – ones that have already achieved outstanding success and garnered national or international recognition.
By doing so, comprehensive, interdisciplinary care can be delivered while offering enhanced support and outcomes to children and their families. And donor support will play a crucial role.
The Spine Center
Akron Children’s will establish itself as a regional and national leader in the treatment of pediatric patients with spinal abnormalities – from scoliosis to spinal injuries. Its goal: to provide the highest-quality pediatric spine health care, foster outstanding educational programs and research, and promote a culture of innovation and leadership.
“Our team will combine experts in neurosurgery and orthopedics who focus specifically on pediatric spine patients,” said Todd Ritzman, MD, FAAOS, FAOA, chair of the department of orthopedic surgery, director of the spine program and pediatric orthopedic surgeon. “This approach can greatly improve the quality of care that’s delivered.”
Longtime friends make groundbreaking gift toward Spine Center
Mark and Cathy Clark have been strong Akron Children’s supporters and generous donors for more than 35 years. Their involvement began when Cathy became a member of the Women’s Board of Akron Children’s Hospital and it grew from there. Together they have participated in several fundraising opportunities, most recently to the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center. Last winter, the Clarks heard about various hospital future ventures. They were particularly impressed with Dr. Ritzman and his vision of a Spine Center at our hospital. When they learned about the mission of the Spine Center, they decided to help – making a generous $500,000 gift toward its establishment.
The Clarks had this to say:
“When we saw the video of the extraordinary examples of young lives being transformed and normalized by the spinal team, we knew we wanted to help the Spine Center become a reality. The center has the potential to not only enhance the lives of children in Akron but other counties, states and eventually the world. It is impressive to now have an opportunity to expand these services.
“We feel blessed and honored to be able to support Akron Children’s through the establishment of the Spine Center. We love Akron, and we know the center will be an asset to our community and help to broaden Akron Children’s outreach in patient care and collaborative partnerships.”
The Mitochondrial Center
Imagine receiving a diagnosis for which there is no cure and a lack of access to knowledgeable physicians. For those with mitochondrial disease – a group of individual disorders in which the body’s cells have problems producing energy and cause a multitude of health issues – it’s a reality.
The specialists at the Mitochondrial Center will work relentlessly to change this, transforming the center into a world leader for clinical evaluation, treatment, emotional support, education and research for mitochondrial disease.
At its helm is Bruce Cohen, MD, FAAN, director of the NeuroDevelopmental Science Center, interim vice president and medical director of the Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute, and pediatric neurologist, a worldwide authority in the clinical care and research methods for mitochondrial disease.
“There is a shortage of physicians nationwide who have extensive training in mitochondrial disorders,” said Dr. Cohen. “One of our center’s goals is to increase access to care for affected children and their families, perform rapid evaluations while implementing therapeutic treatment plans, continuing our work in drug development for treatments, and participating in other research efforts centered within the Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute and with our academic collaborators.”
The Vision Center
The Vision Center brings together a wide range of stakeholders – from physician and non-physician providers to patient advocates and third-party payors – to transform the practice of Ophthalmology medicine. It plans to incorporate and support the use of cutting-edge technology and therapies to control and cure rare or inherited visual system diseases in infants and children.
Renowned pediatric ophthalmologist Richard Hertle, MD, FAAO, FACS, FAAP, director of pediatric ophthalmology, Dr. Boomer and Jill Burnstine Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology, and pediatric ophthalmologist, will lead the new center.
“Visual impairment impacts all aspects of a young person’s life, from development to emotional well-being to education. And it shapes the life they lead as adults,” said Dr. Hertle. “Through our center of excellence, we’ll have the structure and advancements to help restore the vision of even more children in novel and cutting-edge ways.”
Bolstering the center’s establishment is a nearly $600,000 bequest gift from the late Cynthia Miller. After an explosion during combat in the Vietnam War left her husband, Jack, blind, Cynthia decided to focus their resources on helping children impacted by blindness. This gift from Cynthia’s estate will create a legacy in Jack’s honor and advance the work of the Vision Center.
By building on their strengths, these centers will enhance quality, outcomes, and experiences for impacted children and their families at Akron Children’s. Join us as we embark on this journey.