Restoration after devastation.
That’s how the team at the Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute at Akron Children’s Hospital
approaches its intense work. The stories of recovery from this unit inspired long-time donor Marci Matthews to place a greater emphasis on burn treatment. Through a $1 million gift, she established the Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair for Excellence in Burn Care – one of few endowed chairs of its kind in the world.
Anjay Khandelwal, MD, FACS, FICS, director of the Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute at Akron Children’s, will serve as the inaugural chair.
“We have a unique and beautiful burn program at Akron Children’s,” said Marci. “Our burn specialists can transform lives. Now it’s time to bring what we do to the world.”
Dr. Khandelwal shared a story that reinforces the special work done within this practice area. “When the Notre Dame Cathedral caught on fire, I remember one of the engineers who worked on the rebuild describing their sense of pride,” he said. “They explained that the opportunity to restore was a greater challenge and held more satisfaction because they took something that was destroyed and built it back up. This really resonated with me because that’s what we do with our burn patients. When you see the transformation that our patients undergo, it’s amazing.”
Taking a new stage
Marci and Dr. Khandelwal believe that the endowed chair will bring opportunities for Akron Children’s to be recognized as a leader in burn care regionally, nationally and internationally. The endowed chair
designation adds prestige and gives Dr. Khandelwal and other team members the opportunity to present to and collaborate with other institutions.
This sharing of knowledge and advancing treatments is crucial, because a burn can be one of the most devastating injuries a person can experience.
“It rocks people to the very core and affects them mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychosocially. You don’t see that with other conditions,” said Dr. Khandelwal. “It’s a field that most physicians and other allied medical staff don’t want to pursue and most hospitals don’t venture into because it’s a mammoth undertaking and requires a tremendous amount of commitment.”
Funding available through this chair will go toward caring for patients after they leave direct hospital care. The chair also will serve as a catalyst for patient support programs, including ones that will help survivors engage with one another and other patients in the hospital – a critical piece in burn survivor recovery.
Marci’s family foundation gave a $2 million gift to renovate the Burn Center. She is hopeful that the renovated space and the endowed chair will help attract and retain new talent to the Burn Center team.
“Dr. Khandelwal is a world-class, next-level specialist. It seemed to me that the more we can do to promote the importance of this program, the more equipped he will be to attract new candidates,” she said. “The best people reflect the high level of care we deliver.”
In 2021, Marci also established the Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth. She expects that the burn chair and the telehealth chair will work together to share stories from the burn unit to patients and professionals alike.
“Imagine Akron Children’s Hospital helping burn patients in other hospitals through telehealth,” she said. “The opportunities are impressive.”
Gifts that keep giving
Marci invests in endowed chairs for several reasons:
• They are focused on specific issues. She encourages donors to find their passion – a particular illness or a solution – and support or establish a chair to bring attention and additional opportunities to those areas.
• Proceeds can be used in a variety of ways. Each year, a percentage of the endowment can be used on training, new programs or new team members. Donors can watch their contributions be used creatively year after year.
• They bring attention to Akron Children’s expertise. Marci’s respect for Dr. Khandelwal’s experience and vision factored into her decision to start the chair. “We have so much talent in this hospital,” she said. “We need to turn on the spotlight.”
A little-known fact about our hospital’s Burn Center? It treats children and adults. So this endowed chair affects a broader audience than other hospital departments.
“Marci’s investment in burn care is a testament to the hospital and the community,” said Dr. Khandelwal. “This is recognition that burn care plays a vital role in our society and that burn patients require complex care. It is truly a great honor for me and my entire staff.”
Are you interested in helping the children and adults cared for in the Paul and Carol David Foundation
Burn Institute at Akron Children’s Hospital? Talk through options with Brian Hollingsworth, senior major gifts officer at Akron Children’s, by calling 330.543.3826 or email him at email@example.com.