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Marci Matthews endows chair for excellence in Burn Care at Akron Children’s Hospital with $1 million gift

04-04-2022 (Akron, Ohio )

A newly created endowed chair for excellence in burn care was made possible by a $1 million gift from Marci M. Matthews.

The Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair for Excellence in Burn Care is one of few endowed chairs of its kind in the world. The chair will be held by Dr. Anjay Khandelwal. This endowed chair not only recognizes Akron Children’s Hospital’s leadership in burn care, but will also give Dr. Khandelwal and his staff opportunities to present and collaborate with other institutions.

Dr. Khandelwal specializes in acute and reconstructive burn surgery and surgical critical care and currently serves as the director of the Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute at Akron Children’s. The excellent work and stories of recovery from the unit inspired Matthews, a long-time donor, to establish the endowed chair.

“We have a unique and beautiful burn program at Akron Children’s,” said Matthews. “Our burn specialists can transform lives. Now it’s time to bring what we do to the world.”

The sharing of knowledge and advancing treatments made possible through this gift is crucial, because 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.

Akron Children’s Hospital is one of only two pediatric hospitals in the nation that treats adult burn patients, allowing this endowed chair to affect a broader audience than other hospital departments. The Burn Institute team provides care ranging from pre-injury prevention efforts, acute care, complex reconstruction and complete rehabilitation. 

Matthews’ family foundation also gave a $2 million gift to renovate the Burn Center. She is hopeful that the renovated space and endowed chair will help attract and retain new talent to the Burn Institute team.

“The endowed chair for excellence in burn care will allow us to advance innovative patient care and collaboration while helping us recruit and retain the highest quality burn care providers,” said Chris Gessner, Akron Children’s CEO. “Marci is known for her generosity and commitment to Akron Children’s. Her investment in burn care is a testament to the hospital and community, and her kindness will have a lasting impact on our hospital and the burn patients we serve.”