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Service and Advocacy Award
Life has improved for many undernourished infants and hundreds of
families living in unhealthy housing conditions thanks to innovative
community collaborations spearheaded by Andrew Beck, MD, MPH.
Soon after becoming an attending pediatrician in General and
Community Pediatrics in 2009, Beck led efforts to adjust our
electronic medical record system to identify children coming into
the hospital who were at higher risk of health problems due to
social and economic hardship. He helped form collaborations with
the Cincinnati Health Department and the Legal Aid Society of
Greater Cincinnati to address unhealthy housing conditions. So far,
these projects have improved 677 apartments and have identified
nearly 200 more Cincinnati families living in “sick” buildings. This
approach, now being expanded county-wide, serves as one of our
pillars in preventing asthma-related hospital readmissions.
Beck also co-led a team that found high rates of infant food
insecurity among families seen in our hospital clinics. This led to
a program involving the Freestore/Foodbank, Kroger and Procter
& Gamble that has helped more than 1,000 families with donated
infant formula, diapers and more.
Mentoring Achievement Award
Few physician-scientists at Cincinnati Children’s have demonstrated
as much passion for mentoring others as Jorge Bezerra, MD.
Beyond his own impressive body of research, Bezerra has provided
direct mentoring, career guidance, early stage grant review and useful
feedback to dozens of faculty members, fellows and graduate students.
His grant annotations and diagrams for trainees are legendary.
Bezerra is sought after because he knows what it takes to be successful
and is selfless in his mentoring. Of 35 mentees he has helped since
1995, five have become assistant professors, nine are associate
professors, two are professors and one is a chair of pediatrics.
Many more of our faculty have benefited from Bezerra’s service
on scholarship oversight and ad hoc advisory committees. In his
roles with the Digestive Health Center and the Trustee and Procter
Scholar (TAPS) program, Bezerra advances opportunities for young
investigators and provides valuable feedback to grant applicants.
In addition, he regularly serves as a scientific mentor to summer
students and other trainees.
Clinical Care Achievement Award
When the American Board of Pediatrics started its Maintenance
of Certification (MOC) Program, and the Society for Adolescent
Medicine and Health developed models for clinical quality
improvement, both cited the Center for Innovation in Chronic
Disease Care, directed by Maria Britto, MD, as the paradigm.
Britto joined Cincinnati Children’s in 1995 as an assistant
professor. She has directed the Innovation Center since 2006. She
is a nationally recognized leader in developing methods to define
and arrive at “perfect care” as well as enhancing adherence to
treatment. She is a master clinician who has been listed several
times among the “Best Doctors in America.”
She also has chaired the Chronic Care Steering Committee,
worked closely with the Anderson Center to improve health
outcomes for those with special care needs, and has served on
multiple national service and professional committees. In addition,
Britto has served as an academic and research mentor to many
fellows and junior faculty who have benefited from her keen
clinical, research, and administrative skills.
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
Cincinnati Children’s already receives $800,000 a year and is projected
to receive more than $1.3 million a year in income directly attributable to
the entrepreneurial work of Bradley Dixon, MD.
Dixon worked with the Division of Human Genetics and the Cancer and
Blood Diseases Institute to launch a comprehensive diagnostic platform
for thrombotic microangiopathies (TMA), the only test panel of its kind in
Over the past two years, Dixon has expanded the testing performed in
the Nephrology Clinical Laboratory to include ADAMTS13 activity and
inhibition, ADAMTS13 Autoantibody, Factor H Autoantibody, CH50, and
most recently Factor Bb. Specimens from patients in eight states and as
far away as Brazil are tested here.
Dixon helped develop national marketing materials for TMA testing and
has been a key expert presence for Cincinnati Children’s at national nephrology
and hematology meetings. He also has spearheaded strategic
partnerships with a pharmaceutical company, two private and university-
based laboratories and a large physician practice.
In the seven years since Robert Frenck, MD, became chair of
our Institutional Review Board (IRB), the number of protocols
to be reviewed has doubled, yet the amount of time needed to
complete reviews has fallen by more than half.
Thanks to Frenck’s leadership and organizational skills, the
median number of days needed to approve studies requiring
full committee review at Cincinnati Children’s has fallen from 90
days in 2006 to 30 in 2013, now much faster than the national
benchmark of 45 days. This is a remarkable record.
Frenck also lectures regularly about ethics in research at the
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and has delivered
invited presentations to the Association for the Accreditation of
Human Research Protection Programs and the Public Responsibility
in Medicine and Research group.
Frenck’s dedication to IRB work is all the more impressive because
he also serves as clinical director of the Division of Infectious
Diseases, associate director of the Vaccine and Treatment
Evaluation Unit, and as a full-time clinician.
Educational Achievement Award
One of the driving forces behind Cincinnati Children’s rising
national status in pediatric neurology training has been Donald
Gilbert, MD, MS. Under his leadership, applications to our Child
Neurology Residency Program have skyrocketed from 40 in 2009
to nearly 140 this year.
Gilbert is an exceptional educator who balances multiple research
projects with outstanding clinical care for children with
movement disorders. His enthusiasm for education has inspired
our residents, who recently nominated him for a national training
award given by the Child Neurology Society and the Professors
of Child Neurology.
Gilbert is a member of the Tourette Syndrome Association-USA
Medical Advisory Board and the American Academy of Pediatrics
Neurology Executive Committee. He has published several
articles and editorials that support child neurology as an independent
specialty and explore educational issues ranging from
residency initiation to the timing of board certification exams.
His passion has elevated Cincinnati Children’s as a leader in this
growing specialty field.
Clinical Care Achievement Award
Since launching the Kidney Transplant Innovation Team three
years ago, David Hooper, MD, MS, has undertaken several initiatives
that have transformed the clinical care of children after
receiving kidney transplants.
He has significantly improved processes for monitoring cholesterol,
blood pressure and 12 other measures to detect the earliest
signs of cardiovascular disease among transplant recipients.
He developed a sophisticated visit planning system that serves
as a model for the entire institution and has greatly improved
patient outcomes and family satisfaction. He also implemented
an annual evaluation system to track psychosocial and quality of
life factors in addition to medical assessments of patients.
As a result, Cincinnati Children’s kidney transplant program has
become one of the three busiest in the country. Hooper’s work
has helped our program gain national prominence for managing
newborns with highly complex conditions until they are large
enough to receive transplants. He also has expanded collaborations
between programs to improve care for children who need
Few of our faculty have demonstrated as much skill and passion
for child advocacy as Robert Kahn, MD, MPH. Thousands of
families have been helped by his work to form a wide range of
Kahn co-founded the Cincinnati Child Health-Law Partnership
(Child HeLP), which has helped nearly 2,500 low-income families
address poor housing conditions, domestic violence and
inadequate special education services.
He was influential in the launch of the Keeping Infants Nourished
and Developing (KIND) program with the Freestore/Foodbank, the
Cincinnati Health Department, Kroger and Procter & Gamble to
provide formula and other necessities to more than 1,000 infants.
He also co-founded the Collaboration to Lessen Environmental
Asthma Risks (CLEAR) program to address housing issues
detected among families of children with asthma.
Kahn leads Cincinnati Children’s Population Health Initiative,
which aims to reduce traditionally difficult community-wide health
issues such as infant mortality, asthma morbidity and unintentional
injuries. He further spreads the impact of his work through invited
speakerships, more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and
inspiring junior faculty and fellows to pursue similar careers.
Mentoring Achievement Award
Several trainees at Cincinnati Children’s have gone on to publish
in top-tier scientific journals, earn external funding and win
distinguished awards thanks in large part to the enthusiasm and
guidance of Tatiana (Tanya) Kalin, MD, PhD.
Kalin has recruited outstanding undergraduates, graduates, postdoctoral
fellows and research assistants to her laboratory, which
investigates the role of transcriptional regulators of carcinogenesis.
She is the primary mentor for three students in our Molecular
and Developmental Biology (MDB), Pathobiology and Molecular
Medicine programs and two postdoctoral fellows. She also serves
on dissertation committees at the University of Cincinnati,
where she recruits and interviews undergraduate students for the
MDB, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and Biomedical
Science Flex programs. One of her recent graduate students,
David Balli, PhD, has received the Albert J. Ryan Foundation
Fellowship and the Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship from the
University of Cincinnati.
Educational Achievement Award
The Molecular and Developmental Biology (MDB) Graduate Program
at Cincinnati Children’s was recently rated the top graduate program at
the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, an achievement
driven in part by 10 years of leadership from Tim Le Cras, PhD.
Le Cras has been closely involved in recruiting more than 100 PhD
students to Cincinnati Children’s. He has reached out to minority
populations, created an undergraduate research experience
program and more.
Most recently, Le Cras developed a new Physician-Scientist Fellowship,
funded by UC and Cincinnati Children’s, which supports the training
each year of an MD/PhD candidate devoted to pediatric disease.
LeCras has developed creative approaches to reach promising
young students, including a retooled online presence and a series of
videos that involve students describing real life in the MDB program.
These videos, which have received more than 6,000 views on
YouTube, have become a model for other recruitment efforts here.
Thanks to Le Cras’ work, more outstanding recruits are joining
Cincinnati Children’s and they are much more likely to make
important contributions to pediatric research and education.
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
From optimizing psychiatric medications to predicting suicide
risk, few faculty members at Cincinnati Children’s have done
more to transform innovative ideas into marketable products as
John Pestian, PhD, MBA.
His research has yielded more than 20 patents, patents pending,
and invention disclosures. He is one of four co-inventors
of the gene testing technology used by AssureRx, which has
performed more than 100,000 tests, employs 135 people and
generates more than $25 million in annual revenue. His recent
work to develop a suicide prediction system has been optioned
for license even before clinical trials are complete. His impressive
body of work also includes predicting neurosurgery for epilepsy
patients, neurocognitive computing and innovative ways
to process clinical text from medical records.
Pestian has authored nearly 70 peer-reviewed publications and
has been awarded more than $96 million in grants, including
Cincinnati Children’s only Third Frontier grant. That $28 million
award was used to seed more than $225 million in additional
grants and funding.
The pediatric rehabilitation fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s,
launched in 2005 by David Pruitt, MD, has developed into the
one of the most highly regarded and sought after fellowships of
its kind in the country.
In a specialty with fewer than 15 trainees per year for more than
20 available positions, our program has been able to recruit
a fellow every year. The program’s most recent visit from the
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
also resulted in a special commendation.
Pruitt founded and has chaired the National Pediatric
Rehabilitation Medicine Fellowship Director’s Annual Meeting
for the past five years. He is the sole pediatric member on
two national level residency review and program planning
committees. He also has served as an oral board examiner and
content writer for the pediatric rehabilitation subspecialty exam.
In 2011, Pruitt was the first recipient of the Pediatric
Rehabilitation and Developmental Disabilities Council
Outstanding Service Award.
Research Achievement Award
Few investigators have established themselves in their field of study
as rapidly as Daniel Starczynowski, PhD. Since joining Cincinnati Children’s
just three years ago, he has built a solid research program on
the molecular and genetic determinants of myelodysplastic syndromes
(MDS). He has also built a strong reputation for collaboration and collegiality.
Starczynowski is a rising star in MDS and leukemia research. With
a variety of grants and awards including the prestigious American
Society for Hematology Scholar Award, a Gabriel’s Angels Cancer
Foundation award and an NIH R01 grant, he has produced research
that has been published in Cancer Cell, Blood, JCI, and Leukemia. His
latest work identifies a novel molecular target in MDS, which may soon
have therapeutic impact.
He has coordinated Cincinnati Children’s successful Cancer and Blood
Diseases Institute Seminar Series for the past three years. He serves
on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute advisory panel on
MDS and several journal editorial boards.
Starczynowski is highly thought of as a colleague and a mentor. His
scientific acumen and leadership qualities can only further enhance
the national stature of our research program.
In the 18 years since she joined the Division of Molecular Cardiovascular
Biology, Katherine Yutzey, PhD, has been nothing short of a
Her numerous publications include eight manuscripts published in
2012 and another eight in 2013. She is a leading researcher in the
field of cardiac developmental biology, invited to speak at every
major cardiac development meeting worldwide. She has twice been
chosen to organize and host the International Weinstein Meeting in
She is principal investigator or project director for four NIH grants and
has continued three NIH-funded projects for more than 12 years. She
has served on 23 committees at Cincinnati Children’s over the years,
including nine currently. She directed the Molecular and Developmental
Biology graduate program for four years and she has trained 10
PhD students and seven post-doctoral fellows in her lab.
Nationally, Yutzey has served on numerous NIH study sections and
committees and in advisory roles for several foundations and private
funding agencies. She is clearly one of our top senior faculty members
and an outstanding role model for aspiring female trainees and
“Brilliant, humble, engaging, enthusiastic, passionate and a lot of fun.”
These adjectives, used by his colleagues, describe why Yi Zheng, PhD,
has been a masterful mentor to a highly successful team of investigators
in the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute.
Zheng is the Katherine Stewart Waters Endowed Chair of Experimental
Hematology and Cancer Biology and leader of our Signaling and
Drug Discovery Program. His own research has immense implications
for improved cancer treatments, yet like all great mentors, Zheng
considers his colleagues’ research just as important. This combination
of personal achievement and commitment to those around him is not
easily found in a leader.
Among his successes, Zheng instituted weekly grant meetings to
openly discuss grant aims and ideas. These meetings have improved
the likelihood of success for many funding applications and have attracted
faculty from other divisions seeking constructive feedback.
At a time when health sciences research is challenged for funding,
Zheng has fostered the collegiality that leads to successful National
Institutes of Health projects and that produces important findings
through collaboration and teamwork.
The five physicians who lead Interventional Radiology (IR) at Cincinnati Children’s demonstrate every day why effective teams are so often greater
than the sum of their parts.
The IR program is a model for efficiency, quality, safety and professionalism. The team’s wide range of skills include managing difficult vascular access,
complex thrombotic syndromes, complex brain vascular malformations, non-central nervous system vascular malformations, tissue biopsies
and life-threatening bleeding.
Most pediatric IR programs consist of one or two physicians. Having five team members with complementary talents allows our IR group to take
on seemingly insurmountable clinical challenges that likely would not be addressed effectively at other institutions. They perform these services 24
hours a day, while keeping patient safety and excellent clinical outcomes a priority.
Our entire clinical service – and most importantly, our patients - greatly benefit from the talent, expertise and responsiveness of the Interventional
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