Tom Cody (left) and Michael Fisher (second from right). 

Tom Cody (left), chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Michael Fisher (second from right), president and CEO, visit with friends in the community at the 2013 Cincinnati Walks for Kids. 

Dear Friends,

As we write this letter in early October, we’re thinking back to this past weekend, when the Cincinnati community gathered for our annual Cincinnati Walks for Kids. The walk is one of our favorite events of the year.

It is always both a celebration of community partnership and a poignant reminder of the way Cincinnati Children’s touches the lives of children and their families.

This year’s walk had the biggest turnout ever. Some families walked in gratitude for a child who is now healthy, thanks to care at Cincinnati Children’s. Others participated because their children are undergoing months or years of treatment.

Still others walked in memory of a child who didn’t make it − finding solace by raising funds for research that might prevent other families from suffering such a terrible loss. Side-by-side with them were friends, neighbors, hospital employees, and teams from businesses and community organizations.

We love being part of this event, where we see thousands of patient families and supporters in one place. It’s humbling. It’s inspiring. Every participant has a story, a reason for being there. Their stories fuel our passion to pursue Cincinnati Children’s vision to be the leader in improving child health.

One way we improve health outcomes is by offering specialized services for children fighting complex diseases. Our Liver Tumor Program, featured in this report, is one of many such programs. It is achieving superior outcomes, making it possible for children to prevail over a rare type of liver cancer. (> See story.)

Research discoveries with the potential to improve child health are another path to achieving our vision. This report highlights two innovative studies.

Research by Peggy Hostetter, MD, will help doctors predict which children are at risk for a rare and life-threatening complication of a common bone infection. (> See story.)

Work by John Pestian, PhD, will help emergency room staff identify children at risk for attempting suicide. These new predictive tools will allow doctors to intervene sooner and more effectively, saving lives. (> See story.)

Over the last year, we’ve focused more and more on the word “health” in our vision statement. Our vision and the changing environment in which hospitals operate today challenge us to think more creatively than ever about our responsibility to keep kids healthy.

That challenge led to several exciting initiatives featured in this report.

You’ll read about the Health Network by Cincinnati Children’s, a newly launched network of hospital and community partners working together with families to improve the health of children in our region.  (> See story.)

And we are very proud to be playing a leadership role in promising new community and statewide efforts to prevent premature birth, the number one cause of infant mortality. (> See story.)

Of course, we can’t do any of this alone. To the friends who walked with us, or supported us through charitable gifts during the year, thank you for sharing the passion for improving child health. Together we are making a difference today . . . and tomorrow.