Leaders of great institutions know that success comes not from dwelling on past or even current achievements, but from anticipating the challenges ahead.

photo of the President and Board. 

From left: Nancy Eddy, PhD, Research Chair; Thomas Cody, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Michael Fisher, President and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s

So it was with Col. William Cooper Procter when he donated $2.5 million in the early 1930s – a great sum of money for the time – to launch the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation. He was thinking not only of how research could serve the children of that time, but how it could continue to meet the needs of generations to come.

In this year’s annual report, you will read about the groundbreaking work taking place in more than 50 research divisions here at Cincinnati Children’s. You will learn about discoveries that dig deeper than DNA to tease out secrets of human development and disease; about technologies that can detect the precise levels of medication coursing through a child with cancer; about child-sized artificial hearts, lab-grown organelles and tiny devices that change how bones grow.

Most of these advances were unimaginable in Procter’s time. Many more amazing discoveries will emerge in the years to come. But one concept has not changed in the past 82 years. Col. Procter wisely wanted to ensure that his generous gift was being put to its intended use. And so do we.

No other pediatric academic research center has a self-review process quite like this.


The scientific review process that began with Procter’s gift has become one of the most important, respected and accepted methods we use to assure that our research is of the highest caliber. What has become known as the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) review measures our research efforts against our own strategic goals as well as the ever-rising standards of excellence in the medical marketplace. No other pediatric academic research center has a self-review process quite like this.

We offer our heartfelt thanks to the Division Directors at Cincinnati Children’s, and their teams, for the work they do to prepare for SAC reviews. We also offer our deepest gratitude to all the reviewers, especially those from outside our organization, who share their time and expertise in this process.

This long-established commitment to open inquiry, collaborative discovery and ongoing quality improvement has been a major factor behind the growth of each of our divisions, and of this great institution. We think Col. Procter would be quite proud of the return on his investment.

In 2014, in honor of Col. Procter’s lasting influence, Cincinnati Children’s plans to rename its research tower known as “Location S” as the William Cooper Procter Research Pavilion.