An image of Tina L. Cheng, MD, MPH.

A Message from Tina L. Cheng, MD, MPH

Dear Colleagues,

It is with deep gratitude and pride that I present to you our fiscal 2021 Research Annual Report.

As these pages show, the distinguished faculty of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation found many ways to drive discovery and innovation despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was truly a remarkable year.

Investigators here attracted nearly $271.3 million in sponsored program awards—a new record! Meanwhile, even though we needed to adjust our work patterns to stay safe during the pandemic, our research mission continued as staff and faculty successfully protected critical materials and maintained vital shared facilities to allow work to resume promptly upon returning to our labs.

The research achievements detailed here span a wide range of disciplines, technologies and approaches that demonstrate significant impact upon the entire spectrum of discovery: breakthrough basic science, immediately translatable clinical learnings, important population health advances, and new strides toward achieving social justice by reducing inequities in child health.

Thanks to our well-established expertise in vaccine research, Cincinnati Children’s played a central role in evaluating the safety and efficacy of the widely distributed Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and important roles in studying other COVID vaccines. While COVID-19 has claimed far too many lives, many more people have survived the pandemic thanks to those who helped the nation—and the world—rapidly develop, adopt and distribute safe and effective vaccines.

The collaborative spirit of Cincinnati Children’s shined above the pandemic discord as our colleagues shared COVID-related learnings at every level. Experts here analyzed the mechanisms of the virus’ effect on organ systems, delved into the complexities of protecting children with rare and chronic diseases, advised local schools and state health officials during fast-changing times, and focused on ways to manage immense mental health concerns stemming from the crisis.

Now, as we begin to put the pandemic behind us, we are building a fresh strategic plan for the Research Foundation. A steering committee has been working on details for the past several months. The outcome of that work has begun to be shared and will be further communicated in the weeks and months ahead.

I thank everyone who has devoted so much work to respond to COVID-19, to continue our research mission, and to plan for the future. I look forward to an even more productive year ahead.

Tina L. Cheng, MD, MPH
BK Rachford Professor
Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati
Director, Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation
Chief Medical Officer, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center