Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's Children's Medical Research Institute Seeks More Endowed Chairs

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's Children's Medical Research Institute Seeks More Endowed Chairs

Article excerpt

More endowed chairs are needed at the Children's Medical Research Institute to meet increasing demand for services, said its executive director.

The institute has already provided 12 endowed chairs for the OU Medical Center, said Kathy McCracken, executive director at CMRI.

The endowed chairs are one of the main reasons demand has increased at The Children's Hospital at the OU Medical Center, she said. The hospital recorded 192,276 pediatric patients visits in 2005, up 48 percent from 129,852 in 2004 and up 118.7 percent from 87,912 in 2002.

Because we have brought in all of these specialists, there are more children staying in the state for treatment than in the past, McCracken said. In the past we did not have these specialists, so the patients were going to facilities in other states.

Another reason for the increase in patients is doctors from the hospital are seeing patients at satellite sites, she said.

We have eight more endowed chairs we are working on right now, McCracken said.

The mechanism that really helps us get donors for this program is the state's matching funds for endowments, she said. That is why the state matching funds are so important. They have helped us improve the health of children.

CMRI's endowed chair program was established in 1983 so children in the state could receive the best care. Specialty areas for the program include cancer, kidney disease, pediatric diabetes, cystic fibrosis, infectious disease, trauma, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, and child psychology.

Renowned physicians who serve on our National Advisory Board have visited with all of our endowed chairs and are astonished at the success we have had here in Oklahoma with recruiting some of the best pediatric researchers and specialists nationwide, McCracken said.

Terrence Stull, CMRI Patricia Price Browne Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics, works with McCracken to recruit pediatricians and researchers.

The money raised by Children's Medical Research Institute plays an invaluable role in quality health care for Oklahoma's children as well as for the generations of children to come, by bringing physicians and programs to Oklahoma to improve the quality of life for all, Stull said.

CMRI also has a campaign in progress to raise $30 million.

The National Excellence Program's $30 million goal includes $15 million for childhood cancer research and $15 million for childhood diabetes research. …

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