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Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Gastroenterologist Receives Prestigious Murray Davidson Award

PrintThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has awarded Robert H. Squires, M.D., director of pediatric hepatology, a program of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, its 2015 Murray Davidson Award. The award was presented on Oct. 9 at the annual meeting of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) in Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes an outstanding clinician, educator and scientist who has made significant contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition.

“I am humbled that my colleagues consider me to be deserving of an award that includes my heroes in the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition,” said Dr. Squires, also professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “While given to an individual, this very special award is a testament to my fortunate encounters with strong mentors, colleagues and patients; and to my wonderfully supportive and accomplished family.”

Dr. Squires is the principal investigator for the multi-center, multi-national National Institutes of Health-sponsored pediatric acute liver failure study group; the site principal investigator for the Childhood Liver Disease Research Network; and was the principal investigator for the Pediatric Intestinal Failure Consortium.

“Dr. Squires embodies the qualities celebrated by the Murray Davidson Award,” said Mark E. Lowe, M.D., Ph.D., director, pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, Children’s Hospital. “I can’t think of a more deserving awardee. We are fortunate to have him helping care for the children of western Pennsylvania.”

Dr. Squires served as chair of the AAP Section on Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and was an executive council member of NASPGHAN. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in major journals, 47 in the past 10 years.

“Dr. Squires is a physician with a stable internal compass that has always directed him to serve the health care needs of children in the broadest sense,” said David Keljo, M.D., Ph.D., director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Children’s Hospital. “He has consistently worked to ensure the best possible clinical care for children, displaying great character while leading the way. It was a privilege to nominate him.”

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Children’s is ranked second in the country by U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Children’s Hospital specialty ranking for pediatric gastroenterology and GI surgery. The division consists of experts in general clinical pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric hepatology, and a broad range of specialty areas, including abdominal pain, acute and chronic pancreatitis, constipation, diarrhea, eosinophilic disorders, feeding disorders, gastroesophageal reflux and esophagitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, intestinal failure (short-bowel), irritable bowel syndrome, motility disorders, Liver Clinic, liver diseases and transplantation, metabolic disorders affecting the liver or intestines, poor growth, small bowel transplantation and ulcer disease. The division also provides a full range of diagnostic procedures and treatments related to the gastrointestinal tract, liver and pancreas.

For more information on Dr. Squires and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, visit www.chp.edu.

Many Eligible Low-Income Kids with Mental Disabilities Not Getting SSI Benefits, Says IOM Report

PrintMany low-income children with mental disorders who are eligible for federal benefits may not be receiving them, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicinethat was co-authored by a researcher from the University of Pittsburgh.

The findings of “Mental Disorders and Disabilities Among Low-Income Children” also noted that the number of children who do receive assistance has been rising in accordance with overall mental health trends and rising poverty rates.

“Federal assistance programs for children with mental disabilities are being underutilized when they could help cover the costs to improve the health and wellbeing of the child and family,” said Amy Houtrow, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and pediatrics, Pitt School of Medicine, who served on the committee that authored the report. “It appears that more kids could benefit from available funding, and the medical community could help eligible families become aware of the benefits and how to apply.”

For the report, the committee examined the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides benefits to low-income people with disabilities.

The percentage of poor children who received federal disability benefits for at least one of 10 major mental disorders increased only slightly from 1.88 percent in 2004 to 2.09 percent in 2013, the report said. While 20 to 50 percent of potentially SSI-eligible kids with autism spectrum disorders received benefits; depending on state of residence, just 4 percent of potentially SSI-eligible kids with oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder; and 3 percent of those with mood disorders, received benefits.

“We also found that while the percentage of American children living in impoverished households has increased, particularly during the economic recession from 2008 to 2010,” said Dr. Houtrow, who also is chief, Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. “Further, the proportion of children who have disabilities has increased every decade since the 1960s. This means that more children should qualify for federal benefits,” she added.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Appoints NIH Immunology Researcher as Mellon Scholar

Dr. Hand is the fourth scientist in the Mellon Scholars Program, which enables promising researchers in the early stages of their careers to pursue potential breakthrough research projects in biomedicine. The scholars are selected on the basis of work that is highly innovative, delivering new expertise to the biomedical research community; likely to lead to major breakthroughs; and capable of having a long-lasting impact on the practice of medicine.

“Dr. Hand exemplifies the type of scientist we’re recruiting to the Mellon Institute at Children’s – someone who early in his or her career has already achieved very promising results, but who also has shown the potential to make an even more significant impact,” said Jay Kolls, M.D., Mellon Institute director. “Dr. Hand has distinguished himself with his work at the National Institutes of Health and we’re excited for him to continue his work at UPMC.”

Dr. Hand’s research focuses on the development and regulation of T-cell responses against microbiota and how gastrointestinal infection may “unleash” the immune response against commensal bacteria and how such responses are controlled to prevent overt pathology.

His research has many applications and may provide insight into a variety of diseases affecting children, including Crohn’s disease, environmental enteropathy and food allergies. His lab will study gastrointestinal immunity to the normal gastrointestinal tract and host-invading pathogens that may disrupt tissue stability.

Dr. Hand comes to Children’s Hospital from the Laboratory of Parasitic Disease at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in Bethesda, Md., where he has been a post-doctoral fellow since 2009.

He has been an author on numerous publications in prestigious journals including Science, Cell, Immunity, and Cell Host/Microbe, has received a National Institutes of Health transitional “K” award, and was a Food and Drug Administration Office of Dietary Supplements scholar.

Dr. Hand, who also is assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto and his doctoral degree from Yale University.

Established through a groundbreaking gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Institute is an incubator for research that challenges conventional wisdom and can lead to paradigm shifts in pediatric medicine. This kind of high-risk, high-impact investigation is not typically funded through government or conventional sources, placing Children’s Hospital in a unique realm of pediatric research centers.

Located within the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center on Children’s main campus, the Institute’s faculty and programs are a part of the Pitt School of Medicine. For more information on The Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research, please visit www.chp.edu/mellon.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation Invests in Cardiovascular Regeneration Research

PrintPITTSBURGH, Aug. 20, 2015Bernard Kühn, M.D., a scientist at the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, is being awarded a $200,000 grant from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.

The grant is being provided from the Fund for Genomic Discovery, which was raised by the Foundation’s Research and Education Program Committee. Established in 2012, the Research and Education Program Committee promotes the awareness of funding needs and priorities of physician-scientists at Children’s Hospital. Through various fundraising initiatives, the committee seeks to broaden the network of philanthropists, raise money to fund the gaps between government grants, and provide seed funding for new avenues of scientific investigation.

Through hosting two events, combined with additional fundraising efforts, more than $520,000 has been raised for research.

“This funding will allow my team to enter the field of fibrosis research, a new area of investigation for my lab. If successful, this project will provide a broadly applicable molecular-genetic blueprint for the field of cardiovascular development and for developing new drugs to reduce fibrosis in heart disease,” said Dr. Kühn, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Working directly with me on this research is Dennis Kostka, Ph.D., an expert in Developmental Biology and Computational & Systems Biology, who will offer his expertise on the computational aspects of the research.”

Dr. Kühn, also the director of research at Children’s Heart Institute, joined the faculty in September 2014, and has been focused on the unique workings of heart muscle cells. His long-term objective is to provide novel approaches and molecular targets for the treatment of heart failure, primarily by studying the mechanisms of growth and regeneration of the myocardium, the muscle tissue of the heart.

Dr. Kühn and his team of researchers are focused on cardiomyocytes, the cells of the heart muscle, and discovering ways to make them replicate and proliferate so as to enable the heart to heal itself in cases of heart failure or congenital defects.

“Dr. Kühn is one of the leading researchers in heart regeneration and this funding will give him the opportunity to further explore the growth of heart cells and the advancement of treatments for heart failure,” said David H. Perlmutter, M.D., physician-in-chief and scientific director, Children’s Hospital, and Distinguished Professor and Vira I. Heinz Endowed Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Pitt School of Medicine.

Dr. Kühn is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the American College of Cardiology’s prestigious Young Investigator Award, the Basil O’Connor Award from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association.

For more information on Dr. Kühn, please visit www.chp.edu.

Cancer Researcher at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Receives Grant from St. Baldrick’s Foundation

PrintPITTSBURGH, Aug. 6, 2015 Edward V. Prochownik, M.D., Ph.D., director of oncology research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and the Paul C. Gaffney Professor of Pediatrics, has been awarded a research grant of $100,000 from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research.

The award to Dr. Prochownik is one of 70 grants totaling more than $21.1 million nationally and internationally awarded by St. Baldrick’s in support of pediatric oncology research. These grants provide resources to institutions to conduct more research and enroll more children in ongoing clinical trials. Dr. Prochownik and his team will explore the implications of new observations of cancer cell growth.

“Cancer cells must alter their metabolism to provide the necessary energy and metabolic building blocks needed to support their rapid division,” said Dr. Prochownik, who also is professor of molecular genetics and biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “We have identified some of the key means by which the cell can control these changes. Confirming and extending these findings as we propose to do could provide novel and specific ways to interfere with this process and thus inhibit tumor growth while minimizing long-term side effects.”

Over the past year, Dr. Prochownik and his research team have developed a model of hepatoblastoma, the most common childhood liver cancer, which in advanced states is difficult to treat and requires use of drugs that can cause long-term toxicities.

“We have discovered that the mitochondria of these hepatoblastoma cells appear to be reprogrammed so as to allow them to function at maximal capacity and thus provide large amounts of energy and metabolic building blocks needed by the rapidly growing and dividing cancer cells,” explained Dr. Prochownik. “We hope that our observations at this level can be translated into new and specific ways of treating this cancer while at the same time reducing toxicity.”

This past year, three St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events were hosted in Pittsburgh, where more than 140 people “braved the shave” and raised nearly $86,000.

For more information about Dr. Prochownik, please visit www.chp.edu.

Kids May Need More Vitamin D, Pitt/Children’s Study Finds

PITTSBURGH, July 9, 2015 – Currently recommended daily dietary allowances of vitamin D may be insufficient to prevent deficiency in children, according to researchers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In a report recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, they noted that children with suboptimal vitamin D blood levels did not reach optimal levels after taking nearly twice the recommended amount of the nutrient daily for six months.

Vitamin D is important for calcium metabolism and bone health, said lead investigator and Children’s Hospital pediatrician Kumaravel Rajakumar, M.D., M.S., who also is an associate professor of pediatrics at Pitt’s School of Medicine. It is present in a few foods, milk is usually fortified with it and with enough exposure to sunlight the body naturally produces it.

“Vitamin D deficiency is common in the northeastern U.S., especially in black children whose darker skin complexions have higher amounts of melanin, preventing absorption of the ultraviolet light that’s needed to trigger vitamin D synthesis,” he explained.

Guidelines differ on adequate blood levels of vitamin D for bone health, highlighting the need for further research. Blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the best measure of vitamin D status. For example, a blood level of 20 or more nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of the vitamin is considered adequate for bone health by the Institute of Medicine, while the Endocrine Society recommends a level of 30 ng/mL for optimal bone health.

Between October and March of 2008 through 2011, the researchers randomly assigned 84 black and 73 white 8- to 14-year-old children from Pittsburgh and Kittanning, Pa., to take for six months either a daily pill of 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 or a placebo. They also performed periodic blood tests to assess their 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and other markers of bone health.

The average vitamin D level at the initial assessment of all children, and particularly black children, was suboptimal (less than 20 ng/mL), and supplementation raised their average level to above 20 ng/mL but not as high as 30 ng/mL. After six months of vitamin D supplementation in children with initial vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/mL, 39 percent remained below 20 ng/mL and only 14 percent rose above 30 ng/mL. Biomarkers of bone turnover remained unchanged.

“Our findings suggest that currently recommended daily dietary allowances of vitamin D of 600 IU may be inadequate for preventing vitamin D deficiency in children,” Dr. Rajakumar said. “It may be important to revisit these recommendations, especially since the higher dose of vitamin D used in this study was safe and did not appear to lead to any side effects.”

The team included Charity G. Moore, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Jonathan Yabes, Ph.D., Flora Olabopo, B.S., Mary Ann Haralam, M.S.N., Diane Comer, B.A., Susan Sereika, Ph.D., Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, Ph.D., and Susan L Greenspan, M.D., all of Pitt; Jaimee Bogusz, B.S., and Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D., both of Boston University School of Medicine; and Anita Nucci, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., L.D., of Georgia State University.

The project was funded by National Institutes of Health grants HD052550, DK062895, AG024827, HL112985 and RR024153; and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Anti-Rejection Drug Can Prevent Pancreatic Inflammation Triggered by Common Procedure to Remove Gallstones

PrintPITTSBURGH, July 2, 2015 – Exposure to an X-ray dye during a common procedure to treat gallstones causes some patients to develop inflammation of the pancreas, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. In a study published online in Gastroenterology, the team noted that a single dose of FK506, an anti-rejection drug typically used after organ transplantation, might be able to prevent the complication.

During the endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedure, doctors insert a fiber-optic endoscope through the mouth, esophagus, stomach and duodenum to access the bile ducts, where a gallstone might be lodged. The X-ray dye, also known as radiocontrast, is infused through a catheter so doctors can visualize the bile ducts and anything obstructing them, explained senior author and principal investigator Sohail Z. Husain, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Pitt School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital.

“Thousands of ERCP procedures are performed every year, particularly for the removal of gallstones,” Dr. Husain said. “But after the procedure, a fair number of patients develop acute pancreatitis, which is an exquisitely painful, life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Our findings provide the first explanation for why this complication occurs, namely through the signals that FK506 can block.”

The research team examined what happened to pancreatic cells in mice after they received infusions of two common radiocontrast agents. They found the agents elevated cellular calcium levels, in turn activating proteins, particularly calcineurin, involved in inflammatory pathways that cause tissue injury. Similar results were observed in experiments with human pancreatic cells. Also, mice that were genetically modified to lack calcineurin failed to develop pancreatitis after radiocontrast exposure.

Mice that were given the anti-rejection drug FK506, which is an inhibitor of calcineurin, before and after infusion of the X-ray dye also were protected from pancreatitis.

“In the future, we will test other radiocontrast agents to see if they, too, affect the same inflammatory pathways,” Dr. Husain said. “This study already sets the stage for a clinical trial to test whether calcineurin inhibitors alone or in combination with other drugs can prevent post-ERCP pancreatitis.”

The team included Shunqian Jin, Ph.D., Abrahim I. Orabi, B.S., Tianming Le, M.D., Tanveer A. Javed, B.S., Swati Sah, B.A., and John F. Eisses, M.D., Ph.D., all of the University of Pittsburgh; Rita Bottino, Ph.D., of Allegheny General Hospital; and Jeffery D. Molkentin, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati. The project was funded by National Institutes of Health grants DK083327, DK093491 and DK03002.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Named a Center of Excellence by Food Allergy Research & Education

PrintPITTSBURGH, June 29, 2015Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has been named a center of excellence by Food Allergy Research & Education, which has established the FARE Clinical Network, an initiative that aims to accelerate the development of drugs for patients with food allergies as well as improve the quality of care for this serious illness. Children’s Hospital is one of 21 centers named as inaugural members.

FARE Clinical Network members will serve as sites for clinical trials for the development of new therapeutics and will develop best practices for the care of patients with food allergies. The Network will serve as a powerful driver of collaboration to advance the field of food allergy, with member centers contributing to the development of a national food allergy patient registry and biorepositories.

“We were honored to be invited to apply for membership with the FARE Clinical Network and to receive designation as a FARE Clinical Network Center of Excellence,” said Todd D. Green, M.D., Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Children’s Hospital. “This will be a great opportunity for food-allergic patients and their families in our region and will allow us to collaborate with other top food allergy centers on maximizing the quality of care these patients receive, as well as to participate in more multicenter research studies.”

Participation in the FARE Clinical Network will ensure that Children’s remains on the forefront of efforts to improve the quality of life for food-allergic individuals as they work toward development of potential new treatments.

“We need to push for the development of drugs and other therapies to prevent life-threatening food allergy reactions, while ensuring that children and adults with food allergy receive the best care possible,” said James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., C.E.O. and chief medical officer of FARE. “To that end, FARE will direct the Clinical Network centers of excellence across the country to a common goal of ensuring that patients with food allergies have access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatments and research. We will continue to expand the number of centers to provide access to more patients. This effort is fundamental to our mission — to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies while providing them hope through the promise of new treatments.”

In addition to Children’s, the inaugural members of the FARE Clinical Network are:

  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute
  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Children’s Mercy Kansas City
  • Children’s National Health System
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital – a facility of Memorial Healthcare System
  • MassGeneral Hospital for Children
  • National Jewish Health (Denver)
  • Rady Children’s Hospital/University of California, San Diego
  • Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health
  • Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University
  • Texas Children’s Hospital Food Allergy Program, Baylor College of Medicine
  • The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • The Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center (Seattle)
  • The University of Chicago Medicine
  • UNC Food Allergy Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center Dallas

The centers of excellence selected as part of the FARE Clinical Network provide high-quality clinical and subspecialty food allergy expertise and services and are focused on applying new evidence-based knowledge to this important field. Additionally, these centers meet high standards for clinical care, teaching and clinical research.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Named One of America’s Top 10 Children’s Hospitals for Sixth Consecutive Year

PrintPITTSBURGH, June 9, 2015 – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has once again been named one of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, making this the sixth consecutive year the hospital has been listed on the Honor Roll.

Children’s Hospital ranks eighth on the magazine’s 2015-16 Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals, which was released today. Children’s also ranks in each of the 10 pediatrics specialties ranked by U.S. News.

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight the top 50 U.S. pediatric hospitals in each of 10 specialties: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and GI surgery; neonatology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology.

The hospital ranked in the top 25 in nine of the specialties, including second in gastroenterology and GI surgery; third in diabetes and endocrinology; sixth in pulmonology; and 10th in three categories: cardiology and heart surgery, neonatology, and neurology and neurosurgery.

“This recognition speaks to the talent, passion, and dedication of our physicians, nurses, staff, and volunteers,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “We are proud to have built a reputation of excellence over our 125-year history and we’re grateful to have those efforts recognized.”

The 2015-16 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings will be released online today and also will be published in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2016” guidebook, available in September.

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings open the door to an array of detailed information about each hospital’s performance.

In addition to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the other hospitals named to U.S. News’ Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals for 2015-16 are:

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
  • Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Its Foundation Celebrate 125 Years of Caring

PrintPITTSBURGH, June 4, 2015 – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC opened its doors on June 4, 1890, and today kicks off a yearlong celebration of 125 years of caring for kids.

From our beginning — a single cot endowed by Kirk LeMoyne, son of local pediatrician Frank LeMoyne, to be used for children and infants at a local hospital — to present day, Children’s Hospital has grown to become one of the world’s top pediatric hospitals with a reputation for innovation as well as superior care and successful treatment of kids with highly complex medical issues.

Children’s medical team treats rare diseases, defines new standards of care, pioneers research and treatment protocols, and provides patient- and family-centered services in a top-of-class environment. Every discovery, milestone and advancement is rooted in the same mission and supported by the same essence of community philanthropy established 125 years ago.

“Today, with 125 Years of Caring, we celebrate the tremendous work of our staff and physicians and all that they do for patients and families in the region,” said Christopher Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “We are extremely grateful for the generous community support that enables us to continue to provide the world-class care that has catapulted Children’s to the forefront of pediatric health care.”

Throughout the year, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation will carry on a campaign — “Give Kids a Chance to be Kids” — celebrating 125 years of caring and the important role of community support for the clinical and research advances at Children’s. The campaign will raise funds for patient care and research, attract a new generation of support from leading organizations and individuals throughout the region and beyond, and engage the community with a collective goal: Cures for childhood illness and diseases.

“The 125th anniversary will celebrate Children’s Hospital’s history and build momentum for what can be accomplished for our children’s children with continued community support and engagement,” said Greg Barrett, president, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. “Every gift, large or small, directly impacts the lives of children. By giving to Children’s, we truly are giving kids a chance to be kids.”

Today, Children’s officially began the celebration with a 125th anniversary kickoff event in the Eat’n Park Atrium at Children’s main campus in Lawrenceville. During the event, the Foundation announced a $1.25 million partnership with PNC as the lead corporate sponsor for the 125th Anniversary campaign. In addition, Jay Costa, State Senate Minority Leader; Wayne D. Fontana, State Senator, Democratic Caucus Chair; Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive; and Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, all read proclamations.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation also unveiled the “Giving Booth,” an interactive video booth that will travel throughout the region to various events encouraging individuals to share a childhood memory or a Children’s Hospital memory. All videos will be uploaded to the Foundation’s 125th Anniversary webpage where participants will be able to watch and share videos and encourage their friends and family to do the same, as well as make a donation to support Children’s. The 125th Anniversary webpage also will feature memories shared by local and national celebrities.

For more information on the Foundation and the campaign, visit www.givetochildrens.org/125.

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