Dreaming Big for Child Health

Our country’s 75 million children are an abundant treasure in our midst. While only 20 percent of the population, they are 100 percent of our future—and their future will be our legacy.

Building a Foundation for Child Health

A UB doctor examines a baby in a clinic.

The Jacob School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Department of Pediatrics is on a mission to establish a Child Health Research Institute. The institute is the vision of Steven E. Lipshultz, MD, an internationally renowned pediatric cardiologist who serves as the A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at UB. His research has saved or improved the lives of countless children around the world and continues to inform ongoing studies.

To realize his vision of establishing a Child Health Research Institute at UB, Lipshultz understood he first needed to recruit a world leader in pediatric genetics. He accomplished this in 2020, when Taosheng Huang, MD, PhD, came to UB to serve as chief to the Division of Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics. Huang earned his formidable reputation by integrating research, molecular testing and clinical services to improve the care of patients. His proven expertise is critical to a Child Health Research Institute—something that community philanthropic leader Foundation 214 recognized when it recently awarded $300,000 to the Jacobs School in support Huang’s vital work at the bench and bedside.

“Foundation 214 is proud to play an important role in establishing the Child Health Research Institute,” says Chris Alfiero, executive director of the foundation. “Dr. Lipshultz and Dr. Huang have a strong history of bringing about meaningful treatments and protocols in the pediatric arena. Their concentrated efforts will lead the way to ensuring our children will be freer of debilitating conditions. We are blessed by their presence.”

With the support of philanthropic leaders such as Foundation 214, the UB Child Health Research Institute will lead cross-disciplinary efforts to advance and transform child health in our region and beyond. It will also will attract and retain the best and brightest physicians and scientists and help bring essential National Institutes of Health funding to Buffalo.

Transforming Care for Sick Children

Importantly, a Child Health Research Institute will create unique opportunities to establish population research programs and to conduct studies that focus on health disparities, the outcomes of which are increasingly valuable to our community and world. Child health also involves longitudinal studies that follow and extend care for children into adulthood.

“Community partners such as Foundation 214—together with grateful families inspired by clinical and translational research that saves lives, prevents disease and improves quality of life—are critical to the establishment of a UB Child Health Research Institute,” Lipshultz says. “We are extremely thankful for champions like Foundation 214. The dream is big, and their support is essential to igniting the spark.”

To learn more about how you can support a vision that will set the stage for transforming care for sick children, contact Kathy M. Swenson, senior director of advancement at kswenson@buffalo.edu or call 716-829-5052.

Foundation 214, Inc., a family-funded foundation, is engaged in serving veterans of the U.S. military, children and elderly in health care and education within the eight counties of Western New York.

By S. A. Unger

Published October 6, 2021