During the December 6 meeting of the Joint Boards of Directors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, John Barnard, MD, President of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s was announced as the first recipient of the Ann I. Wolfe Endowed Chair in Research Leadership. The new chair was established in recognition of the ongoing transformative contributions Ann Isaly Wolfe makes to Nationwide Children’s as a leader, fundraiser and philanthropist.
Ann Wolfe has given decades of service to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Serving as a hospital board member since 1982, she became the first woman to chair the board in 1990 and served a second term as chair in 2001-2002. She also served as chair of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board (1987-1990).
As chair of the last two capital campaigns, Mrs. Wolfe has led fundraising efforts which have raised more than $400 million for the hospital – the For Our Children Campaign raised $107 million and the Change Their Tomorrow Campaign raised more than $300 million. She was integral to the $50 million Nationwide gift announced in 2006, which at the time was one of the largest philanthropic gifts ever from a corporate foundation in the U.S. and the second largest single gift ever given to a children’s hospital. She has also been instrumental in numerous other gifts and philanthropic efforts.
Through the Wolfe family foundation, Mrs. Wolfe and her family have led by example with major philanthropy to the hospital, including the funding for this new endowed chair. She is a relentless advocate for the work done at the hospital and a tireless champion for the children.
In addition to serving as President of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s since 2005, Dr. Barnard is Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University. He is a practicing gastroenterologist and a past-president of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.
During his career to date, Dr. Barnard has accumulated more than $5 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for his research on growth factor biology in the GI tract, and has authored two NIH training grants for pediatricians. He has written 49 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 34 review articles and book chapters.
Under Dr. Barnard’s leadership, The Research Institute has become one of the fastest growing pediatric research institutes in the country and a top 10 NIH-funded freestanding pediatric research facility. He has overseen developments including the construction of a viral vector facility capable of producing vectors used to transport corrective genes into the human body, making Nationwide Children’s one of very few pediatric hospitals able to offer gene therapy clinical trials. He also helped create the Battelle Center for Mathematical Medicine, establishing Nationwide Children’s among a handful of pediatric institutions in the world equipped with high-end computing and statistical analysis capabilities – a function that can better determine the genetic causes of disease such as autism and specific language impairment. And during his tenure, the Biopathology Center was selected as the biospecimen core resource for the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Genome Atlas project.
For clinicians and researchers working in academic-medical institutions like Nationwide Children’s, endowed chairs represent the most prestigious and significant recognition of their work.
NOTE TO EDITOR: Barnard is a resident of New Albany, OH. Wolfe is a resident of Columbus, OH.
Dr. John Barnard, president of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital