Stephen Welty, MD (43054), chief of Neonatology at Columbus Children’s Hospital, was honored today, September 7 with the Dean Jeffers Endowed Chair in Neonatology. The Dean Jeffers Endowed Chair in Neonatology is the first-of-five endowed chairs made possible by the extraordinary gift to Columbus Children’s Hospital from Nationwide Foundation. For clinicians and researchers working in academic-medical institutions like Children’s, endowed chairs represent the most prestigious and significant recognition of their work.
The Dean Jeffers Endowed Chair in Neonatology is named after Dean W. Jeffers (43220) who made an impact in his 41 years with Nationwide. During his tenure as general chairman and chief executive officer (1972-1981), the company reflected his sense of responsible corporate leadership and caring for people. Jeffers left an indelible mark on the city of Columbus through his efforts to revitalize the north sector of downtown, including the construction of Nationwide world headquarters.
“To honor the leadership, past and present, at Nationwide, the five endowed chairs will be named for individuals who shared their passion for excellence at Nationwide, and who will now advance excellence at Children’s Hospital,” Chad Jester, president of Nationwide Foundation, said.
Children’s Hospital received a ten-year, $50 million commitment from Nationwide Foundation in June of this year to support expansion of programs and construction of a new main hospital that will further position the hospital as one of the nation’s top pediatric health care and research facilities. The Nationwide Foundation gift will support several key areas within Children’s growth plan. One of the areas chosen for focused investment includes programmatic support for neonatal intensive care.
“For decades, Nationwide and Columbus Children’s Hospital have grown together to become two of the most trusted and respected institutions in our city,” Steve Allen, MD, chief executive officer of Columbus Children’s Hospital, said. “Today, we honor and recognize two men from these organizations for their pioneering work in their respective fields.”
Dean W. Jeffers
Jeffers was born September 7, 1916, on a farm near Woodsfield, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio University in 1936 with a bachelor’s degree in education. While at OU, Jeffers met his late wife, Ruthe, to whom he was married for 66 years.
After graduation, Jeffers taught in a one-room school and later served as principal of a junior high school. He also sold auto insurance as a part-time agent for Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, renamed Nationwide in 1955. When World War II broke out, he joined the Marines and was part of the second wave of soldiers to land on Iwo Jima in 1945.
Jeffers rejoined Nationwide after the war and was soon offered a job in the home office in Columbus. Over the years, he gained experience in many aspects of the business and rose through the ranks to become chief executive officer. Throughout his career, Jeffers remained true to his values, always putting people first. The late John Fisher, who succeeded Jeffers as general chairman, said, “Dean Jeffers, the man, is a warm, caring human being. The flavor of these companies very much reflects his people-oriented philosophies and his commitment to responsible corporate leadership.”
Jeffers transferred caring for people into community service, serving as chairman of numerous non-profit organizations, including the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Central Ohio and Ohio University. Jeffers was active in the founding of The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital at The Ohio State University and served as member of The James Foundation.
Stephen Welty, MD
Welty was recruited to Columbus Children’s Hospital in 2000, and became chief of Neonatology and program director for the fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine in 2001. He is Chief of the Division of Neonatology in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University School of Medicine, where he serves as associate professor, and is an investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at Columbus Children’s Research Institute.
Welty received his MD from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland and completed his residency and chief residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He was subsequently awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at Baylor which he finished in 1990. While on the faculty at Baylor, Welty was honored with the TCH Chair in Neonatology Research, and was named to Best Doctors in America. At Children’s, Welty received the Grant Morrow III Teaching Award in 2001, and was named to Best Doctors in America for the second time.
As a clinician, Welty leads one of the largest neonatal intensive care networks in the country. At Children’s, doctors, nurses, medical staff and allied health professionals strive to heal the smallest and weakest infants, many born prematurely, who face life-threatening illnesses and conditions in their first days of life. Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is fully committed to families and their critical role, as the unit is designed to include parent accommodation suites, private baths and sleeping space in many rooms, a family lounge, and many other family-centered amenities.
Welty is an accomplished researcher, having written more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals, and authored approximately 20 book chapters in textbooks in neonatology and pediatrics. His research focus includes the study of gene expression and regulation in oxidant stress states, mechanisms and significance of lung inflammatory diseases and gene delivery to the lung in premature infants. Welty was awarded NIH funding for his studies in the cause and treatment of hyperoxic lung injury.
Pam Barber/Mary Ellen Fiorino
Columbus Children's Hospital
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