During a ceremony held Friday, Richard E. Kirschner, MD, chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and director of the Cleft Lip and Palate-Craniofacial Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was announced as the first recipient of The Robert F. and Edgar T. Wolfe Foundation Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. One of a series of endowed chairs to be announced by Nationwide Children’s this month, the Robert F. Wolfe and Edgar T. Wolfe Foundation, a supporting foundation of The Columbus Foundation, was created in 1989 by John W. Wolfe to honor the memory of his grandfather and father, Robert F. Wolfe and Edgar T. Wolfe.
Robert F. Wolfe arrived in Columbus in 1888 and found work as a shoemaker, eventually beginning the successful Wolfe Brothers Shoe Company. In 1903, he bought The Ohio State Journal with his brother, Harry P. Wolfe. In 1905, they acquired The Columbus Dispatch. Robert’s son, Edgar T. Wolfe, Sr., began working for the Journal in 1919 as an advertising solicitor. He later became co-publisher of both the Journal and the Dispatch.
John W. Wolfe, the son of Edgar T. Wolfe, Sr., began his career with Ohio National Bank in 1948. In 1975, he became chairman of the Dispatch Printing Company, parent organization of The Columbus Dispatch. He was appointed to the Governing Committee of The Columbus Foundation in 1984 and provided leadership for decades in the health field in central Ohio.
In 1995, the Wolfe Foundation established four permanent endowment funds, which provides support to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation, COSI Columbus, The McConnell Heart Health Center and The Columbus Foundation.
Richard E. Kirschner, MD, is chief of the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Professor of Surgery and senior vice chair of the Department of Plastic Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. A native of Southern California, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami, serving as student vice president of its chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He later graduated with research distinction from the University of Miami School of Medicine, serving as president of its chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed an internship and residency in general surgery at The New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, a residency in plastic surgery at The University of Pennsylvania, and a fellowship in pediatric plastic surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he remained on faculty for 12 years. Dr. Kirschner joined the Nationwide Children’s team to lead the development of the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2010. He is currently director of Ambulatory Surgery, of the Cleft Lip and Palate Center, and of the Pediatric Plastic Surgery Fellowship at Nationwide Children’s, where he also serves as co-director of the 22q Center.
Dr. Kirschner has lectured and published extensively on cleft lip and palate both in the United States and abroad. He is co-editor of the text Comprehensive Cleft Care, now in its second edition. He has served on the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) Research Education Committee, the Program Committee, and the Task Force on Clinical Trials/Outcome Studies. He currently serves as ACPA vice president and as chairman of the Program Committee. He has served on the Cleft Palate Foundation’s Research Grants Task Force and has chaired the CPF Research Grants Committee and the Task Force on Economic Models of Team Care. Dr. Kirschner has traveled with Smile Train to provide educational symposia for cleft care providers in South America, Asia, and Africa. He and his wife LoriAnn are co-founders of Casa Azul America, Inc., a non-profit organization devoted to providing care to underprivileged children with cleft lip and palate in Latin America.
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.
Richard E. Kirschner, MD, chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and director of the Cleft Lip and Palate-Craniofacial Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital