During a ceremony on Jan. 15, Dean A. Lee, MD, PhD, Director of the joint Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunotherapy Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center, was announced as the first recipient of The DiMarco Family Endowed Chair in Cell Based Therapy. This new chair was made possible by the generosity of Tom and Ann DiMarco.
Tom DiMarco is the majority owner, president, and chief executive of Salo Inc., the largest franchisee for Interim HealthCare Inc. His work led the family to Columbus, Ohio, more than 20 years ago and they have been active in a number of charitable and volunteer efforts since their arrival. Ann is a board member of WOSU, as well as a longtime volunteer with Kobacker House. Tom is a board member of A Kid Again. Longtime donors to Nationwide Children’s, the couple has enabled groundbreaking research into Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease, in addition to cancer research, trauma programming, and other specialty areas.
The DiMarcos were inspired to create the chair, in part, by the memory of their late aunt, Jean C. Twinning McErlain, known to family members as “Nana.”
“Providing a better tomorrow for children with rare diseases has a deep, personal resonance with my family,” said Ann.
Dr. Lee joined Nationwide Children’s in 2016. Educated at Fresno Pacific College and Loma Linda University, he worked at Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he also served as Co-Director of the MD/PhD Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Lee is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is Chair of the cell therapy strategy group for the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, a member of the cellular therapy committee of the Children’s Oncology Group, and a member of the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.
“We are grateful for the DiMarco family’s generosity,” said Steve Testa, president, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Endowed chairs are a cornerstone of any prestigious institution, helping us recruit, retain, and support the best scientists and clinicians in the industry.”
Note to Editors: Dean A. Lee resides in Canal Winchester, Ohio, 43110.