Columbus Family Travels to Washington D.C. to Advocate for Children’s Health and Patient-Centered Research

June 24, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Gibson family of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, is heading to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to advocate for children’s health and voice their support for the reauthorization of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The Gibson family’s advocacy efforts this week are in conjunction with the annual Children’s Hospital Association’s Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day, June 25-26. Family Advocacy Day provides families, like the Gibson’s, the opportunity to meet members of Congress and discuss issues that affect children’s healthcare.

Aria Gibson, now 16, was part of a pilot study at Nationwide Children’s in 2014 that provided her and her parents the option to treat her appendicitis with antibiotics instead of an appendectomy. This initial investigation led to a $1.6 million award from PCORI which allowed for a 2015 follow-up study that demonstrates antibiotics are a reasonable treatment as an alternative to surgery for children with uncomplicated acute appendicitis, and that putting patients and families at the center of the decision was crucial. Katherine J. Deans, MD, and Peter C. Minneci, MD, who are co-directors of the Center for Surgical Outcomes at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and principal investigators in the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice in The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s led the study.

“When my husband and I found out Aria had appendicitis, we were certain she would have to undergo surgery,” said Aubrey Gibson, Aria’s mother. “However, when we learned Aria was a candidate for the antibiotic treatment, we decided it was the right thing – Aria was avoiding major surgery, and we could help other children and families by participating in a research study.”     

An independent agency, PCORI’s mission is to produce and promote evidence-based information that results from high-quality research steered by patients, caregivers and the healthcare community.

“I think one of the biggest things we are grateful for as a family was an opportunity to have input in Aria’s treatment. Nationwide Children’s is about family-centered care, but to truly be involved in the decision-making process for two treatments that probably would have benefitted Aria either way was important,” said Gibson.

“Nationwide Children’s Hospital is proud to be part of the annual Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day,” said Steve Allen, MD, CEO of Nationwide Children’s. “Many congressional decisions about health care policy, research and funding ultimately affect children, so it’s important that families have an opportunity to share their opinions with lawmakers. Nationwide Children’s believes that the best health outcomes for our patients are only possible when we partner with families. This advocacy day gives our elected officials a chance to work in partnership with families as well.”   

About the Children’s Hospital Association
The Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 220 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care.

For more information on Family Advocacy Day, visit, or follow the families on Facebook at or Twitter, @speaknowforkids, #speaknowforkids.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at