COLUMBUS, Ohio – Funding for a proven community health and economic improvement program that will concentrate efforts on Columbus’ Linden neighborhood is a key focus of the Nationwide Foundation’s 2020 gift to the Nationwide Foundation Pediatric Innovation Fund at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The latest $10 million gift to the Pediatric Innovation Fund, intended to help accelerate the hospital’s most promising clinical and research programs, will support the expansion of Nationwide Children’s Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families (HNHF) initiative into the Linden neighborhood of Columbus, as well as establish two endowed research chairs, and invest in perinatal and genomics research.
Nationwide Children’s, with community partners, has been operating the HNHF program on the South Side of Columbus since 2008 where it has achieved impressive results. More than 380 homes have been impacted through Healthy Homes programming including home repair, affordable rental housing and homeownership. There has been a decrease in violent crime, an increase in average hourly wages from $10.10 to $18.03, and a doubling in African-American employment. There has also been a 21% decrease in the rate of children’s emergency department visits.
For more than 25 years, Nationwide Children’s has provided primary and behavioral health care services to children to the Linden community, but the neighborhood faces disinvestment, elevated infant mortality rates and barriers to health care, employment and transportation. The work of HNHF in the Linden area will supplement and expand upon the bold vision of the One Linden plan developed by neighborhood community leaders.
“The mission of the Linden initiative is to replicate what was achieved on the city’s South Side,” said Nationwide CEO and Nationwide Foundation Chairman Kirt Walker. “We recognize the passion and pride the residents of Linden have for their neighborhood, and we think this program will meaningfully improve the lives of community residents and help to reinvigorate one of our city’s historic neighborhoods.”
Augmenting the work Nationwide Children’s HNHF program will undertake in Linden, the Pediatric Innovation fund is also in 2020 supporting the creation and funding of the Nationwide Foundation Endowed Research Chair of Health Equity Research. This chair will be awarded to Deena Chisolm, Ph.D., director of a Center of Emphasis dedicated to health equity research. Chisolm is an epidemiologist whose research is focused on measuring and improving the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of pediatric health care in at-risk communities.
Foundation invests in behavioral health, perinatal health and genomics research
Additionally in 2020, the Pediatric Innovation fund is supporting the creation a second endowed research chair, that will be awarded to Jeff Bridge, Ph.D., director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The Nationwide Foundation Chair of Innovation in Behavioral Health Research will recognize Bridge’s pioneering work in suicide prevention at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. His research focuses on the epidemiology of suicidal behavior in young people and on improving the quality of care for suicidal youth and adolescents who have attempted suicide.
In 2019, the Pediatric Innovation Fund made a significant commitment of funds to accelerate Behavioral Health efforts at Nationwide Children’s with their support of the hospital’s On Our Sleeves™ movement for children’s mental health. On Our Sleeves™ has undergone rapid growth with a mission to provide every community in America with free resources necessary for breaking child mental health stigmas and educate families and advocates. One in five children lives with a mental illness and 50 percent of all lifetime mental illnesses start by age 14. Funding to support behavioral and mental health strives to change the course.
An additional component of this year’s Innovation Fund gift will be directed to the hospital’s Center for Perinatal Research. Focused on the prevention of pre-term birth and the improvement of prematurity-related outcomes, funding will support the center’s recruitment of an elite national leader for this facility with an extensive research operation and portfolio.
“We are incredibly honored by Nationwide Foundation’s on-going commitment to accelerating our most promising clinical and research discoveries,” said Tim Robinson, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “These significant gifts have been a game changer across the organization and I’m incredibly pleased that in 2020, with the support of Nationwide Foundation and Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker, we’re focusing on several key social determinants of health impacting children here and across the country. Expanding HNHF in Linden, establishing the Center for Health Equity Research, growing our prematurity efforts and endowing the work of both Dr. Deena Chisolm and Jeff Bridge, could not be timelier or more important right now. I cannot fully express our gratitude for this tremendous philanthropic support.”
The Nationwide Foundation Pediatric Innovation fund will also continue to benefit the hospital’s Steve and Cindy Rasmussen Institute for Genomic Medicine (IGM). Established in 2016 with significant start-up funding from the Pediatric Innovation Fund, the IGM remains one of the few programs in pediatric personalized genomic medicine in the U.S. and focuses on genomics as the root cause of many childhood diseases. This year’s funding will be used to acquire additional equipment and technology to advance genomic research.
Targeting strategic investments in pediatric and community health and an acceleration of the most promising research and clinical discoveries at Nationwide Children’s, the Nationwide Foundation established the Pediatric Innovation Fund in 2014 and has so far contributed $70 million to it, including the 2020 gift. With Nationwide Foundation’s initial $50 million to the hospital in 2006, its gifts have now reached $120 million.
“At the Nationwide Foundation, we believe that when members of our community are hurting, it’s our responsibility as community leaders to do our part to help them heal,” said Walker. “Over the years, partnering with Nationwide Children’s Hospital on critically important research and community health issues has led to demonstrative improvements in the lives of children and their families. We are excited to continue supporting this good work and can’t wait to see the positive impacts of the achievements this hospital’s brilliant researchers are making every day.”
“The decades-long partnership between the Nationwide Foundation and Nationwide Children’s is one that has truly transformed our city and the lives of thousands of children,” said Robinson. “As our community rebuilds from the coronavirus, the Pediatric Innovation Fund will enable our researchers to make pioneering strides that will be critical for the future success of our children and at-risk communities.”
Nationwide Children’s has also benefitted from Nationwide’s sports marketing sponsorships. Combined efforts through the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and ½ Marathon and partnerships with Hendrick Motorsports and The Dale Jr. Foundation helped raise more than $38 million since 2011.
About The Nationwide Foundation
The Nationwide Foundation is a nonprofit, private foundation to which Nationwide companies are the donors. Founded in 1959, the Nationwide Foundation has contributed more than $500 million since 2000 to help nonprofit organizations in communities where Nationwide associates and their families live and work.
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