Executive Director Note, Sept. 2020

anderson-berry-photo-2.jpgAs we say goodbye to the heat of summer and hello to a new school year, we are reminded about how important child health is to all aspects of a child’s life. This has been particularly poignant this year as we struggle with the dramatic changes to the world brought by SARS-CoV-2 and the global pandemic. Return to school this year looks dramatically different than last and different from family to family across our metropolitan area. Our research faculty have been active in supporting multiple school districts as they make critical decisions about their scheduling. Supporting and understanding ways to improve child health has never been more important. CHRI was pleased to sponsor and support several incredible activities this month that will continue to move our agenda forward.

The Pediatric Cancer Research Group (PCRG) hosted its first virtual symposium on August 26 with over 130 attendees from Omaha and across the country. Don Coulter, MD, and the CHRI team presented a showcase of the work of PCRG researchers on water quality and associations with childhood cancer, and had an interactive panel of Nebraska legislators to have an in depth discussion about water, agriculture, natural presence of minerals and potential next steps in better understanding this issue and the impact on our youngest citizens.

Then the symposium transitioned into a heart wrenching discussion on  Return to Learn, with parents and pediatric cancer survivors sharing their stories about how transitioning back into school after intensive cancer therapy was limited not by teachers, parents or students, but by laws and regulations. There is a concerted effort to band together with lawmakers, educators and health care professionals to work across Nebraska to understand this issue and optimally give students with severe pediatric illness the same grace in returning to school incrementally as is given to our student athletes with concussions.

Congratulations to the entire team on a successful symposium.

Additionally, Kari Simonsen, MD, Teri Mauch, MD and Rusty McCulloh, MD led an excellent and well-attended writing workshop for trainees and junior faculty that included mentoring and interactive sessions. Please mark your calendars for the next workshop on February 19-20, 2021.

We are very excited to open up applications for our third CHRI scholar’s position. This application can be found on the CHRI website and is intended for faculty in their first three years who prepare a mentored research project with the goal of transitioning funding to an NIH or major foundation award. Please reach out to me if you are interested in learning more about this exciting program.


Best wishes for a healthy and productive month,