Nebraska State Sen. John Cavanaugh tours MMI

State Sen. John Cavanaugh, left, and Melonie Welsh, MMI's director of community engagement, look at the history wall at the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

State Sen. John Cavanaugh, left, and Melonie Welsh, MMI's director of community engagement, look at the history wall at the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

Nebraska State Sen. John Cavanaugh recently toured the Munroe-Meyer Institute and received an overview of the programming and services offered at the main Omaha building and throughout the state.

Sen. Cavanaugh’s visit was prompted in part by his brother Patrick Cavanaugh, who sits on the MMI Board of Directors. The institute also is located in the senator’s district.

Sen. Cavanaugh was greeted by MMI Director Karoly Mirnics, MD; Chris Kratochvil, MD, interim vice chancellor of external relations; and Melonie Welsh, MMI’s director of community engagement.

MMI has often been considered a “hidden gem” of the community, Dr. Mirnics said. But that perception has changed in the last several years.

“It’s great to see senators recognizing MMI as one of the prominent parts of the whole health care system in the state,” Dr. Mirnics said. “We welcome senators to the institute and are grateful for their support.”

Sen. Cavanaugh’s tour took him through all four floors of the building, including stops by the pool, gymnasium and community garden.

He also visited dental suites and the optical shop in the Caring for Champions area before exploring the Virtual Reality Lab and maker space.

Sen. Cavanaugh said his biggest takeaway from the tour was the scale of the institute.

“The number of people served and in all the different ways. There’s so much breadth and depth of service,” he said. “There’s thoughtfulness in the entire place.”

Visits like Sen. Cavanaugh’s build on MMI’s reputation as a national and international leader in the field of developmental disabilities, Dr. Kratochvil said.

“The interest from our elected officials is critically important,” he said. “These types of visits educate them on the exceptional services MMI offers to residents of the state and across the country.”

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