Nationwide Children’s Hospital: Then and Now – PediaCast 554

Show Notes


  • Scott McKenzie visits the studio as we take a deep dive into the history and growth of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. From humble beginnings to one of the most comprehensive pediatric medical centers in the country, we explore what makes this place so special. We hope you can join us!


  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital: Then and Now



Nationwide Children’s Hospital

AI Tools for Medical Research and Health Literacy


Episode Transcript

Announcer:     This is Pediacast. Welcome to Pediacast, a pediatric podcast for parents. And now direct from the campus of Nationwide Children's. Here is your host, Dr. Mike.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Hello, everyone. And welcome once again to Pediacast. It is a pediatric podcast for moms and dads. This is Dr. Mike coming to you from the campus of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Dr Mike Patrick:     We're in Columbus, Ohio. It's episode 554. We're calling this 1 Nationwide Children's Hospital Then and Now. Want to welcome all of you to the program. You know, for 553 episodes of PDA Cast, and parenting topics that really try to raise health literacy, improve child health, improve outcomes by really helping parents understand disease processes and why it's important to seek treatment and what treatment options are available.

Dr Mike Patrick:     We're sort of looking at risks and benefits and really taking an evidence-based approach to pediatric health and wellness and also various parenting topics as well. But we're going to do things a little bit differently for 554. We're going to really turn the lens around and look at ourselves and talk a bit about where Nationwide Children's Hospital has come from. You will hear in this episode that it all started with a bake sale and that is true. So we will talk a little more about that bake sale and how it ended up really becoming 1 of the largest pediatric institutions in the entire world.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And in fact, the second largest here in the United States. So it's going to be an interesting topic and we have a fantastic guest who's going to join us, Scott McKenzie. He is the assistant vice president for external relations with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation. And we'll talk a little bit about what the foundation is and its important role in the hospital. And then we will start back with that bake sale and just kind of move forward and talk about our hospital and the great things that we're doing and sort of how we got to be where we are today.

Dr Mike Patrick:     So this is going to be an exciting conversation. Before we get into that, I recently attended a symposium at the Ohio State University College of Medicine on artificial intelligence and medical education. And it was a really fascinating day. Now, you know, AI in some form or another has really been around for a long time. And so this isn't something that just all of a sudden, boom, we have artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Dr Mike Patrick:     It really has ramped up to the point where it is today. But what is different in the last year to year and a half is really the easy access to everybody with these tools and it really does make you pause and wonder where in the world are we going to be 5 years from now. And 1 question that I have had in my mind before I attended this symposium was is there a place for AI in academics and learning and scholarly research and writing projects. Is it ethical to use artificial intelligence in our teaching and in our learning. And as time has moved forward, and especially it was really reinforced by attending this symposium, that the answer to those questions is yes.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And those who embrace AI in teaching and in learning, and that includes parents as we learn about childhood illnesses, especially the ones that impact our own family. It's going to be important to know how to use AI in a responsible way, in a way that's still going to guarantee that you get evidence-based information. Really, it's sort of like a trip to the library, except that you have this intelligence that can search the entire internet, which we know is full of fantastic evidence-based information, and it's also full of misinformation and myths and and things that just aren't true. And so, you know, how do you seize the moment of looking through all that data and trying to figure out what is good and what's not good and what's believable and not believable. And AI can actually help determine useful resources.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And in fact, if you ask chat GPT, for example, the question and you get a response back, you can say, hey, what were your resources for finding this and then vet to see was this a good resource or not such a great resource. And more and more that I've done this, I have found that it really heavily relies on great resources. And so, you know, we can't say it's absolutely trustworthy just like Wikipedia is not absolutely trustworthy but there's a lot of great stuff there that is trustworthy and so you do have to you know do a little bit of your own research to and to verify and you know that sort of thing but it really can make things much more accessible to so many people. And again, sort of like a trip to the library, you know, 1 of the speakers at this symposium likened, you know, should we use AI in our writing, for example? Well, you would use a spell checker and you use a grammar checker.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And so, you know, having something that helps you formulate your thoughts into something that's easily digestible by other people is important. Now, if you're taking a spelling test, you don't want to use a spell checker. And if you're learning how to write to engage folks or to write a research paper or really any kind of writing and the focus is on how you write the mechanics of writing, then you're not going to want to use AI. You're going to want to learn how to do it yourself. But once you are a proficient writer, it can be a tool to to help with content.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And so just it's really fascinating to me. And the world is changing. I did want to share some tools that are great for clinicians and researchers, but also for families that are just looking for evidence-based information online. ChatGPT, of course, Microsoft also has Copilot. Google BARD is up and coming.

Dr Mike Patrick:     So there's going to be a lot of different AI systems that you can use. So you may want to check those out. Another interesting 1 is chat PDF and that'll let you take any PDF document and a lot of journal articles are written in PDF format that you can download and look through the journal article. And what this will do is it basically gives you a synopsis of what is in that PDF and what relevance it has. So that's a great tool for analyzing any PDF document, including journal articles.

Dr Mike Patrick:     There's another 1 called Elicit that is specific for research paper analysis. So again if something comes out that you hear about maybe in the news if you can find the research article put it through Elicit and it will actually tell you what that article is about and language that you can understand, relate it to other things that have been done. And then speaking of really looking at a lot of studies at once, there's another site called Consensus, which is an AI search engine for research. So you know if you have a particular topic and you want to know, hey what is the evidence-based research about this including vaccines for example, you can go to consensus and it's going to find a lot of research articles that related to what you're interested in and then kind of give you the consensus of what all of these as a collection are saying. So that's that's really interesting.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And then 1 more I want to leave you with is called copy scape. And this is a plagiarism checker. So, you know, if you do have AI help you write something, put it through Copyscape and that'll let you know, hey, no, this chunk really is word for word someone else's work. And so you may want to change the words around and rewrite that a little bit differently. But it just gives you some peace of mind that you aren't, you know, that you're not really relying on someone else's work.

Dr Mike Patrick:     You are just using the AI as a tool to help you with your own work. And so I think it is important, especially if you're using it in writing, to sort of check and just make sure that you are not plagiarizing. And for students out there, your teachers likely here in the future are going to be using those kind of tools to check your work anyway. So you might as well check it ahead of time and just to make sure that what you're doing is original, even if it is helped by tools such as spell checkers and grammar checkers and AI tools as well. So I'm going to have links to all of those things in the show notes for you to chat GPT, Microsoft copilot, chat PDF, consensus, illicit, and copy scape.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Those will all be in the show notes over at for this episode 554. So you may want to want to check that out. All right. So today we are going to take a deep dive into the history of Nationwide Children's Hospital. As I said, it all started with a bake sale And we really have gone from humble beginnings to a tremendous growth.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And today we are 1 of the largest pediatric hospitals in the world with really a huge focus on quality care, research, education, and family and community support. And we'll also take a look at what the future holds for our hospital. And again, Scott McKenzie, assistant vice president of external relations for Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation will be stopping by to talk about all of these things with us. I do want to remind you, you can find Pediacast wherever podcasts are found, and we also appreciate when you leave a review wherever it is that you listen to podcasts. We're also on social media, Facebook, Instagram threads, LinkedIn, and X.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Simply search for Pediacast. We also have a contact link over at if you would like to suggest a future topic for the show. Also, I want to remind you the information presented in every episode of our podcast is for general educational purposes only. We do not diagnose medical conditions or formulate treatment plans for specific individuals. If you have a concern about your child's health, be sure to call your health care provider.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Also, your use of this audio program is subject to the Pediacast Terms of Use Agreement, which you can find at So let's take a quick break. We'll get Scott McKenzie settled into the studio, and then we will be back to talk about Nationwide Children's Hospital then and now. It's coming up right after this. Scott McKenzie is assistant vice president of external relations with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation.

Dr Mike Patrick:     He has a passion for raising awareness far and wide of the mission and great work of our hospital. He's here to share the history of Nationwide Children's, including our humble beginnings and tremendous growth, and to share some of the important work our hospital is doing with regard to quality care, research, education, and family and community support. Before we get into all of that, let's give a warm PDA cast welcome to our guest, Scott McKenzie. Thank you so much for stopping by today.

Scott McKenzie:     Thank you. I appreciate it. I'm looking forward to this conversation, Dr. Mike.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah, I really am too. Before we get into sort of the history of Nationwide Children's, I want you to tell folks what is the Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation and what role does it play for the hospital?

Scott McKenzie:     The Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation is the fundraising arm for Nationwide Children's Hospital, also for the Center for Family Safety and Healing and also for the Abigail Wexner Research Institute. So we work with not just financial donors, but with anybody who wants to get involved to help spread the mission. It could be through a monetary donation, but it could also be through volunteering. It could be through advocacy and really our goal is to make sure that we're there to support the hospital in whatever it needs to address emerging trends and to give our children the best care possible.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah, And the care that we give here at the hospital is really is just tremendous and evidence-based care. And you know my own journey with Nationwide Children's, I was at this place back when it was called Columbus Children's Hospital, it was much much smaller When I trained about 30 years ago now, gosh, it's a long time, but it really has just grown. And of course, here on Pediacast, we've been very, very, very appreciative and feel really fortunate to be affiliated with this hospital and to be supported by Nationwide Children's. Let's go way, way back and just talk a little bit about the origins and then the evolution of Nationwide Children's Hospital into the great place it is today.

Scott McKenzie:     Philanthropy has quite literally played a role in Nationwide Children's Hospital since the very, very beginning. In 1892, a group of citizens decided that more needed to be done to care for sick children in Columbus. And that group of citizen, they held a series of fundraisers, most notably, or most sort of famously, there was a bake sale. But they had a series of fundraisers and they raised $175. That $175 led to the creation of what is now Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Scott McKenzie:     So small dollar donations, grassroots contribution, and the efforts and advocacy of people who simply wanted to help others literally led to the creation of our hospital that today is the second largest hospital in North America. We serve 1.7 million patient visits a year. Our patients come from every county in Ohio, every state in the nation, and from right around 45 to 50 countries around the globe. But it all ties back to this group of citizens that held a bake sale and raised $175 130 years ago.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah, that sounds like a tagline Nationwide Children's it all started with a bake sale.

Scott McKenzie:     Right? Right. And you know, another interesting philanthropy aspect is a lot of people don't realize is that the first public event held at the Horseshoe was a fundraiser for Nationwide Children's Hospital. They actually I believe if I understand it correctly the first football game was played at the Horseshoe in 1922. But earlier before the football season they had a fundraiser for Nationwide Children's because in 1924, we would ultimately open a new hospital building.

Scott McKenzie:     So they were trying to raise money for that new hospital building and they had a fundraiser inside the stadium. That was the first time that the public had gotten to see a horseshoe.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Very, very interesting. There's a lot more interesting tidbits and nuggets of information on our website. There's a page really devoted to history and milestones. And especially for those who work and or are served by Nationwide Children's, I think you'd find a pretty interesting page. It has a lot of a lot of great information on it.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And then I'm going to be referring to links like throughout this entire podcast. You're going to get tired of me saying, be sure to check out the show notes after word over at PDA for episode 554, because we're going to have a ton of links regarding the hospital there, including our mission, vision and values. So you can kind of get an understanding of the lens that we approach pediatric health care with. As we move forward, what are some of the notable achievements and the challenges that Nationwide Children's has faced?

Scott McKenzie:     We've had if when people go to the milestones in the history page that you referred to, it's amazing what all is there. I mean, there was a new building opened in 1924 in 1961. We opened our first dedicated research building in 1966. We performed our first kidney transplant in central Ohio for pediatrics. So there's so many interesting kind of achievements.

Scott McKenzie:     More recently, obviously in 2012, we opened what we now know as the main hospital tower. Those of us like you and me, Dr. Mike that have been around for a while. We I still catch myself referring to it as the new main hospital building, even though it's been open for a decade now. And that was the largest pediatric expansion in the United States at its time.

Scott McKenzie:     And then obviously in 2020, we opened the Big Lots Bayville Health Pavilion, which I'm super proud of for the tiny, tiny role I played in that. But that building is not just a building, it's a symbol. And so it's a role model for other communities throughout the nation. And so that's 1 that I think in a long list of milestones, the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion opening in 2020, I believe will be a real highlight because that is a symbol as much as it is a structure. The challenges that we've faced have always been simply a matter of addressing emerging needs and being able to pivot and jump on whatever our patients and our children need.

Scott McKenzie:     You know, 10 years ago, no 1 was talking about coronavirus, but we all know how that turned out. You might recall, was it 5 or 6 years ago when conditions like Ebola were very scary. And I remember there was there was a newspaper headlines about suspected cases maybe at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Obviously some of the challenges that we've faced and that our hospital has been very ambitious about facing head on relates to mental health. In 2014, I think it was the dispatch ran an article that said that Central Iowa had set a new record.

Scott McKenzie:     And then in 2015, they ran an article that said we had broken that record and these were not records to be proud of but they were record numbers of youth suicides. That problem in the community is what led our hospital to make the bold changes and to invest so heavily in behavioral health to an extent that had never been done in this country. And so I guess the point is, is that we have a lot of long history of success, but we also always managed to rise to the occasion and to face the challenges that our children need. That's only possible because of philanthropy and because of wonderful staff and wonderful leaders.

Dr Mike Patrick:     I, you know, I want to really pick up on that point with the mental health and the behavioral health pavilion, the big lots behavioral health pavilion that we have here is for folks who have not heard of that before. It is a stand alone facility that is dedicated to behavioral health in children, both inpatient outpatient. There's a psychiatric crisis department similar to an emergency department in a medical hospital. And so it's basically a mini hospital of its own dedicated to behavioral health mental health issues. That's just you know half a block from the from the main hospital.

Dr Mike Patrick:     But that is as you said that's unique and a role model for other places around the country and behavioral health is not a huge moneymaker for a hospital. In fact, it really takes a lot of resources and effort. The kind of visits that doctors have to provide for the patients typically are really long encounters where you're delving deep into a child's life and family history and trying to piece, put pieces together. And that is very different from flashy procedures, which we also do, but that do tend to bring in a lot more income into the hospital. So I think when an institution puts that much effort and dollars into something like behavioral health, it really does say something about the culture of the institution and the things that they care about.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Would you agree with that?

Scott McKenzie:     Absolutely. Baverial health has long been stigmatized in culture and as a result through the industry. So it was not appropriate. There was not an appropriate pipeline going into the behavioral health profession versus some more quote-unquote glamorous programs I mean there was no shortage of brain surgeons or heart surgeons but traditionally people didn't go into behavioral health because it required more medical education on top of your MD. The reimbursement rates were low.

Scott McKenzie:     The work was sometimes onerous and burdensome, and it just simply was not something that that hospitals bragged about. It wasn't the glamour program. You know, I always say I played soccer at an SEC football school. So I know what it's like to look across the field and there's the glamour program and you're over here, you know, scrimping and kind of struggling. And that's the way our nation treated behavioral health.

Scott McKenzie:     But in 2014, because of the challenges that were becoming apparent in the country and in our community because of visionary leadership and because we had such tremendous philanthropic support throughout our community, our hospital was able to say, we're going to do this because it's the right thing to do. And the CEO at the time, Dr. Allen told this story about how he would go and he would talk to his peers. And this is probably a bad pun, but he would say, nationwide children's is going to invest heavily in behavioral health. And his peers would look at him and say, are you crazy?

Scott McKenzie:     And people thought this couldn't be done. And philanthropy enabled us to take this bold, ambitious stance of saying that mental and emotional health is no different than physical health. And we're going to treat it as seriously and as proudly as we do our heart program or as we do our cancer program. This location, even the location of the Big Lots behavioral health pavilion is very intentional on our main campus that we didn't want it shunted off to a suburb or kind of hidden. It's a beautiful gleaming building in kind of our Camelot of a campus.

Scott McKenzie:     And it's really has set the template. When they started building that, designing that building, they asked around the industry and they said, where do we buy sinks? Where do we buy the fixtures? Where do we buy the furniture for a pediatric mental health facility? And the answer that we were told was you get it from the same people who build supplies for prisons.

Scott McKenzie:     Our hospital said we're not going to put prison

Dr Mike Patrick:     fixtures in a children's

Scott McKenzie:     hospital and because of the wonderful support that we have through philanthropy and through our leadership, we actually designed furniture that's still safe, but it's fun and it's attractive and it's colorful and it's whimsical for kids. And now that furniture is available to other hospitals throughout the country. But we were in a position to where we could say, we're just not going to prison complexes and buying fixtures for a kids hospital.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. Yeah. That absolutely makes sense. And that really is an unexpected challenge. I'm sure that that wasn't on anyone's mind when you're first thinking about designing a behavioral health pavilion for kids.

Dr Mike Patrick:     But again, that's just the creative ways that the hospital leadership is able to come up with solutions to complicated problems. Another thing that really has impressed me with our hospital is how it has impacted the local community here in Central Ohio, but even more so the really immediate community where the hospital lives. Tell us a little bit about our Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families program.

Scott McKenzie:     Right. So in 2008, we launched a program called Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families. And it was based on a premise that we can diagnose an entire neighborhood the same way that we can diagnose a single patient. When you go to your doctor's office, they take your pulse, they take your blood pressure, they weigh you, they do certain standard tests. Well, we can do the same thing to a neighborhood.

Scott McKenzie:     And HNHF addressed 5 kind of major planks of what is necessary to improve a population health outcome for an entire neighborhood. That involves safe and affordable housing. It involves workforce development. It involves education. It involves a number of things.

Scott McKenzie:     We do that because the hospital has always understood that we cannot wait until sick children come to our campus and treat them. That's not enough if we really want to impact a population. That's not enough if we really want to affect our community. Only 20% of your overall health outcomes comes from a doctor's visit. 80% of my health outcomes comes from things that don't involve a white coat and they don't involve stethoscopes.

Scott McKenzie:     So HNHF was launched in the south side of Columbus immediately in the area around the hospital and over in from 2008 when the program began to 2020 when I wrote a major proposal for HNHF, but just some of the stats that they accumulated by 2020. So vacant buildings within the south side of Columbus dropped from 25% to 6%. Over 800 affordable housing units were completed. The average starting wage in that neighborhood jumped from $10.10 an hour to $18.03 an hour. Our hiring, Nationwide Children's hiring of black employees doubled during that time.

Scott McKenzie:     Kindergarten readiness in that neighborhood improved from 32% to 96%. And emergency department use decreased by more than 20% within that neighborhood. So what the hospital is able to do is we're able to influence positively and work with partners within that community to really make a change on all aspects of a family's life because it's not health doesn't happen in a vacuum. It's other factors that determine my health and Nationwide Children's has always said that your health outcomes should not be determined by the zip code in which you live. HNHF is the way that we put that into practice.

Scott McKenzie:     And as a result, we're now doing the same interventions in Linden. And we're also researching and planning similar interventions in rural Ohio. My ultimate vision of HNHF is it provides us with kind of a toolbox to where we can start adapting to communities wherever they might be that can use some help and identifying local partners in order to bring about change that their residents know, identify, and they tell us that they need and we help them get there.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. And I want to point out that this, these are still the same folks living in the neighborhood. When you talk about before and after. You know, certainly you can buy properties, make nice houses that are not affordable to the folks who live in an area. And so really you're just driving that population out and a different population in.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And then that can change those statistics. But we're talking really finding employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and making the housing nicer but still affordable. And so those are all really, I think, important points. It's not just going in and making the neighborhood look pretty and unaffordable for the people who used to live there, correct?

Scott McKenzie:     Correct. And HNHF also provides home repair grants. So in Linden, the average size of those grants was $30,000. And that is something that's a program designed to enable residents to stay in their homes instead of having to leave but stay in a more safe home, a more healthy home. And the average age of a program recipient was, if I recall correctly, was about 67 years old.

Scott McKenzie:     I believe that about 85% of the program recipients were African-American recipients. And actually it not only helps those residents, but it helps improve the overall economic development in the community because the overwhelming majority of contractors and handymen and construction firms that get those repair grants, those are minority owned local businesses. It's not some massive conglomeration that's coming in and it's doing work in that neighborhood and they're leaving, but it's mom and pop construction shops within the neighborhood themselves that are getting to benefit from those contracts and they're getting to help their neighbors.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah, yeah, really, really important work. And the reach of Nationwide Children's is not only those local neighborhoods in Columbus and Central Ohio. You mentioned that we really serve patients from all around the globe. Talk a little bit about the role Nationwide Children's has played in a global pediatric health care.

Scott McKenzie:     It's always amazes me. I see the list every year of countries where people come from to Columbus to receive our services and you take for granted you assume there's week Canada. There's going to be England. There's going to be Mexico, But every year there are very far-flung exotic countries. I've always wondered how someone gets here from Uzbekistan, which showed up on the list a couple of years ago.

Scott McKenzie:     But there are a number of specialties where we legitimately are world leaders in what we do. Gene therapy is an area that our hospital has indisputed success in and a proven track record of doing what no 1 else can do And so we have patients come from all over the world that participated in the Duchenne muscular dystrophy trial that we recently announced that had received FDA approval. We have patients come around the world to visit our colorectal and pelvic center. So CCPR attracts patients from I recently heard a story about a child from Haiti coming to that. So there are specialized programs that we have that that provide care that you can't get anywhere else.

Scott McKenzie:     Maybe the most sort of famous 1 was a few years ago when we separated conjoined twins from Uganda. And that was a family that their hometown was physically smaller than the Nationwide Children's main campus. And yet we were able to bring them here. They spent about a year in Columbus and we were able to separate conjoined twins so that they go home and live a happy and healthy life. Really really amazing work.

Dr Mike Patrick:     There are going to be some interesting links in the show notes for folks on our global patient services, global training programs, advanced competency in global health, which residents can finish off and the global health fellowship track is also a possibility for our residents. And then we even have a global health China medical program that looks into emergency services and trauma care in China. And so really, you know, the reach of the hospital from central Ohio is quite remarkable.

Scott McKenzie:     That's 1 of the things that I'm really most proud of is that over 130 years we've remained the local gym of the community. We remain the place where people bring their kids when they sprain their ankle or when they need their tonsils out. And yet we have also grown into this international pediatric leader where people travel from across the globe to get care here that they literally cannot get anywhere else. So I love the the opposite ends of the spectrum of being the place you bring a bruise to and the place that you come to have a tissue engineered heart vessel.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I love that it all boils down regardless of which end of the spectrum that we're talking about whether it's really local maybe a block away from the hospital or you live on the other side of the world. When we really think about it, these are individual folks, you know, these are families. These are kids just like you and me.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And there are lots and lots of stories of people, children, families have been positively impacted by the hospital. And I love that we have a website where we really just take a look at patient stories where folks share their stories and you know it can really feel especially when you have a child who has a chronic disease you know maybe a significant injury they were born super premature things that you weren't expecting when you were pregnant with a child. And so you can feel alone in those problems and feel like you're on your own. But when you read other patient stories that can really give you a sense of hope and belongingness that other people have sort of gone through similar things that maybe your family is going through. And so I really would encourage you to take a look at our patient stories page.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And again, that'll be in the show notes over at for this episode 554. Can you share a story or 2 regarding a patient and family that has been positively impacted by the hospital?

Scott McKenzie:     Absolutely. There's so many. And ultimately, when we talk about the history of the hospital and milestones, and we opened this building or we did this transplant. Those are great. But ultimately the history and the impact of this hospital and the donors that support it and the people who advocate for it.

Scott McKenzie:     Ultimately, the history is written in 1 story at a time. It's each 1 of those kids that you mentioned each 1 of those families that has a better outcome because of this hospital and there's so many there was a patient named Charlie that we featured in some media and some videos a few years ago. Charlie was a little girl who had epilepsy and she was 1 of our first genomics patients. And genomics is the study of human DNA that allows much more precise diagnosis. And Charlie had this uncontrolled epilepsy.

Scott McKenzie:     They had tried all kinds of different medications. They had tried all these different things. She was having 15 to 20 seizures a day. She was on 8 to 10 medications every day. And when Nationwide Children's launched our Steve and Cindy Rasmussen Institute for genomic medicine and we got big into genomics we were able to diagnose Charlie to a level that had not been possible previously.

Scott McKenzie:     So Dr. Anoop Patel, a neurologist at Children's, he's on a video saying 75% of the time in the past I would not have been able to tell you what type of epilepsy your child had. Now with genomics, I can. And so our genomics enabled that family to get a precise answer and a precise diagnosis and a precise treatment plan. So Charlie went from having dozens of seizures a day to having 1 a month.

Scott McKenzie:     She went from having to take 8 to 10 medications a day to having to take 2 a day. And you know, that's a tremendous improvement in the quality of life for that family and and just having the ability to have a doctor look at you and say this is what's wrong and this is how we can fix it as opposed to we're really not sure. So families like Charlie there are so many other families of where people have received care here that they could not receive anywhere else. We had a patient that allowed us to publicly share his story. I think it was last year 2 years ago there was a little boy from a Native American reservation in North Dakota that had a complex colorectal and GI issue.

Scott McKenzie:     Local surgeries had not gone well and had not fixed the problem and that boy a donor paid for that boy to come to Nationwide Children's Hospital and to get the surgery that he needed. And now he goes home and he's healthy, he's thriving, he's growing. So that's a little boy that had gotten the best medical care that was available to him in his hometown, but it wasn't sufficient. And so he was able to come here and receive care that really did change his life and fix the problem.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. And a lot of that, that kind of care where, you know, certainly patients, and especially if they're coming from other parts of the world they're not really in our health insurance programs it can be costly to come here and to have that kind of care and that's really where philanthropy comes in and just those as you said those small gifts that add up to make a big difference for a lot of kids right?

Scott McKenzie:     Correct. Philanthropy enables the hospital to do a lot of things that we couldn't normally do. There are travel programs to help people offset their costs. Philanthropy has enabled families to do things that so many of us take for granted. There are government programs that would pay for me to get from Miami to Columbus for care, but they might require me to take a plane trip with multiple stops.

Scott McKenzie:     And if I'm traveling with a young child who has a serious medical issue, none of us like layovers, none of us like stops in airports. But imagine what you're going through if you're in that situation. Philanthropy enables us to step in in certain cases and to say no, we're just going to buy it. We're going to be able to help this family get a direct flight and that seems like a small thing. But if you're that family traveling across the country, not having to change a flight, not having to rush across an airport with a child in a wheelchair makes a huge difference.

Scott McKenzie:     Even for other ways in the hospital, there are programs that we provide such as the sibling clubhouse that's on the first floor of the hospital. That program helps the siblings of patients that are receiving care. Well, we can bill insurance or we can bill the government for the patient's care, but we can't charge for the benefit that the brother gets in the sibling clubhouse. Philanthropy enables us to do things like help that brother who's frustrated. He doesn't understand why his sibling is sick.

Scott McKenzie:     He doesn't understand why they can't go to Disney World like they thought they could. He doesn't understand why mom and dad's not coming to a soccer games because they're upstairs with a sick child. So all of those types of things philanthropy enables us to do because they're the right thing to do.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And those impact the individual and really make a huge difference for families. At the other end of that spectrum is really the technology that can that can help kids and families that also can be quite expensive.

Dr Mike Patrick:     You've mentioned genomic medicine is a big area of expertise for our hospital. Proton therapy for cancer patients. We just did a PDA cast on that and folks can find that easily over at And artificial intelligence and machine learning is really becoming in the forefront of the news today. Funny, we hadn't heard of it, you know, year and a half ago, nobody heard of chat GPT.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And now there's really a lot of artificial intelligence and machine learning that's, that's just exponentially taking place. And we did a podcast on that, both for parents and another 1 for providers that you can find it, and the provider ones at But it's all about AI and machine learning and medicine. And really we have been a hospital that has not been hesitant to embrace new technology as it becomes available, right?

Scott McKenzie:     That's correct. And philanthropy has supported that. Last year as part of the Nationwide Foundation Innovation Fund, they donated money to support the creation of our Office of Data Sciences, specifically to build artificial intelligence capabilities for the hospital. When you think about the fact that your human genome has 6000000000 data points. And the Steven Sinney Rasmussen Institute for Genomic Medicine has sequenced about 10,000 people.

Scott McKenzie:     So 10,000 people at 6000000000 data points each. That's just 1 center, just 1 research center. So the the amounts of data that we that we generate are gargantuan almost incomprehensible and the hospital has always been very visionary and approaching and using technology and cutting edge techniques to deal with these kinds of things. Our office of data sciences is the first 1 that we've had in our hospitals history. So that's really exciting.

Scott McKenzie:     It's a really big deal that we're all looking forward to.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah, absolutely. As we as we continue to grow, it can become difficult to maintain quality of patient care because the work pool, there's only so many folks who are trained to do some of these medical jobs and how is the hospital balanced being able to grow but also having that priority of maintaining quality patient care as we grow?

Scott McKenzie:     Quality has always been at the forefront of Nationwide Children's Hospital. We with our program 0 Hero, we were the first pediatric institution in the country to make publicly available our quality data and to publicly go on record as saying our goal is 0 errors. And that's astounding to think about when you think of 14,000 employees providing 1.7 million patient visits a year to go out and say 0 seems almost absurd. But it shows the ambition of the hospital and it shows the dedication to excellence that our hospital has. To achieve those types of results, we have a number of programs that ensure quality.

Scott McKenzie:     We have a number of fellowships where people get to learn from the best. We all take 0 hero classes and Dr. Rustin Morse is overseeing kind of the next phase of 0 hero. So we all know even though I don't see patients. I know the 0 hero techniques of providing for a safe environment what to look out for how to communicate and it really filters all the way down.

Scott McKenzie:     The hospital provides programs for high school students who are interested in medical careers. At all levels of kind of the career path, we are constantly trying to recruit the best, but more importantly to retain and grow the best. So philanthropy for example has enabled us to launch a number of programs where nursing students for example get scholarships to advance their careers to get additional certifications. You mentioned some of the international fellowship programs that we have where we bring international doctors here to learn from us and we grow the body of knowledge throughout the industry. So quality is something that's always been a big deal to the hospital.

Scott McKenzie:     And we've got quite a few initiatives that try to make sure that we're meeting those high standards.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And it's not just the folks at Nationwide Children's saying, hey, look at us. We're fantastic. But really, we've been recognized outside of the hospital. For example, our magnet recognition for nursing excellence has really been a point of pride for many years and also longstanding member of the US News and Honor Roll for the best of the best recognition in terms of like ranking children's hospitals across the country. You know, we're always in the in the top 10 for sure.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And that's another point of pride and recognition that's coming from outside of the hospital.

Scott McKenzie:     In 2020, we received the Hearst Health Prize for our Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families program that was in that was recognized nationally for being a role model of how a sort of cornerstone institution can partner with a neighborhood and partner with the community to make a dramatic change for the people that are in that community. You know, we have so many awards and the awards are great, but we ultimately go back to measuring ourselves by those stories of those patients. The awards prove that we're on the right track and they prove that we're doing the right things and they provide interesting statistics to talk about. But I think everybody at the hospital would ultimately say that what leads to receiving something like the Hearst Health Prize or what leads to being a magnet institution for what is it I think 5 years in a row, 6 years in a row, something like that. It's the dedication to quality to each 1 of those individual patients.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah, absolutely. We've really talked a lot about patient care and community programs, global programs. Nationwide Children's Hospital is also an academic institution affiliated with the Ohio State University College of Medicine. And pediatric education and research have always been an important part of the hospital. Talk a little bit about our role in advancing medicine and really training the next generation of pediatric providers.

Scott McKenzie:     We are the pediatric arm of the Ohio State University College of Medicine. So any doctor over there that is focusing on pediatrics is going to receive care or receive training here. Conversely, the majority of our doctors are professors over there. So it is a very symbiotic relationship of where education leads to quality and quality influences education. Within the industry, there's a, there's a cliche that a lot of hospitals use talking about from bench to bedside, where they refer to research that goes from research to the clinical floor, back to research.

Scott McKenzie:     That's kind of the relationship that we have with education. 1 of the unique things that's a little bit different about pediatrics is that it seems as though in the pediatric industry, there's much more sharing and maybe much more of a sense of collaboration than there might be among adult healthcare institutions. It seems to be a little bit more congenial and a little bit more about let's just help kids. And so everything that we do contributes to the overall body of knowledge throughout the nation and even the world. We freely share the discoveries that happen in Nationwide Children's throughout the industry.

Scott McKenzie:     So go back to those kids that we talked about coming to our hospital for care they can't get anywhere else. That's not really what we want. You know, we want to contribute to a future of where those kids can get that care in their own community. And so for example, we have a Griffe International Fellowship program where doctors come from all over the world to learn here with the express intention of they go back and then they can implement the techniques in their hometowns. So education is hugely important in Nationwide Children's Hospital and we really take very seriously our role in preparing the next generation of medical leaders, not just here in our community or not just at our institution, but across the world.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. I think that as we think about academic medicine and training, research also goes into that because as you said, a lot of our folks, most of our folks are professors at Ohio State and they are doing a lot of research and I think 1 thing that would surprise folks who visit our campus is of course we've got you know the behavioral health pavilion we've got a beautiful tower building and we're building a second tower building that's just getting underway but there are also a lot of very large, multiple very large buildings dedicated to pediatric research that are part of the Abigail Wexner Research Institute. Talk a little bit about our research programs.

Scott McKenzie:     We had a former leader in the 1980s, Dr. Grant Morrow, who had a really good quote that research is how you actually solve problems. Clinical care is fixing conditions as they present today. Research is how you cure diseases. Research is how you prevent those clinical conditions from ever coming up.

Scott McKenzie:     So the hospital recognized early on the importance of research and as I mentioned in 1961 we opened Ross Hall at the time which was our first dedicated space to research and it was funded from a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Since then we've grown into a top 10 NIH funded institution. I always like to follow up that statement by showing by explaining that there's never enough money and federal funding for pediatric research. So when I on the 1 hand, I might kind of brag that we're a top 10 NIH institution. The point is really to show the validity of our ideas, not to suggest that we have enough money for research because there's never enough.

Scott McKenzie:     But today the Abigail Wexner Research Institute is really highlighted by 13 centers of emphasis that focus on everything from cancer research to cardiology research to injury prevention to prematurity and neonatal care. And that also includes things like the Institute for Genomic Medicine. Baverial Health, we recently announced that we're launching a new Institute for Baverial Health Research and Baverial Health might provide the most stark reminder of how important research is with the lack of available services around the country and the huge problem of pediatric behavioral health right now. We're not going to treat our way out of this issue. We can never build enough mental health hospital rooms to treat the problem.

Scott McKenzie:     Research and then prevention is the only way that we're going to get out from underneath this thing. And so Dr. Eric Youngstrom just started last week is leading our new Institute for behavioral and mental health research which will provide answers of getting upstream instead of just simply having to wait until a problem happens and then we treat it.

Dr Mike Patrick:     We are going to have links in the show notes as I have been mentioning to the Abigail Wexner Research Institute, also our education and training program. So any of the things that we've been talking about, if you head over to the show notes over at for episode 554, you will find a very large list of links for future reference for you or if you something that really catches your attention you can definitely read more about it by following those links in the show notes. 1 area that we have already sort of discussed is really the hospital support of families and siblings. We do have a lot of links that folks can look at to explore those things. Things like, as you mentioned, our sibling clubhouse, our family resource center.

Dr Mike Patrick:     We have child life specialists who really are focused in on making sure that kids are distracted, have things to play with, to do music therapy, those sorts of things. We have a very robust spiritual care program and 1 of the, in fact, it might be the largest Ronald McDonald house, I believe, or at least that's right up there. That's correct.

Scott McKenzie:     They took back the number 1 slot with their recent expansion.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. And so folks from out of town, it may be that you're coming and your child has therapy that's going to last a long time. You'd mentioned someone needing help for a year. So this is a place that folks can call upon as sort of home away from home. But even if you live 3 hours away and you've driven to come to the emergency room and we're saying, well, you know, maybe your child needs to be admitted to the hospital.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Maybe they don't. But that's a long drive back. There's also I've seen situations where folks have been able to spend a night in the Ronald McDonald house just before they go home in the morning. So really just lots of resources to meet families needs when they happen.

Scott McKenzie:     There's so much. There's just things you don't think about. I mean, we you go to the emergency room in the in the middle of the night. Your child is admitted. You didn't think to bring a toothbrush but philanthropy and corporate partners enable us to provide little welcome kits to families so we were able to give them a toothbrush, we were able to give them a comb.

Scott McKenzie:     You know, in my own case, I had children in the NICU that were born extremely prematurely and you know we had prepared we had car seats we had all that kind of stuff and the day 1 of my kids was being discharged nurse comes to us and says you know your your car seats not sufficient because there's actually like a special like preemie car seat. We didn't realize our child was gonna be that small when we were discharged. So we have all the blessings in life. We were able to be prepared. We have all the you know, the support needed and yet there was this scenario that we had not anticipated that our child was going to be that small coming home from the hospital and somebody came in and said this is what you need here and they installed it.

Scott McKenzie:     They took it and we were able to take our baby home. But there's so many things that when you have to go to the hospital, you cannot possibly foresee. Philanthropy and the compassionate leadership of Nationwide Children's enables us to meet so many of those needs. So families can focus on their kids and not focus on, I got to go buy a toothbrush or we have a pharmacy located in our main hospital. So you don't have to try to find a pharmacy that's open in 3 in the morning after you get discharged from the emergency room.

Scott McKenzie:     There's just so many things that we do to care for families who come here just because it's the right thing to do.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. Yeah. What are some future projects or expansions that are planned? I mentioned that we're building a new hospital tower that's going to be even bigger than the current hospital tower, which is very large. What are some of the other projects and expansions that we have planned in the future?

Scott McKenzie:     Well we have the the Orthopedic Surgical Center is opening soon so if people come to visit our campus that's on Livingston Avenue and that's near the Bayview Health Big Lots Pavilion and the Livingston Avenue Ambulatory Clinic. That's opening soon. The obviously the main hospital building, the kind of the sister, the sibling to our main hospital building is opening. I believe it's in 2029, but that's going to be really important because it's enabled us to have facilities for acute services. So we're going to be able to do things like fetal surgery which we currently do but we'll be able to do it better and with more facilities there in that new structure.

Scott McKenzie:     Organizationally, I'm really excited about the Institute for Behavioral Health Research that we mentioned. Dr. Eric Youngstrom was recruited away from North Carolina to lead that initiative and I'm really excited about the people that he's going to bring in and the types of research that they're going to do for behavioral health research going forward. And then we continue to invest heavily in population health. So there are big efforts planned for Linden and continuing in the south side of Columbus to help partner with those communities and help provide the best outcomes possible.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. We serve a really diverse community here in central Ohio. And I am amazed at how many patients come in that we have to use interpretive services for patients because there's just so many languages and folks from different areas and equity diversity and inclusion has also always been an important an important thing for Nationwide Children's Hospital. Tell us about our health equity diversity and inclusion programs.

Scott McKenzie:     We can always do more. No one's ever going to say that that we think we can rest on our laurels or that we've done enough. However, Nationwide Children's has always tried to invest in these programs. And HNHF was 1 that was mentioned that was started in 2008 that largely focuses on addressing social determinants of health and some historic inequities in health care. We recently have refocused 1 of our centers of excellence in the research center to be specifically focused on looking at inequities in health care.

Scott McKenzie:     And so Dr. Dena Chisholm leads that program and she holds an endowed chair specifically for health equity. Dr. Ray Bignall recently took over our chief diversity officer position in Nationwide Children's Hospital to try to make sure that our own staff better reflects the communities that we serve. And the translation department that you mentioned that it's massive, the list of languages that they can deal with.

Scott McKenzie:     I'm always surprised at, you know, the breadth of languages that we can accommodate at Nationwide Children's Hospital. And here again, when we look at languages, philanthropy has played a key role because we had a gift some years ago that enabled us to translate a lot of written materials into different languages. There was also a program that enabled us to create pictures and images that showed parents how to use certain techniques and certain gadgets that didn't rely on words at all. So it didn't have to be translated. It was like, you know, years ago you used to get the computer manuals and there were these massive books of how to set up your computer and then finally you ended up with, it was just a poster and it just was all graphics.

Scott McKenzie:     And so philanthropy enabled us to do a lot of those more image-based teaching tools to get away from language issues or literacy issues. So hospital has long tried to be as diverse and as equal as the communities that we serve. We know that we have a long way to go. There's still much, much more that we have to do, but we look forward to those challenges and look forward to creating a tomorrow that better reflects our patients.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Yeah. Yeah. So, so important. How can listeners then really get involved and support Nationwide Children's Hospital? There's really a wide variety of ways that they can do that.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And we have a lot of listeners outside of Ohio. Actually 80% of our audience is outside of Ohio. But we really value the support of families and folks everywhere as we really try to make a difference for kids everywhere, whether that be through clinical services that maybe are not offered in a particular part of the country and really these instances where we help kids from around the world and as we do research which obviously benefits everybody in pediatrics. How can folks really give and support Nationwide Children's? You've talked about philanthropy a lot.

Dr Mike Patrick:     How can folks actually find a way to help out and give?

Scott McKenzie: slash give or you can go to the main nationwide children's dot org page and there's there's a giving section at the top but the website is nationwide children's dot org slash give. The important thing that we want people to realize is that philanthropy in supporting the mission of Nationwide Children's Hospital does not necessarily mean large sums of money, nor does it mean money at all. We need and appreciate the support of people, whether it's they're sharing their story, whether they agree to host a fundraiser, whether they want to be a patient champion, whether they want to post on social media about our hospital. We all have a role to play and ultimately when it comes down to it, you never know which dollar is going to be the 1 that's going to cure cancer. So whether someone can make a large gift that gets headlines in the newspapers or whether somebody can give $1 that makes a difference.

Scott McKenzie:     We recently had a case last week and we've not even got permission from the donor to share all of this. So I'm going to have to be a little bit vague, but a donor made a gift to support project Adam at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Project Adam is a national effort to provide AED equipment to schools throughout the country. And there was a school in Henry County last week where a staff member had a cardiac arrest. The AED that project Adam provided was used and revived the staff member.

Scott McKenzie:     And so we're going to be able to go to that donor and quite literally show your gift bought this piece of equipment that saved this educators life. That's tremendously powerful. And we all can do those things in our own way. It might be a social media post that you share. The case that I mentioned of separating the conjoined twins from Africa, that started because someone in a faith-based organization posted on Facebook that they knew of this heartbreaking case.

Scott McKenzie:     Can anyone help them? Another person saw that social media post and reached out to 1 of our doctors and our doctor said, yeah, we can do that. So you never know what's going to make a huge difference in a single child's life. So if you go to nationwidechildren' slash give, you'll find opportunities to donate financially. Yes.

Scott McKenzie:     But you'll also find opportunities to get involved in other ways that help us meet our mission of caring for every child for every reason.

Dr Mike Patrick:     And that includes, by the way, volunteering for the hospital. And we have very robust adult volunteering program and a teen volunteer scholarship as well, especially for teenagers who may be interested in health sciences in terms of a career and being able to get some real life experience in a hospital environment. And of course, we'll have links in the show notes to our volunteering programs and also ways to give. But it's very easy. slash give can't get any easier than that and all those links again are going to be in the show notes.

Dr Mike Patrick:     I just I was counting them up and there's over 30 links to further information about Nationwide Children's and all of the the programs that we've been talking about there, you know, We could go on for another couple hours easily talking about all of these things, but we are at an hour now. And I just really appreciate, Scott, you taking time out of your busy schedule and being here to talk about these things. Because here on Pediacast, we really focus on pediatric diseases and injuries and parenting issues. But this, I think, is the first time that we've really sort of turned the mirror on ourselves and looked inward at where we've come from. And so this has really been an interesting conversation and journey and all of us really appreciate you being here and sharing.

Dr Mike Patrick:     So again, Scott McKenzie, Assistant Vice President of External Relations for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation. Thank you so much for being here today.

Scott McKenzie:     You're welcome. Thanks for having me

Dr Mike Patrick:     We are back with just enough time to say thanks once again to all of you for taking time out of your day and making Pediacast a part of it. Always appreciate that. Also, thank you to our guest this week, Scott McKenzie, assistant vice president of external relations with the nationwide children's hospital foundation. Don't forget you can find this wherever podcasts are found who are in the Apple and Google podcast apps. I heart radio, Spotify, soundcloud, Amazon music, YouTube, and most other podcast apps for iOS and Android.

Dr Mike Patrick:     If you find a place that has podcasts and we are not there, please let us know. And we have that handy contact page at the website. You can let us know that way and we'll do our best to get on whatever platform it is that you listen to podcasts. I think we're on most of them. If you find something out there, please do let me know.

Dr Mike Patrick:     We also have that landing site that I mentioned, Not only is there a handy contact page there, we also have our entire archive of past programs, show notes for each of the episodes, our terms of use agreement, and again, that contact page if you would like to suggest a future topic for the show or let us know where we are not in the podcast world. Reviews are helpful wherever you get your podcast. We always appreciate when you share your thoughts about the show. And again, we're on social media, Facebook, Instagram, threads, LinkedIn, and Twitter, X, simply search for Pediacast.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Also want to remind you about our sibling podcast, Pediacast CME. Similar to this program, we do turn the science up a couple notches and offer free continuing medical education credit for those who listen. It is a category 1 credit and it's for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, and dentists. And it's because we are jointly accredited by all of those professional organizations. So it's likely we offer the exact credits you need to fulfill your state's continuing medical education requirements, but you will want to be sure the content of the episode matches your scope of practice.

Dr Mike Patrick:     Shows and details are available at the landing site for that program, You can also listen wherever podcasts are found. Simply search for PDA Cast CME. Thanks again for stopping by and until next time, this is Dr. Mike saying stay safe, stay healthy, and stay involved with your kids.

Dr Mike Patrick:     So long everybody!

Announcer:     This program is a production of Nationwide Children's. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on Pediacast.

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