Kansas City,
10:38 AM

Children's Mercy honors first Eminent Scholars in 119-year history

Donald J. Hall and the late Joyce C. Hall make prestigious endowed positions possible

Kansas City, MO – November 16, 2016 – Children’s Mercy made history Monday, Nov. 14, by honoring its first two Eminent Scholars since the pediatric medical center was founded nearly 120 years ago. The formal investiture ceremony at Westin Crown Center also celebrated two visionary civic leaders – father and son from Kansas City’s iconic Hall family – whose philanthropy has fueled the progress of Children’s Mercy for more than half a century.

The Joyce C. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatrics was bestowed upon Michael Artman, MD, Senior Vice President and Pediatrician-in-Chief at Children’s Mercy who also chairs the Department of Pediatrics of the schools of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas.

The Donald J. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Research was awarded to Tom Curran, PhD, FRS, Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director of the Children’s Research Institute at Children’s Mercy. He is professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Margi Hall Pence shared poignant remarks about her father and late grandfather at the historic celebration that included family, friends and colleagues of the honorees, many of the endowed chair-holders at Children’s Mercy, and the organization’s leading donors and volunteers.

“Eminent Scholar” is academic medicine’s highest honor, reserved for internationally recognized medical scientists and researchers whose contributions may lead to more effective treatments and lifesaving cures. Like endowed chairs, Eminent Scholars are endowed positions made possible by forward-thinking donors whose transformational gifts provide ongoing support for research and education.

Joyce C. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatrics

The first Eminent Scholar named at Children’s Mercy, Dr. Artman’s clinical interests are pediatric cardiology and heart failure. He conducts research in the area of excitation-contraction coupling and regulation of contractile function in the immature heart. He joined Children’s Mercy in 2010 as the Joyce C. Hall Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, which was established in 1967 as the hospital’s first endowed chair.

Hallmark Cards founder “J.C.” Hall created the position while co-chairing a capital campaign with former U.S. President Harry Truman to build a state-of-the-art pediatric medical center at 24th and Gillham — Children’s Mercy on Hospital Hill opened in 1970.

Thanks to the late Mr. Hall’s foresight to invest in pediatric research, Dr. Artman’s endowed chair recently was elevated to better reflect his stature and significant contributions to the field of pediatric medicine.

Dr. Artman learned he’d been named the first Eminent Scholar at Children’s Mercy during a surprise ceremony Sept. 20. In addressing the investiture ceremony audience, Dr. Artman thanked the Hall family and recalled a personal memory from 1967.

“In 1967 when the Joyce C. Hall chair was established, I was in high school working at my father’s drug store in Hays, Kansas, and part of my job was to stock the Hallmark cards. Had I known then that this would come full circle, I wouldn’t have believed it. I am humbled and deeply honored. Thank you to the Hall family for their unwavering support and visionary leadership for Children’s Mercy, the Kansas City community and beyond. Their contributions to improving the lives of children in our society are broad, deep and profound.”

Donald J. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Research

An internationally renowned scientist and leader in pediatric cancer research, Dr. Curran is a professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Dr. Curran is recognized for numerous research breakthroughs. His most recent work focuses on pediatric brain tumors, brain development and genomics to seek more effective treatments for childhood brain tumors. Research interests have spanned molecular biology, neurobiology and cancer research. His nearly 300 published research articles have been cited more than 50,000 times.

In his remarks during the investiture ceremony, Dr. Curran thanked the Hall family and spoke about Don Hall’s advocacy and transformational philanthropic support for our Children’s Research Institute:

“I want to thank the Hall family for bringing me to Kansas City, particularly Don Hall for making this possible. You represent the Kansas City values that make this environment so very special. We are inspired by what you’ve been able to achieve. Don Hall has the highest integrity of any individual I’ve ever met in my life. Having a chair with Don Hall’s name is a high honor, and I will strive to live up to that name. I will do everything I can to create the best children’s research institute and children’s hospital in the world. We want to be the very best anywhere in the world. Our children deserve it.”

Donald J. Hall endowed Dr. Curran’s position as Eminent Scholar late in 2015. Mr. Hall led Hallmark Cards during a phenomenal period of growth and innovation, then has continued his influence as Chairman of the Board for the past 30 years. He has long set the standard for corporate citizens in Kansas City and beyond.

“The love Don and Adele Hall shared for Children’s Mercy and its patients can be felt in virtually every corner of our pediatric medical center,” said Jenea Oliver, PhD, Vice President of Philanthropy. “The Halls have been our tireless champions on local, state and national levels for 50 years, serving on our governing boards, volunteering and playing key roles in capital campaigns that have allowed Children’s mercy to provide the best care possible to kids across our region.”

After Mrs. Hall’s death in 2013, the Hospital Hill location was renamed the Adele Hall Campus to honor her years of service. Currently, Mr. Hall’s advocacy and philanthropic support for the Children’s Research Institute have been a catalyst in accelerating progress toward realizing Dr. Curran’s vision to raise Children’s Mercy from being a truly excellent children’s hospital to one of the top children’s research hospitals, not just in the U.S., but in the world.

Children’s Mercy currently has 20 Eminent Scholar and endowed chair positions, with the goal of increasing that number to 30 by the end of 2020.

Children’s Mercy Eminent Scholars and Endowed Chairs

  • Michael Artman, MD, Joyce C. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatrics
  • Timothy L. Bennett, MD, Elizabeth J. Ferrell Chair in Maternal Fetal Medicine
  • Karen S. Cox, PhD, RN, FAAN, V. Fred Burry, MD, and Sandra Hobart Burry Chair in Nursing Advocacy and Leadership
  • Tom Curran, PhD, FRS, Donald J. Hall Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Research
  • James F. Daniel, MD, James F. Daniel, MD, Endowed Chair in Liver Care
  • Kathy Goggin, PhD, Ernest L. Glasscock, MD, Chair in Pediatric Education and Research
  • George W. Holcomb III, MD, MBA, Katharine B. Richardson Chair in Pediatric Surgery
  • Cheri E. Hunt, RN, BSN, MHA, Bernell Hevner O’Donnell, RN, Endowed Chair – Chief Nursing Officer
  • J. Steven Leeder, PharmD, PhD, Marion Merrell Dow/Missouri Chair in Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology
  • James E. O’Brien Jr., MD, FACS, Jerry Smith Chair in Pediatrics
  • Bradford W. Olney, MD, Dr. Rex and Lillian Diveley Chair in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Charles C. Roberts, MD, Schellhorn Family Endowed Chair in Medical Administration
  • Girish S. Shirali, MBBS, FASE, FACC, Melva and Randall L. O’Donnell, PhD, Chair in Pediatric Cardiology
  • James D. St. Louis, MD, Joseph Boon Gregg/Missouri Endowed Chair in Cardiac Surgery
  • William E. Truog III, MD, Sosland Chair in Neonatology Research
  • Shui Qing Ye, MD, PhD, William R. Brown/Missouri Endowed Chair in Medical Genetics and Molecular Medicine

Open chairs under recruitment

  • Thomas Holder/Keith Ashcraft Chair in Pediatric Surgical Research
  • Dee Lyons/Missouri Endowed Chair in Pediatric Genomic Medicine
  • Marion Merrell Dow/Missouri Chair in Pediatric Medical Research
  • Marion Merrell Dow/Missouri Chair in Pharmacogenetics

About Children’s Mercy Kansas City

Founded in 1897, Children’s Mercy is one of the nation’s top pediatric medical centers. With not-for-profit hospitals in Missouri and Kansas, and numerous specialty clinics in both states, Children’s Mercy provides the highest level of care for children from birth through the age of 21. U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly ranked Children’s Mercy as one of “America's Best Children's Hospitals.” For the fourth time in a row, Children’s Mercy has achieved Magnet nursing designation, awarded to fewer than seven percent of all hospitals nationally, for excellence in quality care. Its faculty of more than 700 pediatric subspecialists and researchers across more than 40 subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research, and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists. Thanks to generous philanthropic and volunteer support, Children’s Mercy provides medical care to every child who passes through its doors, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. For more information about Children’s Mercy and its research, visit childrensmercy.org. For breaking news and videos, follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.