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Children's Mercy Researchers Receive Academic Recognition and Donor Support

Battling diseases and unraveling the mysteries of rare illnesses and ailments calls for a special kind of hero. The researcher. No matter whether they are benchside or bedside, these bold individuals delve deep into their work and dedicate their careers to the quest for answers.

On April 1, three Children’s Mercy researchers — Susan Abdel-Rahman, PharmD, Shao Jiang, MD, and Cy Nadler, PhD — were honored through donor support, at an Investiture ceremony symbolizing the investment in their research to not only impact kids locally, but also their commitment to help children across the globe.

“Our research vision is to become a convener and a partner with others in the biomedical research field. Research allows us to bring everything full circle by bringing learnings to the bedside and then back to the research bench,” says Children’s Mercy CEO Paul Kempinski. “Dr. Abdel-Rahman, Dr. Jiang and Dr. Nadler are making game-changing progress in their fields which will come back to benefit patients at a local level and around the world. That progress is thanks, in no small part, to the generous donors who made each of these endowed positions possible.”

Susan Abdel-Rahman, PharmD, received the Marion Merrell Dow/Missouri Chair in Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology which will allow her to pursue research into drug discovery for underserved populations, technology development that will empower providers and patients and engagement initiatives to improve access for all children. This chair is made possible with thanks to Fred Lyons and Edward M. Connolly, trustees of the Marion Merrell Dow trust.

Dr. Abdel-Rahman invented a device, approved by the FDA in 2015, designed to quickly evaluate a child’s health by measuring the circumference of their arm. The device can be cheaply produced and easily used to support underserved communities around the world to measure malnourishment. “Growth and nutrition are foundational elements of child development. They are vital signs that speak to the health and well-being of a child. Inconceivably, the ability to assess these remains a significant challenge in many settings,” Dr. Abdel-Rahman says.

Shao Jiang, MD, received the Frederick J. McCoy Endowed Chair in Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Research which will allow him and his team to advance learnings in the area of cleft and craniofacial surgery. This chair is made possible thanks to Dr. McCoy’s grandson, Tucker Trotter, his wife Mandi, and their family.

In addition to the 3,000 active patients in the Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic at Children’s Mercy, Dr. Jiang accompanies a team of surgeons on medical mission trips to Latin America. During their 2019 trip, the team performed 64 surgeries over a period of five days.

“I strongly believe that life-changing surgery should be available to all kids, no matter their locations or socioeconomic status…as a group of highly trained medical professionals, [we] care deeply about the welfare of all the kids suffering from maladies that can be treated,” Dr. Jiang says.

Cy Nadler, PhD, received the Josh Barnds and Stella Carlson Endowed Professorship for Autism which will allow his clinic to grow their ability to learn more from the patients they interact with every day, particularly as they prepare to launch a new parent coaching program.. This chair is made possible by Paul A. Barnds and Shawn R. Sabin, MD.

In addition to his research at Children’s Mercy, Dr. Nadler is also working with the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) on their Study to Explore Early Development. This is the CDC’s largest study of autism and child development. Dr. Nadler and his team are collecting local data that will help answer the many questions that remain around autism such as who is prone to develop it and the best ways to support children with autism and their families.

“Improving the lives of children and families through direct clinical services is incredibly important; and research that allows us to deliver better care serves that same goal,” Dr. Nadler says.


Learn about the Children's Research Institute at Children's Mercy and how we're using research to imrpove outcomes and patient care.

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