June 28, 2012
|David Cook, Ph.D. Associate Vice Chancellor for Outreach|
Dr. Stites was on vacation earlier this week, so I am happy to fill in and bring you some news from KU Medical Center's Institute for Community Engagement.
In the heart of downtown Kansas City, Kan., a beautiful three-story building has become a haven for families with at-risk children. The $15 million Children's Campus opened in 2010 and offers a range of child care, health care and support services for hundreds of families in Wyandotte County.
It is safe to say that the Children's Campus would not exist if it weren't for the dogged determination of Martha Staker, president and chief executive officer of the Children's Campus and the director of KU Medical Center's Project EAGLE, whose Educare center occupies the ground floor of the campus. Staker was the driving force behind the Children's Campus project. Through her work at Project EAGLE, she saw children in Wyandotte County falling through the cracks, and she dared to dream of a place where services for at-risk children and their families could be found under one roof. Staker spent more than six years pursuing the $15 million needed to renovate the building for the facility, and her dream became a reality when the campus opened on June 8, 2010.
Staker is retiring next week and we are all going to miss her tenacious commitment to the well-being of children and families in our community. Through her leadership at Project EAGLE, which is part of the Department of Pediatrics, thousands of children and families now have access to quality early childhood education, parenting education, family support, and health care services (health, mental health, and dental health care).
As she prepares to step down next week, Staker has expressed her appreciation for being part of the KU Medical Center team, saying she is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with her colleagues at the medical center and in the community to provide innovative and creative ways to improve outcomes for children. I think it's safe to say that Staker epitomizes what we try to do at the Institute for Community Engagement: collaborating with health care providers, community leaders and like-minded organizations in every Kansas county and in dozens of other communities throughout the region and world to improve health.
We will miss her greatly - but we take great comfort in knowing that thousands of children in our community have better lives because of her hard work and dedication.
KU Medical Center has received a $1 million gift to create a physiology professorship. KU Endowment on Monday announced the gift from Jim Osborn of Honolulu, Hawaii. The gift honors Osborn's daughter, who worked in physiology at the medical center in 1968 and 1969 before dying in a car accident in 1970. At the time of her death, Kathleen Osborn was a junior at the University of Missouri. Paul Cheney, Ph.D., chairman of the molecular and integrative physiology department, is the first recipient of the Kathleen M. Osborn Chair in Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Details here.