Skip to main content.

How Your Dollars Make Miracles 

The Pediatrics Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center is proud to be the local CMN Hospital in the Greater Kansas City area. The funds raised through CMN events go directly to fund pediatric research initiatives taking place exclusively at KU Medical Center. In addition, funds help sick and injured children being treated at the University of Kansas Health System. These dollars are used to pay for charitable care, equipment, supplies and educational programs.

Getting to Know Dr. Stephen Lauer

Dr Lauer Head shotSitting in Dr. Lauer’s office, you can quickly get a little peek of who he is. An avid Kansas Jayhawk fan, proud University of Kansas alumni, and a travel enthusiast. Perhaps even a bit of a window into his personal and professional philosophy from a sign that reads, “Everything I need to know, I learned in Kindergarten.”

Dr. Lauer has been a pediatrician for the University of Kansas Medical Center since 2001 after completing his undergrad at the University of Kansas and receiving his medical degree from the University of California- Irvine. His initial plan was to go into cardiovascular research but found that the rewards of research were very long-term, as a result, it was hard to see the impact.

After working as a Staff Physician for the University of California- San Francisco, he decided that pediatrics was a better fit and a more positive field of medicine. He liked the reward of helping kids live up to their potential while being a supportive arm in their development instead of providing the reactive care that comes with treating adults. Plus, kids are much better patients and parents are better listeners!

Dr. Lauer has worked in the pediatric field for over 23 years and reflected on his time in medical school. He said the hardest part was feeling like he was learning from a fire hose with the immense amount of information that needed to be learned and put into practice. As an Associate Professor for Pediatrics, he has seen firsthand how medical school has changed over the years from memorization to discussion and interactive based learning with more of an emphasis on how to communicate and build relationships with patients. He challenges future doctors to understand the pathway of a physician vs. a healer, the best advice he’s received. Instead of acting superior, Dr. Lauer talks about creating an equal partnership with patients and providing care with them and not for them. As a result, doctors are engaging with patients in ways that matter which will yield more successful outcomes in their treatment and overall health care. This philosophy is demonstrated in how Dr. Lauer communicates with his patients; he gives them the space and time to ask the questions they have. In return, he provides the assurance that parents will get help when they need it. He clearly understands that at the end of the day, that assurance is really all parents are looking for especially when their child is sick.

Dr. Lauer is grateful to have CMN serve the KUMC campus because it allows the pediatrics department to provide services and value-added care that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. As Dr. Lauer noted, having CMN funding, is the difference between doing it and doing it well. The support of CMN also gives pediatrics the reach and access to care for pediatric patients in departments such as Ophthalmology, Proton Therapy, mental health, and many other areas in the future.

When he’s not busy helping kiddos feel better, Dr. Lauer is cheering on the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse, traveling with his wife and showing her all the fun activities KC has to offer.  Although his favorite foods are KC BBQ and cookies, he is learning the different ways tofu can be prepared compliments of wife!

Thanks Dr. Lauer for being in incredible pediatrician and CMN advocate!

CMN Funding Supports Parents as Teachers at KUMC

There is nothing more exciting than becoming a new parent.  The awe and wonder that comesParents As Teachers with each new milestone your baby reaches is a joy that cannot be explained.  Taking your infant to those early well-child visits can be both exciting and nerve-wrecking.  All the questions begin to run through your mind: Is my child developing the way they are supposed to?  Other babies are rolling over/sitting up/walking at this age, but mine isn’t – is something wrong?  While every child truly does develop differently and on their own schedule, it is good to know that should there be a delay in reaching developmental milestones, the Parents as Teachers program is there to help.

Founded in Missouri in 1981, the Parents as Teachers Program aims to promote the optimal early development, learning and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.  This partnership encourages parents to embrace their important role as their child’s first and most influential teacher. 

Parents As Teachers -2 When a child comes to KU Medical Center for a well-child visit, the parents complete a Survey of Well-being of Young Children (SWYC).  This survey will give the medical provider detailed information about parental concerns regarding speech and development of the child.  If there are concerns, the Parent Educator, Blanca Menendez, will meet with the family in clinic and assist them with the appropriate referrals to other resources.  She may also give the parents “homework” to help with speech and gross motor development.  She will encourage them to limit screen time and have the parents play and make silly sounds with their child (speech development) and promote tummy time on the floor (gross motor development).  The goal is to prepare the child for preschool (age 4), but if needed, connect them with their local school district earlier (age 3) for special education services. 

 Children’s Miracle Network is proud to fund the Parents as Teachers program on the KU Medical Center campus.  In 2023, Blanca referred 764 families to community resources for their children, which is a 22% increase over 2022.  She works closely with local school districts, organizations like Infant & Toddler Services, MO First Steps and more to ensure that each family has the early education resources they need for their child.

Celebrating Music Therapy Awareness

The Marillac Mental Health Clinic is the University of Kansas Medical Center’s inpatient pediatricMusic Therapy - Group psychiatric center, serving kids 4 – 17. Last year, Marillac served over 3,000 pediatric patients in the Kansas City area struggling with mental health issues ranging from anxiety and depression to ADHD, Autism, and suicidal ideation. Through Marillac’s services, kids receive the treatment they need to overcome some of the most difficult issues one can face. 

This March, we celebrate Music Therapy Awareness Month and the work that Marillac is doing with its music therapy program to improve kid’s lives. Music therapists at Marillac work to address a variety of goals with their patients, such as increasing self-expression, building effective communication, and creating positive coping skills. In the music therapy room, patients are able to work through traumas through a variety of effective techniques, such as lyric analysis, songwriting, group instrument play, and music-assisted relaxation.

Guitar Lab This past year, Children’s Miracle Network dollars helped facilitate the purchase of several items to enhance the music therapy department at Marillac, such as purchasing guitars for a guitar lab, several ukuleles, drums, and noise-reducing headphones. Music therapy works best with patients get to select their instrument of choice, and there was an overwhelming number of patients who continued to request guitars. With the help of CMN dollars, this dream became a reality, and now children are welcomed into the music therapy room with a beautiful wall of usable guitars!

Fundraising Corner

Extra Life

EL PhotoIn 2023, our local community raised nearly $100,000 for KU Medical Center through the Extra Life program. Gamers throughout the greater Kansas City area played games of their choice in honor of kids at the hospital, all while fundraising for them.

Next month, Extra Lifers will celebrate Tabletop Appreciation Weekend, where they will play tabletop games with friends in person or online and fundraise for kids! Join the movement on April 12-14 by playing your favorite board game and donating through the link below!

Credit Unions for Kids

Azura CU The Azura Credit Union Employee Foundation has provided funds to the Children's Miracle Network program for special projects in the Proton Therapy department at KU Medical Center. The center, one of the 39 proton therapy centers in the country, uses advanced technology to target tumors while limiting exposure to surrounding areas.

To improve the experience, staff decorate personalized thermoplastic masks with patients' favorite characters and sports teams, making the treatment more comfortable for the child and their family. The staff also provides small gifts, movie passes, and tickets to fun experiences for pediatric patients.

The Azura Employee Foundation grant allows the Children's Miracle Network to fund similar projects in the Proton Therapy department, making treatments more manageable for kids. Azura Credit Union is expanding its presence in the KC metro area, with locations in Lenexa, Olathe, and a new branch in Mission.

Upcoming Events

Panda Express Image
Round Up Ask
January - December 

Ace Logo
April 1 - April 30

Here's what's happening

Our efforts are made possible through local partnerships and campaigns.

Check out how to you can help local kids!

Get Involved

Find out what's happening in real time by following us on Instagram.


Visit our blog for the latest Children's Miracle Network Hospitals of Greater Kansas City stories.

Read blog entries
CMN staff holding giant donation check prop

We Need Your Help

Every donation is essential so that all families will have access to extraordinary medical care and state of the art equipment. Help ensure incredible stories of hope and recovery by donating today.
Make a Gift
Children's Miracle Network KC Heartland

Children’s Miracle Network KC Heartland
P.O. Box 3245
Kansas City, KS 66103
Phone: 913-588-9100
Fax: 913-588-9101