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Children’s National Health System Dedicates Gilbert Family Professorships in Neurofibromatosis

January 08, 2014

Washington, DC – Children’s National Health System today installed Roger J. Packer, MD, and Yuan Zhu, PhD, as the inaugural Gilbert Family Professors in Neurofibromatosis. The professorships, funded through the generosity of Jennifer and Dan Gilbert, will allow Dr. Packer and Dr. Zhu to dedicate their time to advance the science to improve care and research for neurofibromatosis.

The Gilberts made a commitment to establish the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute in 2007 and with this additional gift are committed to expanding neurofibromatosis research and its translation into clinical care at Children’s National. As part of this new commitment, the Gilberts created three Professorships in Neurofibromatosis that will help to retain, recruit, and support world-class faculty in this area.

“The Gilbert family has been incredibly generous to Children’s National,” said Kurt D. Newman, President and CEO of Children’s National. “Their vision to advance neurofibromatosis research, education, and patient care has changed the lives of so many children and families.”

As the head of the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute, Dr. Packer was named the Gilbert Family Distinguished Professor of Neurofibromatosis, and his focus will be improving treatment for children with the neurologic disease.

As the Scientific Director of the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute, Dr. Zhu was named the Gilbert Family Professor of Neurofibromatosis Research, allowing him to focus on neurofibromatosis research and its translation into clinical care.

Neurofibromatosis is an unpredictable genetic disorder. It can have complex symptoms including tumors of the brain, optic nerves, and the nervous system, and it often creates learning disabilities, sleep disorders, and depression.

About Children's National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has served the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is one of the nation’s Top 5 pediatric hospitals and, for a second straight year, is ranked No. 1 in newborn care, as well as ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. It has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C. Metropolitan area, including the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is the seventh-highest NIH-funded pediatric institution in the nation. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. 

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