Published on February 26th, 2020 by Christina Echegaray.

The start of a new year often marks a time of reflection and looking forward with intention. The core of our mission and daily work at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is to serve all children, and their families, through the delivery of specialized medical and surgical programs. This vision was set forth by the late Ann and Monroe Carell Jr. in the earliest phases of planning for this hospital, now nearly 20 years ago, and is integral to how we plan both small and big projects. 

Last year was a big year for us! Thanks to the successful Growing to New Heights capital campaign, we opened the first of our expansion floors mid-summer. In December, we opened our surgical clinic location in Murfreesboro. These added spaces have allowed us to begin the process of geographically co-locating patients by disease, further enhancing our specialized care. Once again, we were ranked in all 10 specialties in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Even as we celebrated these successes, we walked the final weeks and days with our leader, colleague and friend, Luke Gregory, Children’s Hospital CEO, as his chapter with lymphoma came to a close in October. 

Luke believed in the mission of this hospital with his whole being. He worked diligently to facilitate all of our activities — clinical care that was both excellent and innovative, research and education. He helped to launch new programs and projects, including the expansion and the off-site surgical center. 

Luke lived his life grounded in faith, family and purpose. For nearly 10 years, his purpose was ensuring the excellence and growth of our hospital. He believed in the phrase “Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital is more than a place….it is the people committed to providing healing and hope.” He was very proud of all the people who work in this hospital. Those of us closest to him grew from his mentoring and daily doses of wisdom. And, throughout his journey with cancer, he drew hope for himself from our patients and the courage they display every day. Luke truly made a difference in the lives of children in our city, our state and our region. It was a privilege to work with Luke in our service to children and their families. This issue of Hope is in his memory.


Meg Rush, MD, MMHC

Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP
Pediatrician-in-Chief, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and James C. Overall Professor

Jeffrey Upperman, MD
Surgeon-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery

John W. Brock III, MD
Senior Vice President of Pediatric Surgical Services, Monroe Carell Jr. Professor, Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus