Mission Moment

Published on July 6th, 2023 by Christina Echegaray.

We all look forward to the longer and warmer days of spring and summer, which bring a renewal of sorts to us following the dreariness and darkness of winter. Yet this spring, our community experienced an unthinkable tragedy of the darkest kind. As the trauma center serving our community, our teams became intimately connected to the Covenant School tragedy on that March day, as they sprang into action to care for our community’s children. With the stark realization that medical aid wouldn’t help, they offered a different kind of healing for the families.

This is what we do every day at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt: support our community with compassion, hope and healing through our actions — whether direct patient care, exemplary teamwork across disciplines, continuous learning together, or in our search for novel approaches.

In this issue of Hope, we share with you a few examples of this work with the theme of teamwork and the goal of personalized care — all told through patient stories. Over the last decade plus, we have built a world-class pediatric cancer program with numerous services available in our state only at Monroe Carell. We share several of these programs, highlighting how your generosity helps us deliver improved outcomes.

Another program that brings discovery to the bedside is our Vanderbilt Undiagnosed Diseases Program, managed by our genetics division in Monroe Carell. This program serves infants to adults, with the ability to make a significantly larger impact possible through the Potocsnak Center for Undiagnosed and Rare Disorders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Through our Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, our team individualizes care for children and adolescents with epilepsy to find the right treatments — from nutrition to medications to surgery — in hopes of eliminating or controlling seizure activity and to maximize a child’s quality of life.

The common thread through our work is passion for advancing the care of children and collaboration. The supporting teams behind our clinical teams are also essential to the unique work we do. These include but are not limited to our music therapy program; our pharmacy, nutrition and social work teams; and our environmental services and transport teams, each bringing their own expertise to ensure personalized care.

We could not do what we do every day without the support of our community. You stand by us and help make our visions become reality, and for that we are so very grateful. Your incredible support translates to optimism which in turn allows us to offer hope and healing every single day to those we serve.


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