Six years ago, a team at Children’s Hospital — including sports medicine specialists, Emergency Department doctors, research engineers and others — was convinced there were great strides to be made in treating children with concussions.

Christina Master, MD with patient Samantha, 11, is evaluated by Christina Master, MD Concussions were under-diagnosed and inconsistently treated, leading to pain, confusion and suffering for many children and families. This team knew they could help — they just needed funding to get started.

And they found it: The Chair’s Initiatives, an internal grant program in CHOP’s Department of Pediatrics, provided seed money.

Today, Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter is a pre-eminent source of information for pediatricians, schools, coaches, families and others. Team members have published dozens of informative papers and traveled around the country and the world lecturing and teaching. Most importantly, they’ve helped improve diagnosis and treatment for thousands of children.

Now repeat that story more than 30 times, across a variety of pediatric diagnoses and system challenges. That’s the Chair’s Initiatives. The program has gained a reputation as an incubator for success in the decade since its founding by Alan Cohen, MD, then Physician-in-Chief, and Alison Marx, operating officer for the Department of Pediatrics. It continues today with support from current Physician-in-Chief Joseph St. Geme III, MD.

Teams have included 92 physicians, 18 PhDs, 11 nurses and nurse practitioners, and 24 others. They’ve published more than 150 papers and made more than 250 presentations. And they’ve brought more than $17 million in external funding to CHOP, both in government funds and donor support, to sustain and expand their efforts after the Chair’s Initiatives grants concluded.

Innovation in many areas

Among the many successful initiatives: a program to ensure that children in foster care receive quality healthcare; a clinic where cancer survivors can see oncologists, cardiologists, endocrinologists and other specialists in one visit; and a program for children with a rare allergic disorder of the esophagus — which now draws families from around the country.

This decade of excellence was celebrated recently at a reception at CHOP. Among those who spoke was sports medicine specialist Christina Master, MD, a founder of the concussion program. “When we were just an idea among ourselves, you saw what we could do,” she said.

Among those in attendance at the event: the newest grant recipients, who just started their efforts and will build on the Chair’s Initiatives’ rich history of working to help children and to build healthier communities.