Boys Town National Research Hospital has received a gift of $2 million to establish the Susan and George Haddix Endowed Chair for the Center of Neurobehavioral Research, to support and expand efforts to improve the lives of children with behavioral and mental health problems.
This is the first endowed research chair at Boys Town Hospital. It has been created as part of the organization's ongoing commitment to enhance translational pediatric neuroscience research – meaning discoveries found by researchers in the lab are directly applied to improve outcomes in behavioral healthcare.
"We are truly grateful for Susan and George's deep understanding and compassion toward helping children in need of behavioral and mental health care, and for their generous contribution that will help sustain neuroscience research at Boys Town Hospital for many years to come," said John Arch, Hospital Director and Executive Vice President of Health Care at Boys Town. "I am pleased to announce Dr. James Blair will be appointed to the Susan and George Haddix Endowed Chair for Neurobehavioral Research."
Dr. Blair, Director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children, joined Boys Town Hospital in August 2016, after 12 years at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is internationally recognized for his contributions toward better understanding conduct disorders in children and adolescents by using brain imaging technology to study behavioral traits.
"I am honored to be appointed to this prestigious position and grateful that the need for this research is being recognized," said Blair. "Our work is just beginning. What we uncover today can be applied to new studies tomorrow, in hopes that one day we will know how to help all children who have behavioral and mental health problems."
Childhood behavioral and mental health problems, if left untreated, have profound implications for the individuals as well as society. The goal of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research is to understand what is physiologically happening in the brain of a troubled child so that the right interventions can be applied for that individual child. This research moves beyond mere observation of behaviors to developing scientific ways of diagnosing and treating problems like depression, anxiety, aggression and ADHD.
"I was excited to hear of the neuroscience research at Boys Town Hospital," said Susan Haddix. "To me, the real problem is that we expect a troubled child to function the same as a child without behavioral concerns. This research is going to look deeper into understanding why children are having these problems. Then, one at a time, we will know how to help each child and family, and in doing so, make a real change."
Susan has been actively working to help troubled children and adolescents in the Omaha community for more than 20 years. She has been a long-time volunteer with Child Saving Institute and currently serves on their Board of Directors. She also has been serving on the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board for 20 years and was recently appointed to serve on their newly formed Probation Review Board. This spring, Susan will join the Boys Town National Board of Trustees, serving on the national youth care committee.
George Haddix, Ph.D., has been a prominent leader in computer engineering and software, having served as CEO for PKWare Inc., Applied Communications, CSG Systems International and US West.
The new era of neurobehavioral research couples George's interest in science and technology with Susan's passion to help children and families.
"We're proud to help this new endeavor at Boys Town Hospital," said Haddix. "This research is ground-breaking and shows great promise that the emotional and behavioral problems that stem from childhood neglect and abuse don't have to be a lifetime diagnosis. We can make a difference and change the future for these vulnerable children."
As benefactors of the first endowed research chair at Boys Town Hospital, Susan and George Haddix hope to influence others to give. Ongoing support will help Boys Town Hospital continue to lead the charge in neurobehavioral research and improve the lives of children with behavioral and mental health disorders.