Faculty Honored at 10th Annual Ceremony

Cincinnati Children's celebrated outstanding faculty members on February 19. Congratulations to our honorees and to all who were nominated by their peers.

Advocacy Achievement Award

Sarah Beal, PhD

Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology

Sarah Beal, PhD, has committed herself to the study of health disparities in children in protective custody. Her efforts have resulted in 64 peer-reviewed publications, more than $2 million in NIH funding, and most importantly, the improvement in the health of children in foster care in Cincinnati and around the nations.

Beal found her passion for children in foster care while obtaining her PhD and has dedicated her career to the application of research to advocate and advance the health outcomes for this highly vulnerable population.

She has established herself as a local, regional and national expert in foster care health, as evidenced by her many invited lectures, presentations at academic meetings and community educational presentations. She has been extremely successful in disseminating her work, demonstrating a consistent track record of publishing an average of eight papers per year.

Beal has made a tremendous impact as a faculty member at Cincinnati Children’s—and on a local, regional and national level, as she works to improve outcomes for children in foster care.

Advocacy Achievement Award

Gregory Szumlas, MD, FAAP

Division of General and Community Pediatrics

Gregory Szumlas, MD, FAAP, has promoted the development of early literacy skills among low-income children throughout his career.

In 1998, Szumlas became involved in Reach Out and Read, a national program that provides children with a book at each well-child visit during the first five years of life. He became the medical director for the Cincinnati Children's Reach Out and Read branch and later expanded the program's impact by founding the Greater Cincinnati Reach Out and Read coalition. This network of clinics serving low-income children now includes 23 clinics and serves nearly 30,000 children and families annually. He also launched the Cincinnati branch of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program and has been instrumental in raising philanthropic funds to support literacy promotion programs.

In the past 5 years, Szumlas' efforts have led to reading advice in more than 157,000 visits and distribution of more than 560,000 books. As a result, parents are supported as their children's first and most important teachers, and children build a foundation for success.

Clinical Care Achievement Award

Jaime Rice Denning, MD, MS

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery

Jaime Rice Denning, MD, MS, has performed key leadership and service roles for the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Department of Surgery and the institution overall.

Denning has improved child health outcomes through the implementation of many successful quality improvement projects. She often volunteers for interdisciplinary improvement projects and works well in a team setting by building relationships that solve complex and multidisciplinary issues. Her collaborative approach and commitment to safety has helped drive the work forward in an efficient and productive manner.

She routinely receives high Patient and Family Experience scores and consistently updates and partners with the primary care team to refine plans that combine her experience in the operating room with expertise from the medical team. Denning also gives back in numerous ways. She plays a key role in the Perry Initiative, which is an outreach program directed primarily toward women interested in engineering or orthopaedics.

Denning is a compassionate and collaborative leader and improvement scientist committed to safe, family-centered, quality care.

Clinical Care Achievement Award

Kimberly Risma, MD, PhD

Division of Allergy and Immunology

Kimberly Risma, MD, PhD, is an extraordinary clinician whose innovation led to the creation of the Drug Allergy Program, which launched in 2019. She has also had a leading impact in promoting the next generation of physicians in the allergy and immunology field.

Risma is a superb physician-scientist, teacher and clinician. She is a highly respected, nationally recognized leader. Her innovation is bringing change to healthcare through the Drug Allergy Program and de-labeling drug allergies, creating cost savings for insurance companies and families, while influencing a generation of trainees in pediatrics and allergy/immunology both at Cincinnati Children's and nationally.

She has worked tirelessly to create Penicillin Allergy Testing (PATS) while continuing excellent leadership of the Fellowship Program. Risma is an excellent role model for women and others. She is a luminary in our hospital and most deserving of this honor.

Clinical Care Team Award

Comprehensive Health Evaluations for Cincinnati's Kids (CHECK) Foster Care Clinic Team

Sarah Beal, PhD; Julie Bemerer, PsyD; Eunice Blackmon, MD; Mary Greiner, MD, MS; Megan Hennigan, MD

The Comprehensive Health Evaluations for Cincinnati's Kids (CHECK) Foster Care Clinic Team provides exceptional clinical care and coordinates comprehensive healthcare services for Cincinnati's most vulnerable youth: children with child welfare involvement.

This hard-working, multidisciplinary team provides children entering foster care and experiencing placement changes with evidence-based care and promotes participation in research in a manner that is sensitivie to both the social context and legal challenges of child-welfare-involved families. Additionally, their work ensures that legal and child welfare personnel receive necessary medical documentation to make informed decisions on behalf of these children and that new caregivers are offered essential information and support service to meet the health and behavioral demands of new children in their care.

The CHECK team has changed the outcome for more than 3,000 children annually in our region and countless more across the country.

See more faculty award winners