WINSTON-SALEM, NC – April 30, 2014 – Robert J. “Bob” Gfeller, Jr. begins his role as executive director of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. He accepted the position last month and assumes the responsibilities today.
“I am thrilled to start as the executive director of the Childress Institute,” Gfeller said. “The mission of the Institute is close to my heart, and I plan to commit my expertise to increasing the Institute’s reach and impact. We will continue helping save the lives of injured children throughout the United States.”
Gfeller is a former nationally recognized customer experience expert and executive vice president for Lowe’s, a company he joined in 1999. He has more than 30 years of branding and retail marketing experience, including management of brands such as Coca-Cola and Nabisco, and holds a master’s degree in marketing from New York University.
Pediatric trauma is an intensely personal issue for Gfeller and his wife, Lisa, who lost their younger son, Matthew, following a traumatic brain injury that incurred during a local high school football game. The family established the Matthew Gfeller Foundation to support pediatric traumatic injury research, prevention and awareness and have been tireless activists on behalf of the cause.
“Bob has a deep passion for the mission of the Childress Institute and brings a broad range of marketing strengths with him as well,” said John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “The Gfellers are long-time residents of Winston-Salem, and I am delighted that they are now a part of our Wake Forest Baptist community.”
The vision of the Childress Institute, founded through the generosity of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and his wife Judy, is to eliminate death and disability to injured children worldwide. It seeks to lead national efforts to reduce death and disability following injury to children younger than 18 years old, and to help injured children get the best care when they need it most.
Gfeller replaces J. Wayne Meredith, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Health, who has served as the Institute’s executive director since its founding in 2008. “I am so pleased the Institute has grown to merit a full time executive director and couldn’t be happier with the person we have recruited,” said Meredith. “I look forward to working with Bob in any way I can to support the Institute and to help save the lives of injured children nationwide.” Meredith retains his position as chair.
Traumatic injury causes the death of nearly 10,000 children each year – more than all other causes combined. The Institute has three core focal areas: funding research, facilitating medical education and raising national awareness of pediatric trauma. In the last year, it brought together experts in the field for the Childress Summit of the Pediatric Trauma Society and provided funding for headline-making research in head impacts in young football players.
Media contact: Kara Thompson, 336-713-1625
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