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.
trauma is an intensely personal issue for Gfeller and his wife, Lisa, who lost
their younger son, Matthew, after he sustained a traumatic brain injury during a high
school football game in 2008. 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.
About the Childress Institute for Pediatric
The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma helps
injured kids get the best care, when they need it the most. Life-threatening
injury is the No. 1 killer of kids in America causing nearly 10,000 deaths each
year - more than all other causes combined. The Childress Institute invests
resources in research, education and awareness to improve the treatment for
critically injured children in the U.S. The Childress Institute was founded at
and receives considerable support from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and
was established through the generosity of Richard and Judy Childress. For more
information, please visit www.InjuredKids.org.