Kennedy Krieger Magazine - Winter 2023

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Kennedy Krieger

magazine WINTER 2023

Home Away From Home Why staying at Kennedy Krieger’s hospital has Andy “beaming from ear to ear.”



Andrew H. Segal, MD

Chair Nancy S. Grasmick, EdD

Barbara S. Slusher, PhD, MAS

Vice Chair Ronald R. Peterson

David G. Sweiderk

Michael J. Batza Jr.

Paul S. Thesiger, MD

Joshua C. Becker

Alicia L. Wilson, JD

Sandra R. Berman

Judy C. Woodruff

Thomas V. Brooks


Watchen H. Bruce Richard W. Cass Ikechukwu Chukuka

Letter From Our President Dear Friend,

Stephanie Cooper Greenberg Matthew A. Gotlin, CFA Michele J. Guyton, PhD Richard J. Himelfarb Renee R. Jenkins, MD, FAAP Stephen M. Keelty

Seeing our patients and staff members through their eyes was very special for me. Each of our visitors had heard about Kennedy Krieger Institute and our extraordinary and unique approach to care and education, but witnessing what we do every day, firsthand, brought tears to their eyes.

Stephanie L. Reel, MBA

Wishing you a joyous holiday season,

Bradley L. Schlaggar, MD, PhD President and Chief Executive Officer The Zanvyl Krieger Faculty Endowed Chair

Vice Chair Nancy S. Grasmick, EdD Vice Chair Patricia J. Mitchell James M. Anders Jr., CPA, MBA, CGMA® Alexander B. Bartlett Linda S. Cameron, MBA

A little more than a month ago, Maryland’s governor, Wes Moore, and lieutenant governor, Aruna Miller, along with Maryland’s secretaries of health and disabilities, visited Kennedy Krieger to tour our inpatient hospital. It was the first visit to the Institute for Gov. Moore and Lt. Gov. Miller.

In this season of gratitude, we are especially grateful for your support. Children like Andy and Leo are benefiting from new therapies and our dedicated staff. In turn, we are fueled by you and by each person and organization who believes in our mission.

Chair Preston G. Athey

Robert A. Baruch

Daniel S. Koch, JD Maynard McAlpin

The stories in this issue of Kennedy Krieger Magazine are real-life examples of the care and commitment they witnessed: Andy, who has a rare, debilitating disease that has required multiple hospitalizations with our interdisciplinary inpatient hospital team, now comes to one of our outpatient centers for care. And Leo, who came to us from Greece for treatment for acute flaccid myelitis, stayed with us during the worst months of the pandemic. His family decided to move to Maryland, in part to be close to our care for their son.

Francie C. Spahn, Esq., LEED AP

Preston G. Athey

Van D. Brooks

Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar and Gov. Wes Moore at Kennedy Krieger this past fall

Robert L. Sloan

Richard W. Cass

Beth F. McGinn Howard B. Miller, Esq. Patricia J. Mitchell

Cynthia Cavanaugh Aimee Fulchino Beth F. McGinn

Wendy L. Morris George C. Petrocheilos Jay Salpekar, MD, FANPA Bradley L. Schlaggar, MD, PhD Kenneth C. Schuberth, MD

K. Brigid Peterson, JD Ronald R. Peterson Bradley L. Schlaggar, MD, PhD Robert L. Sloan David G. Sweiderk

Kennedy Krieger


EDITOR Laura Thornton ART DIRECTOR Erin Parsons DESIGNER Tom Czajkowski CONTRIBUTING WRITER Amelia Silberger PROOFREADER Nina K. Pettis PHOTOGRAPHY Harry Bosk, Robin Sommer and others

Winter 2023 Volume 23, No. 2


For more stories, news and updates, visit: On the cover: Andy, 3, and his pet goat, Dolly. Andy receives treatment at Kennedy Krieger for Bruck syndrome, a type of brittle bone disease. Read his story on Page 8.

Kennedy K rieger magazine WINTER 2023

Home Aw From Homay e Why stay ing

at Kennedy Krieger’s hospital has Andy “beaming from ear to ear.”


What’s inside... 8 Home Away From Home At Kennedy Krieger’s hospital, every staff member knows Andy. They’ve given him a reason to smile.


Serving the Community

Through Kennedy Krieger, students from marginalized populations receive crucial training for critical healthcare jobs.


Helping People

Timaron and Austin share a passion for helping people. Through CORE Foundations at Kennedy Krieger, they do just that.


Treating the Whole Child

Kennedy Krieger’s hospital helps kids like Leo and Serenity reclaim their lives after AFM. Here’s how.

and this... 10

A School for the Community


A Passion for Serving Others


Expanding Our Reach


Suicide Prevention


News and Social Spotlight


Events and Awards

Kennedy Krieger Magazine is published by the Marketing and Communications Department of Kennedy Krieger Institute, 707 North Broadway, Baltimore, Maryland 21205. Kennedy Krieger Institute recognizes and respects the rights of employees, trainees, and patients and students, and their families. Kennedy Krieger Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of individuals with nervous system disorders through medical care, education and community programs. Email us at to update your contact or mailing information. Send an email to or visit to unsubscribe from future Kennedy Krieger Institute communications. © 2023 Kennedy Krieger Institute

Serving the

“I want to bridge the gap.” – Trista Main

Through Kennedy Krieger, students from marginalized populations receive crucial training for critical healthcare jobs. After nine years of working as a dental assistant in the Fort Belknap Indian Community near Harlem, Montana, Trista Main embarked on a new career as a nurse. Her motivation was the disparity in healthcare she sees in this rural community. A patient needing an X-ray or a CT scan, for example, must travel for 45 minutes. The nearest cardiologist is two hours away. “Not having access to transportation to be able to come into the clinic and not having enough providers are some of the most common disparities here,” says Main, a member of the Nakoda Tribe and Medicine Bear Clan. “I want to help with that. I want to bridge the gap and be a familiar face in the community.” Main enrolled in a two-year nursing program, Grow Our Own, at Aaniiih Nakoda College, also in Harlem, where she learned about MCHC/RISE-UP—the Maternal Child Health Careers/Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement-Undergraduate Program. MCHC/RISE-UP seeks to reduce health disparities by providing training and leadership opportunities to diverse undergraduate students and recent graduates. The nine-to-10-week summer internship brings together healthcare experts from across the country— from Kennedy Krieger Institute; Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions; University of California, Davis; historically Black colleges and universities like Howard and Morgan State universities; University of South Dakota; and Native American healthcare providers.

At Kennedy Krieger, the national program is part of the Center for Diversity in Public Health Leadership Training and directed by Dr. Harolyn M.E. Belcher, the Institute’s vice president and chief diversity officer. It is one of two undergraduate programs at the Institute aimed at reducing health disparities. There are two graduate fellowships in this vein as well. “What each student is doing is such important work, and in the big university environment, students don’t always have the opportunity to have one-on-one mentoring like we provide,” Dr. Belcher says. “For all these reasons, RISE-UP really helps students envision what they can do.” After a weeklong orientation in Baltimore last summer, Main returned to Montana. For the next nine weeks, she assisted Aaniiih Nakoda nursing instructors, worked in a lab and participated in youth suicide prevention efforts. She also received an award from the program to present her research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists. This school year, she will finish her degree and study for her nursing certification. – JG For more information on the program, use the QR code or visit:

MCHC/RISE-UP scholars at Kennedy Krieger in the summer of 2023


Helping People

Timaron and Austin share a passion for helping people. Through CORE Foundations at Kennedy Krieger, they do just that.

By Amelia Silberger

Ask Timaron what he likes most about his job, and he’ll tell you without hesitation: “Helping people.” Timaron, 23, volunteers at The Children’s Inn at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, a home for children being treated for rare diseases at the National Institutes of Health. He began volunteering in late 2022, supported in his work by CORE Foundations at Kennedy Krieger Institute—a person-centered program within the Institute’s Neurodiversity at Work department focused on elevating growth, relationships and independence for those with intellectual disabilities. “CORE Foundations supports a system that values and recognizes individuals with disabilities and focuses on bridging the gap between individuals with disabilities and employers,” says Austin Sibanda, a CORE Foundations community development specialist. “It allows employers to recognize individuals with disabilities and see that they have valuable skills to bring to the workplace.” At The Inn, Timaron, who has a rare genetic condition, checks food expiration dates, sanitizes toys and walks The Inn’s therapy dog, Zilly. “I love everything I do,” he says, especially “the interaction with children and staff there.” He loves meeting everyone who comes to The Inn.

When Timaron and Sibanda met, they bonded instantly over their shared love for dogs—and for helping people. Sibanda enjoys supporting and helping CORE Foundations community members like Timaron in reaching their full potential. “I’ve always had a passion for helping others, especially people in need,” he says. In his free time, Timaron, who lives with his family in Potomac, Maryland, walks on trails, watches movies, travels and plays with his dog, Lulu. He’s also an avid baseball fan. This past summer, the Aberdeen IronBirds, a local Minor League Baseball team, invited Timaron to throw the first pitch at Neurodiversity at Work’s annual Night at the Ballpark, which raises awareness about the contributions individuals with intellectual disabilities bring to the workplace. Timaron hopes to continue to learn new skills and become more independent. “My biggest accomplishment,” he says, “is doing a good job at The Inn and receiving praise for my work.” To learn more about CORE Foundations, use the QR code or visit: Photos courtesy of The Children’s Inn at NIH and the Aberdeen IronBirds.

“I love everything I do.” – Timaron 5

Treating the Whole Child Kennedy Krieger’s hospital helps kids like Leo and Serenity reclaim their lives after AFM. Here’s how.

Four years ago, Leo moved with his family to Baltimore from Greece to receive treatment at Kennedy Krieger Institute for acute flaccid myelitis, also known as AFM. At the time, he’d been in a hospital for a year in Athens, his body was almost fully paralyzed, and he needed a ventilator to breathe. The plan was for Leo to stay at Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient hospital for four or five months—until the spring of 2020. But when the COVID-19 pandemic restricted international travel, his time at Kennedy Krieger lengthened. That’s when the Institute’s inpatient hospital became Leo’s “second home,” say his parents, Kostas and Eleftheria. For nearly a year, Leo received daily physical, occupational, respiratory and speech therapies from his interdisciplinary team. He improved so much that his parents decided to stay in Baltimore. In September of 2020, he left Kennedy Krieger’s hospital for his family’s new home just a few miles away. Since then, he has returned to Kennedy Krieger a few weeks each year for a therapy boost. “His favorite therapy is aquatic therapy,” Eleftheria says. “In the pool, he can move his arms and legs in the water. He really enjoys it.”


AFM Treatment

AFM was first identified in 2014, and researchers believe the paralysis associated with it is most likely caused by a virus. Since then, cases have peaked every other year—until the pandemic. “In 2020, with everyone staying home, there were fewer than 10 cases of AFM recorded in the U.S.,” compared to close to 200 in previous peak years, explains Dr. Michelle Melicosta, the Institute’s associate chief medical officer. “Kennedy Krieger has provided care for about onethird of all kids diagnosed with AFM in the country, through either inpatient or outpatient care,” says Dr. Melicosta, who was Leo’s initial attending physician at the Institute. “The No. 1 treatment is activity-based restorative therapy.” Also known as ABRT, it includes intensive therapies—up to five hours a day—to get as many nerves and muscles working again as possible, adds Dr. Nancy Yeh, medical director of the Institute’s inpatient rehabilitation hospital and Leo’s most recent attending physician. Thanks to ABRT, Leo is able to move his arms and hands more, and he has increased his independence. Another important piece of rehabilitation is therapeutic recreation—play, but with purpose. In Kennedy Krieger’s Child Life and Therapeutic Recreation Department, patients play games, do crafts and enjoy adapted leisure activities. For Leo, that includes playing video games with adaptive modifications and using special card holders for card games, explains therapeutic recreation specialist Brittany Welsch. “AFM can be scary because of the paralysis,” she explains. “Giving kids a chance to play and have fun helps reduce the anxiety AFM can cause.” Thanks to all of his therapies at Kennedy Krieger, Leo is flourishing. “He’s very smart and social,” says Institute educational specialist Julie Gardner, who worked with his school to ensure his medical needs would be met in the classroom.

A Life-Changing Experience

Perhaps most importantly, Kostas says, is that Leo has gotten back his self-confidence. “He’s friends with everyone at Kennedy Krieger’s hospital, and he feels at home there,” he says. “The environment at Kennedy Krieger has Leo feeling good about himself.” Leo (left, with physical therapist Mycah Berson, and top, with therapeutic recreation specialist Brittany Welsch) and Serenity (right) have received inpatient care at Kennedy Krieger for AFM.

“The environment at Kennedy Krieger has Leo feeling good about himself.” – Kostas Serenity, 5, has had a similar transformation. She traveled to Baltimore from Texas this past summer for nerve transfer surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, during which surgeons rerouted a healthy nerve under one of her ribs to connect with her diaphragm, which was partially paralyzed by AFM, explains pediatric neurologist Dr. Matthew Elrick. In the month leading up to surgery, Serenity did daily physical and occupational therapies at Kennedy Krieger and enjoyed time in the Institute’s Child Life and Therapeutic Recreation Department playroom. “She’d had no interaction with other kids since developing AFM, but as soon as we were at Kennedy Krieger, she met a friend who also has AFM, and her whole attitude changed,” says her mom, Deanna. “Everything was so beneficial to her. She just thrived at Kennedy Krieger.” – LT To learn more about AFM treatment at the Institute, use the QR code or visit:

Home Away From Home At Kennedy Krieger’s hospital, every staff member knows Andy. They’ve given him a reason to smile. Andy, 3, has a true zest for life. He loves playing with his older brother, Josh, and their puppy and pet goat. He loves books, video games and the Baltimore Ravens. He scoots around on his wheelchair, keeping pace with his friends. He’s pretty much always smiling. “I walked into his room one day, and he was beaming from ear to ear,” says occupational therapist Scott Frampton of his first meeting with Andy, then about 6 months old and staying in Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient hospital for a special infusion. Andy has Bruck syndrome, a type of osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. Both his bones and his joints are affected, explains Dr. Mahim Jain, director of the Institute’s 8

Osteogenesis Imperfecta Clinic. At birth, Andy’s legs were bent so far behind him that his feet were touching his back. He’s experienced close to two dozen bone fractures. It’s possible that Andy has been admitted to Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient hospital more times than any other child over the past decade, says Dr. Michelle Melicosta, the Institute’s associate chief medical officer. That’s because every two to three months, from 5 months to 2 years old, Andy spent a weekend at the Institute’s hospital receiving a special infusion to strengthen his bones. “We wanted to have him under full observation during those early infusions,” Dr. Melicosta explains. “And by infusing over the weekends, we could support his parents by minimizing their time off work.”

“Pretty much from the get-go, I felt comfortable that Andy was in the right place.” – Christina Once Andy turned 2, he could receive the infusions in the Institute’s outpatient clinic, but he returned to the inpatient hospital about six months later for a longer stay following orthopedic surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital to straighten his legs.

10 Incredible Days

“It was wonderful for all of us to see him again, and to see how far he’s come,” Dr. Melicosta says. A full interdisciplinary team rallied around Andy to help him recover from the surgery, sit and stand upright, and get ready to walk. “He mastered sitting and standing on Day 1,” says his dad, Tom. “He literally blew everyone’s mind away. I remember Dr. Jain looking at him in awe.” “He showed so much progress each day,” adds physical therapist Dr. Rebecca Schlesinger, who introduced Andy to a device that could support him in a standing position. “We got him to be able to stand safely for the first time in his life, and he loved it.” During the 10-day admission, Andy received daily physical and occupational therapy, as well as aquatic therapy and time with the Institute’s child life and therapeutic recreation specialists. Each day, he’d master new goals and skills, all under the watchful eyes of his care team, who ensured his safety at every turn.

Comprehensive Care

“We loved how kind the nurses and other staff members were, keeping Andy busy, making time for us to have a break, organizing entertainments for the kids and pizza for the parents,” says his mom, Christina. “There were even people going around singing, playing music or blowing bubbles. That always brightened Andy’s day.”

Top: Andy (left) with his parents, Christina and Tom; brother, Josh; and dog, Spencer Bottom: Kennedy Krieger nurses Sheilagh Franiak (left) and Shaneeta Scott (right) entertain Andy and monitor his infusion at a recent appointment.

By Day 10, Andy was scooting around, showing off all he’d learned. “His rehabilitation didn’t just help him function better—it made him happy,” says physical therapist Dr. Christopher Joseph. “It was really good for his mental health.” Christina and Tom, who adopted Andy when he was 3 days old, are grateful to have Kennedy Krieger in their home state of Maryland. “Pretty much from the get-go, I felt comfortable that Andy was in the right place,” Christina says. “His care team is always patient and willing to answer questions. No one ever says ‘never.’ It’s always, ‘Let’s try this.’ It’s so comforting to know Kennedy Krieger is there for us.” – LT To learn more about inpatient care at the Institute, use the QR code or visit: 9

A School for the

Community “It’s so important for students to practice being a part of the community in which they live.” – Amy Myers

At Kennedy Krieger’s new school in southern Maryland, students practice life skills in their own community— a crucial step toward independence. When Amy Myers learned Kennedy Krieger Institute would be opening a school in southern Maryland, where she grew up, she knew at once she wanted to be involved. Formerly the principal of two Kennedy Krieger School Programs, Myers is now the educational director of Kennedy Krieger School: Southern Maryland Campus in St. Mary’s County. “I get to do what I did in Baltimore all these years, but now in my home community, which is incredibly meaningful,” she says. Capital and operational start-up funding to open the school came partly from the state of Maryland and the federal government, thanks to Maryland state Sen. Jack Bailey, who serves southern Maryland, and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer. The school opened at the end of August, with six students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in grades two through eight. Myers hopes to enroll nine more students by the end of the school year, and reach targeted capacity—45 students—within a few years. Ultimately, the school will serve students ages 5 to 21. All five Kennedy Krieger School Programs are nonpublic schools, serving public school students who are referred and funded by their local school systems. All of Maryland’s nonpublic schools are dedicated to serving students with disabilities, but this is the first nonpublic school in this part of the state. Before it opened, many of its students were traveling hours each day to attend school elsewhere. The school offers instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, physical education, health, life skills, social skills and career exploration. Work-based learning will be incorporated at the high-school level. The school will also be taking students on field trips for community-based instruction. “This is time for students to practice skills and work on behavior goals for being out and about,” Myers says. For example, students may visit the post office or a take-out restaurant to practice mailing a letter or ordering from a menu. “It also helps the community learn about our students and how to include them in community life,” she adds. “It’s so important for students to practice being a part of the community in which they live,” she continues. “This helps them become so much more independent, which is our goal—to have independence and meaningful opportunities within their community and life.” – LT

Visit or use the QR code to learn more about the school. 10

Donor Spotlight

“I found my passion for serving humankind at Kennedy Krieger.” – Mary Campion

A Passion for Serving Others Mary Campion began her career at Kennedy Krieger. Now, she gives to the Institute to ensure its future.

It wasn’t long after Mary Campion started working at Kennedy Krieger Institute in the late 1980s that she realized she’d landed in an incredible place to work. Dr. Gary Goldstein, the Institute’s president and CEO from 1988 to 2018, had just arrived, and “it was an extremely transformational time,” Campion says. Kennedy Krieger was expanding, in both services and space, and Dr. Goldstein’s leadership, she says, ensured the success of each new endeavor. “Good institutional vision is essential to philanthropy,” explains Campion, who worked in the Institute’s department of corporate and foundation relations, now the Office of Philanthropy, for about five years. It was the start of a long and successful career in fundraising. “I learned as much about donors and philanthropists as I did about academic medicine,” she says. “It was like a Petri dish for me”—so much knowledge and information in one place. Campion also discovered her passion for serving others. She quickly realized that at Kennedy Krieger, she had the opportunity to make an incredible difference in people’s lives by raising funds to support cutting-edge medical care and research. She transformed the Institute’s fundraising department, leading a multimillion-

dollar campaign and co-founding the annual Festival of Trees, the largest holiday-themed fundraising extravaganza on the East Coast.

Campion credits the success of her efforts to the Institute’s leadership and incredible team of philanthropy professionals, and the Baltimore community, “which responded to our fundraising appeals because of the mission of the Institute and the quality of its leadership, which continues to this day. It was a wonderful symbiosis, and wonderful work.” When Campion left Kennedy Krieger, she told Dr. Goldstein that if she were ever in the position to donate money, she would give to Kennedy Krieger. And so, when she learned a few years ago about the new Gary W. Goldstein Research Innovation Endowment Fund, which supports promising research on neurodevelopmental and related disorders, she decided at once that she would support it. “That research is so critically important to advancements in medical care,” Campion says. “If I could have invented a gift, that’s exactly what it would have been.” – LT To learn more about giving to Kennedy Krieger, use the QR code or visit: Above: Mary Campion (right) and Jen Doyle, the Institute’s director of leadership giving


Expanding Our Reach Kennedy Krieger prepares to roll out KIND, an online program for clinicians and others to learn about neurodevelopmental disorders.

KIND Curriculum

With the current shortage of specialists in neurodevelopmental disorders and pediatric mental healthcare, pediatricians and primary care providers across the country are looking for ways to learn about and manage children with these diagnoses as quickly and thoroughly as possible. To address this need, experts at Kennedy Krieger Institute have developed evidencebased, online courses that offer just-in-time learning for professionals, including teachers and social workers, as well as for trainees. Called the Kennedy Krieger Instruction in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Curriculum, also known as KIND, it covers 90 topics over nine courses, with about 20 15-to20-minute modules per course, explains neurodevelopmental pediatrician Dr. Mary Leppert, who developed the program with child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Joyce Harrison. “KIND provides a deep dive into specific topics of neurodevelopmental disorders and the behavioral and mental health conditions that co-occur with them,” Dr. Leppert says. “It’s perfect for addressing the practitioner shortage in these fields.” Dr. Leppert has been working on KIND for the past decade. She got the idea for it while mentoring trainees at Kennedy Krieger— she wanted them to be able to learn about more than what they could observe in clinical settings.


She and Dr. Harrison collaborated with experts across Kennedy Krieger and Johns Hopkins Medicine to develop the content for the modules, which have been designed in an accessible online format. KIND is currently in a pilot phase, with a general rollout expected in 2024.

“This work is an imperative for the Institute.” – Dr. Mary Leppert

“The Institute is a flagship for neurodevelopmental disabilities research, and this takes our collective knowledge outside Kennedy Krieger,” Dr. Leppert says. “This work is an imperative for the Institute— it’s part of our mission to use what we know to help as many children as possible.” – LT

Visit or use the QR code to learn more.


PREVENTION Kennedy Krieger’s medical and behavioral clinics screen patients for thoughts of suicide. A few key questions can be lifesaving.

Since 2017, every patient 8 years old or older who comes to Kennedy Krieger Institute for a medical appointment has been asked the same four questions: In the past few weeks, have you wished you were dead? Have you felt you or your family would be better off if you were dead? Do you think about killing yourself? Have you ever tried to kill yourself? Close to 30,000 patients at Kennedy Krieger have been screened for suicide risk with these simple but critical questions. Just under 8% have answered “yes” to one or more of the questions. Of them, 2.5% have been referred to acute psychiatric care. Screening patients for thoughts of suicide is important because many children and teens with intellectual or neurodevelopmental disorders are at an increased risk for having suicidal thoughts and behaviors, says Dr. Paul Lipkin, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician with the Institute’s Center for Development and Learning. Kennedy Krieger began screening patients in response to a growing awareness that the nation’s children and teens were increasingly experiencing suicidal thoughts. “Hospitals were starting to screen for suicidality, and we believed we could serve our outpatients in a similar way,” Dr. Lipkin explains. The questions were developed by the National Institute of Mental Health, with which Kennedy Krieger has collaborated on this effort. For patients answering “yes” to any of the questions, a clinician performs a suicide safety assessment, and the patient’s care team develops an appropriate mental healthcare plan.

“ This screening is as important as any other health screening that we do.” – Dr. Paul Lipkin “Our staff members recognize that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are medical issues that can have serious health consequences to the child,” Dr. Lipkin adds. “This screening is as important as any other health screening that we do.” This past July, Kennedy Krieger hosted Maryland’s first Youth Suicide Prevention Summit in collaboration with the Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Fifty key leaders in healthcare from across the state collaborated on how to better prevent youth suicide. “It’s only by being open to talking about suicide that we can identify children who need our help and get them the care they need,” says Dr. Suzanne Rybczynski, the Institute’s former associate chief medical officer, who organized the summit. “Suicide prevention is the goal, because every suicide is a tragedy and a huge loss for all of us.” – LT To read about Institute research on autism and suicidality, use the QR code or visit: 13

KENNEDY KRIEGER IN THE NEWS Scan the QR code or visit for these stories and more!

Kennedy Krieger Institute to Receive $5 Million Grant to Expand Care for Pediatric Cases of Long COVID (October 20, 2023) The funds will help Kennedy Krieger better serve children from underserved communities.

Project Helps Faith Leaders Make Houses of Worship More Inclusive (September 26, 2023) Kennedy Krieger’s Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities is working to promote the inclusion of individuals with neurodivergence in faith-based gatherings.

SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT Find out what’s happening at Kennedy Krieger in real time and join the conversation! Did you know we have new social media channels for research on Facebook and Instagram? To find them, scan the QR code or visit:

October 19, 2023: We’re thrilled to announce that the first ZeroG 3D in the world has been installed at our International Center for Spinal Cord Injury’s White Marsh, Maryland, location! The ZeroG 3D is a robotic body-weight support system that provides users with complete freedom of movement, allowing them to practice gait, balance and activities of daily living. We can’t wait to see the ways this innovative piece of technology changes the lives of our patients!

GOV. MOORE VISITS KENNEDY KRIEGER Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller toured Kennedy Krieger’s inpatient hospital on September 26, meeting with Institute President and CEO Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar and other staff members, and patients and their family members. Accompanying them were Maryland Secretary of Health Dr. Laura Herrera Scott and Maryland Secretary of Disabilities Carol A. Beatty. 14

The photos of Gov. Moore in this issue were provided by the Executive Office of the Governor.



Our events are a great way to bring family and community members together! Scan the QR code or visit to register, sponsor or explore events.

Congratulations to Kennedy Krieger’s Bennett Blazers adaptive sports team! This past summer, the Blazers placed first overall (out of 44 teams) at Move United Junior Nationals in Alabama. Go, Blazers!

20th Annual ROAR for Kids at Kennedy Krieger Institute | Saturday, April 20, at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore—NEW LOCATION! Join us for our 5K race and low-mileage walk for individuals of all ages, and explore the zoo at a discounted rate after the event! 8th Annual Hats & Horses Friday, May 3

Neurodiversity in the Workplace: A Collaborative National Conference Sunday–Tuesday, October 27–29

Want to help kids pursue all that’s possible? Working at Kennedy Krieger is more than just a job—it’s changing lives. JOIN US! Use the QR code below or visit for a list of current openings.

We’re Hiring!

Dr. Amy Bastian, chief science officer and director of the Institute’s Center for Movement Studies, was elected earlier this year to the National Academy of Sciences. She joins approximately 2,400 fellow U.S. scientists and is the first member from Kennedy Krieger. Dr. Erika Augustine, associate chief science officer and director of the Institute’s Clinical Trials Unit, is the recipient of the 2023 Dr. Sidney Carter Award in Child Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology, which recognizes outstanding work in the field of child neurology/ developmental neurobiology. Dr. Bushra Rizwan, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Psychiatric Mental Health Program, and Dr. Stacy Suskauer, vice president of pediatric rehabilitation, were selected by their peers as “Top Doctors” in Baltimore Magazine’s annual recognition. 15



PERMIT #7157

707 North Broadway Baltimore, Maryland 21205


Your support helps amazing kids like Andy. When you give to Kennedy Krieger Institute, you’re helping us pursue every possibility for children like Andy. Your gift supports groundbreaking education, research and care that bring hope and transform lives. Thank you so much! Please make your 2023 year-end gift today! Mail us your donation using the return envelope inside this issue, use the QR code or visit: The individualized care that Andy, 3, receives at Kennedy Krieger allows him to learn, play, grow and thrive. Read Andy’s story on Page 8.

W H Y I G IV E “I give to Kennedy Krieger because they were there for my family when my son was diagnosed at 2 years old with autism. That was one of the hardest times in our lives. The support and programs provided made us feel like we weren’t alone.” – MICHAEL FALONEY, operations manager for Fascan International, Inc., and Jekko USA


Earlier this year, Michael Faloney and Fascan International, Inc., raffled off a Jekko USA minicrane to raise funds for autism research and treatment at Kennedy Krieger. The raffle brought in $57,500.

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