Sustaining Educational Excellence

Archive for December 2016

Support for The LO.V.E. Fund from the Phelans

The LO.V.E. Fund

 A note in support of The Love Fund from the Drs. KJ and Jackie Phelan.

Neighbors and Friends,

Liv and KieranRecently the Erhardt family announced the Olivia V. Erhardt Memorial Fund for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows, the LO.V.E Fund, in memory of their daughter Olivia, a 2014 graduate of Mariemont High School. The Fund will enable more Mariemont students to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine. This highly competitive and innovative program matches qualified high school seniors and undergraduates with an interest in the bio-medical sciences to a research lab where they spend their summer break investigating research ideas.

We are physicians at Children’s Hospital and have three sons educated in the Mariemont schools. As parents and doctors, we recognize the impact this prestigious program can have on aspiring students, and the value these students add to the important research conducted in labs able to find funding to sponsor a SURF student.

Olivia was a dear friend of our son, Kieran and both participated in the SURF program. Kieran, who is now pre-med at University of Notre Dame, worked on a project related to the genetics of childhood liver disease in the laboratory of Jorge Bezerra, MD (a Mariemont resident whose three sons are graduates of Mariemont High School). Olivia, who attended Columbia University, worked in the laboratory of Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD a world renowned expert in the sub-type of white blood cell known as the eosinophil and its cellular biology in allergic disease.

Learn about SURFJackie and I have had the pleasure of supporting several SURF students in our clinical laboratories. Regardless of the division or laboratory in which a SURF student works, it is an unparalleled experience. The students are assigned to work on an ongoing research project, usually funded by institutions such as the US Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and other similar scientific funding organizations and foundations.

Supporting a SURF student for a 10-week experience can be challenging, even for a well-funded, world renowned scientific laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s or the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Research projects typically face extremely tight funding environments and budgets are often stretched even in well-supported laboratories. When qualified and interested undergraduates apply and contact a laboratory, it can be difficult to find the resources to support such a student for the summer. As a physician it is an honor to take on SURF students, however due to these resource limitations, not all qualified students are able to be placed in a postion.

The L O.V.E Fund will help overcome the financial barrier that many research labs face when deciding whether or not to take on a SURF participant. It will also open up additional less well-resourced laboratories, that may be a better match for a given students interests.

Learn about The LOVE FundJackie and I enthusiastically support the LO.V.E fund and will be partners along with SURF leadership and the Mariemont community in helping identify and match students to the program. This is a valuable investment in our students and in medical research, and we encourage you to join us in supporting the L O.V.E. fund.


KJ Phelan, MD, MSc. and
Jackie Grupp-Phelan, MD, MPH  
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Residents of Terrace Park, Ohio since 2005