PHILADELPHIA, May 19, 2021 — Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) announced today the establishment of the Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment.
In celebration of the recent 25th anniversary in 2020 of CHOP’s fetal medicine program, the Wood Family, founding family of the convenience store chain Wawa, has named the Center after Richard D. Wood, Jr., Chairperson Emeritus of Wawa. Through a transformational gift of $25 million, the funding will support the next generation of fetal medicine breakthroughs, accelerate pioneering research, and build the pipeline of future world-class talent in fetal medicine.
“Across eight generations and for more than 165 years, the Wood family and Wawa have been invaluable partners to and champions of our hospital,” said Madeline Bell, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “This generous investment from the Wood family will undoubtedly help advance the translation of promising science into new therapies that will benefit our tiniest patients.”
The funding will enable strategic expansion of clinical, educational, and research efforts in the Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. Initiatives include building out a new clinical space involving the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit to increase CHOP’s capacity to serve more patients and families in need; creating a birth defects biorepository, which will aid in groundbreaking research and guide treatment and care decisions that maximize outcomes; and establishing new endowments for both a Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Surgical Science and Fellowships in Pediatric Surgical Science, helping CHOP recruit, retain, and train top talent.
“It is a great privilege and honor to name the hospital’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment after Richard D. Wood, Jr. On behalf of our entire team, I would like to express my gratitude to the Wood family on this historic gift, which will fuel a new era of breakthroughs in fetal medicine and surgery,” said Dr. N. Scott Adzick, Surgeon-in-Chief and founder and Director of the Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. “Their generous philanthropic support will allow for a major expansion of infrastructure, patient services, research, and recruitment that will categorically be pivotal to our hospital and the patients and families we serve worldwide.”
The Wood family’s commitment to the health and well-being of children began with CHOP’s founding in 1855 as the nation’s first children’s hospital. Dr. George Bacon Wood was among the signers of CHOP’s articles of incorporation, and a Wood family member has been involved with the hospital ever since that time. From Richard Wood, Sr. leading the project to move CHOP from its original South Philadelphia location to its current location in West Philadelphia, to creating a chair endowment, to providing free coffee and beverages to CHOP families and visitors on a daily basis, the Wood family and Wawa have helped transform the lives of countless CHOP patients and their families for more than a century.
“Supporting the mission of CHOP has long been a part of the Wood family and Wawa DNA, and we are sincerely honored to continue supporting the hospital’s mission through the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment,” said Richard D. Wood, Jr., a lifelong champion and supporter of CHOP. “It’s been incredible to witness our partnership flourish over the decades. We are truly proud to be part of the legacy of a world-renowned fetal medicine program led by Dr. Adzick.”
Since opening in 1995, the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment has worked tirelessly to advance the field of fetal medicine and offer lifesaving care for pregnancies diagnosed with birth defects. Internationally recognized for its skill and excellent outcomes, the team has cared for more than 27,000 expectant parents from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. Center leaders, including Dr. Adzick, were among the founders of modern fetal medicine and worked alongside other leading physicians and researchers in experimental laboratories to develop the techniques that are used clinically today.
Thanks to their efforts, tumors can be removed, birth defects repaired, and conditions that threaten twins corrected, all while children are still inside their mother’s womb. Doing so can minimize — and in some cases, even prevent — the damage caused by the birth defect. With the support of the Wood Family, innovations are on the horizon that promise to transform the next 25 years of fetal care and improve the lives of even more children.
About Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 595-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents.