Pediatric Health Center Gets Large Donation

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COLUMBIA - An MU Health Care center is figuring out how it will spend a large donation.

The MU School of Medicine's Department of Child Health received a $500,000 donation from the Leda J. Sears Trust. The money will be used for pediatric research.

The trust will provide the money over the next eight years, as a faculty committee in the department will meet yearly to figure out what to do with the money. The first meeting will take place later this year.

Dr. Michael Cooperstock is the professor of child health at the department. He said with the way science is progressing right now, the money will be implemented in effective ways.

"The importance of this money to our program and to children nothing less than is immense," Cooperstock said. "What has been done through this fund is provide seed money for projects of tremendous potential importance to children."

Cooperstock said some areas where the money could be spent are juvenile diabetes, autism, obesity and psychiatric issues. He said the fact that the money will be dispersed over eight years will help the money be used as science progresses.

"Where seed [startup] money is needed the most is with the new, creative ideas that have tremendous potential but no or minimal scientific backing yet," Cooperstock said.

The trust has given money to the Department of Child Health in the past and has now given a total of $1.2 million to the facility. It has also made donations to the University of Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.