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Penn State Donates More Than $2.6 Million in Bowl Funds For Child Abuse Prevention

by on May 02, 2012 10:41 AM

The Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital has received a big boost – from the football program.

Penn State announced Wednesday it has donated $1.1 million to its new Center for Protection of Children, which is based in the hospital.

A previous donation of $1.5 million was made in December to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Penn State's overall Big Ten bowl distribution and contribution to child abuse prevention adds up to $2,616,184.

Penn State officials pledged their support after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 52 counts of child sexual abuse in November. His trial is scheduled for June 5.

"Our bowl revenue came in higher than expected, which is tremendous news, so we were able to provide the additional funding," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said. "We expect that the center will become a national leader in clinical care, research, education and direction of policy related to child abuse and neglect."

More funding means the center can move more quickly to establish itself. Dr. Andrea Taroli, director for the center, and about one of 240 board-certified child abuse pediatricians nationwide, said . Penn State Hershey compiled an "ambitious agenda" for the center.

The additional funding means the center can more quickly establish its team of clinicians, scientists, legal scholars and educators, all of whom are focused on progressing detection, treatment, and prevention of child abuse, Taroli said.

Penn State officials said focus is especially keen in areas that include the creation of a foster child primary care clinic, data collection system development, and educational programs for professionals, teachers and the general public.

It also will include the creation of several, multidisciplinary courses for medical students, opportunities for research into diagnosis and treatment of child abuse, advocacy and policy recommendations, trauma-focused psychological therapy, a medical-legal partnership with Penn State Law, and the creation of a Child Abuse Pediatrics fellowship.

"As the only children's hospital serving central Pennsylvania, our Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital has a special responsibility to protect the health and well-being of children, and this new center enhances our ability to do just that," Dr. Harold L. Paz, chief executive officer, Penn State's senior vice president for health affairs, and dean of the Penn State College of Medicine, said.

"Bringing the resources of our academic medical center to bear on the problem of child maltreatment is an important way in which we can fulfill our mission to serve our community and our commonwealth."

Potential collaborators with the center include the Penn State Law and its Children's Advocacy Clinic, and the Children, Youth and Families Consortium.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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