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Monica Buchanan, Senior Director, Strategic Communications
Hartford, CT- Family, friends and colleagues from the medical community celebrated Sherene Mason, MD, MBA, on Thursday, November 4, 2022, as the inaugural holder of the Robert R. Rosenheim Endowed Chair for Nephrology at Connecticut Children’s. Dr. Mason, who serves as the Division Head for Nephrology, is the first woman of the African diaspora and first woman of Jamaican heritage to hold an endowed chair at Connecticut Children’s.
Dr. Mason’s pride in her Jamaican heritage was evident as guests enjoyed music from De 4 Awhee, a local steel drum band, and sampled beef patties and jerk chicken. Bright bursts of green and yellow flowers and authentic Jamaican desserts brought a tropical feel to the November night.
Attendees at the Country Club of Farmington would never have known Dr. Mason was on-call that evening. Her team at the hospital hurried her out the door and out of the scrubs for the celebration. Even while being honored as the tenth endowed chair holder at Connecticut Children’s, Dr. Mason’s attention remained on her patients. Namely, a young boy who had received a kidney transplant earlier in the week. He is the second patient who moved from treatment in the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation Dialysis Center (the Center) to transplant this year.
The Center, which opened in March 2020, is the only pediatric outpatient dialysis facility in the state. Impressed with the impact of the Center, Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation trustees—Mike Samartino, Diane Libby and Mike Adams—agreed continuing to invest in the Division of Nephrology at Connecticut Children’s would further benefit children across the region and honor the legacy of Robert Rosenheim. Passionate about helping animals and children, Mr. Rosenheim passed away in 2015.
“Bob Rosenheim believed in teamwork and was an unbelievable leader,” Mike Samartino said to Dr. Mason during the celebration. “Our hope is your leadership and your teamwork will keep the Division providing quality care for your patients. We congratulate you and wish you great success.”
The endowed chair recognizes Dr. Mason’s leadership, excellence and innovation. It will provide a perpetual stream of funding to enhance the work of the Division of Nephrology.
Before Dr. Mason delivered her remarks, one of her mentors, Dr. Marja Hurley, University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and Professor of Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery provided a tribute. Dr. Hurley was the first woman of color to graduate from the UConn School of Medicine in 1976.
“Dr. Mason is a mentee and friend, whom I have known since her undergraduate years at the University of Connecticut,” began Dr. Hurley. After recalling an impressive list of professional achievements, Dr. Hurley spoke directly to the honoree, saying, “I am so proud of you. You have accomplished so much. You are a role model. You are one of the smartest people I know, and one of the nicest.” Rousing applause followed Dr. Hurley’s tribute.
Dr. Mason then approached the podium, looking radiant in a yellow sheath dress and tailored green blazer, a respectful nod to the colors of the Jamaican flag. “Today I stand before you as a woman of the African diaspora and an immigrant from the beautiful island of Jamaica, a descendant of farmers and working-class parents, now being bestowed the honor of the inaugural Robert R. Rosenheim Endowed Chair,” she said. “I want to acknowledge the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation for their foresight and for entrusting me as a leader who takes a holistic approach to shaping the mind, body and spirit of children with kidney disease. I welcome the opportunity to be a change agent.”
In laying out her plans for future work, Dr. Mason said, “I envision continuing the legacy of being the first. We are already the first in the state with a pediatric dialysis center, and the only one to use an innovative, integrated system for adaptive dialysis. We plan to expand our services to include a home dialysis program for children. We plan to be the first in the state to offer a dialysis modality that provides precision treatment for the smallest patient, weighing as little as five pounds, instead of adapting adult machines that are fraught with complexities. This will enable us to care for patients in the upcoming Fetal Care Center and beyond.”
About Connecticut Children’s
Connecticut Children’s is the only health system in Connecticut dedicated to children, providing more than 30 pediatric specialties along with community-based programs. We’re known for exceptional care that kids and parents love, conveniently delivered at locations close to home and by Video Visit. Our experts lead breakthrough research and innovative partnerships, and have won awards for everything from nursing excellence to patient-friendly technology. U.S. News & World Report named us a best children’s hospital in the nation.
Connecticut Children’s is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve access to health care for all children.