Bob Gfeller Named Executive Director of Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma

From Richard Childress Racing

Robert J. Gfeller, Jr. has been named executive director of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. He will assume this Medical Center leadership role in late April.
Gfeller is a nationally recognized customer experience expert and executive vice president for Lowe’s, a company he joined in 1999. He has more than 30 years of branding and retail marketing experience, including management of brands such as Coca-Cola and Nabisco, and holds a master’s degree in marketing from New York University.

“Bob brings a broad range of marketing strengths to the Childress Institute, as well as a deep passion for its mission,” said John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Pediatric trauma is an intensely personal issue for Gfeller and his wife, Lisa, who lost their younger son, Matthew, following a traumatic brain injury that occurred during a local high school football game. The family established the Matthew Gfeller Foundation to support youth sports traumatic brain injury research, prevention and awareness and have been tireless activists on behalf of the cause.

Gfeller replaces J. Wayne Meredith, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Health, who has served as the Institute’s executive director since its founding in 2008.

“I am so pleased the Institute has grown to merit a full time executive director and couldn’t be happier with the person we have recruited,” said Meredith. “I look forward to working with Bob in any way I can to support the Institute and to help save the lives of injured children nationwide.” Meredith retains his position as chair.

Traumatic injury causes the death of nearly 10,000 children each year – more than all other causes combined. The mission of the Childress Institute, founded through the generosity of Richard and Judy Childress, is to lead national efforts to reduce death and disability following injury to children younger than 18 years old, and to help injured children get the best care when they need it most.

The Institute has three core focal areas: funding research, facilitating medical education and raising national awareness of pediatric trauma. In the last year, it brought together experts in the field for the Childress Summit of the Pediatric Trauma Society and provided funding for headline-making research in head impacts in young football players.

About the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma
The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma helps injured kids get the best care, when they need it the most. Life-threatening injury is the No. 1 killer of kids in America causing nearly 10,000 deaths each year – more than all other causes combined. The Childress Institute invests resources in research, education and awareness to improve the treatment for critically injured children in the U.S. The Childress Institute was founded at and receives considerable support from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and was established through the generosity of Richard and Judy Childress. For more information, please visit


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