Community Conversations

Community Conversations Fall 2022


A letter from Mel Bower, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Shriners Children’s

Dear Readers, 

Mel Bower

As we continue to honor and celebrate the 100th anniversary of our healthcare system and the 150-year history of Shriners International, the fraternity that founded our unique, compassionate and generous pediatric healthcare system, we especially remember Sept. 16, 1922. On that day, in Shreveport, Louisiana, we saw our very first patient. 

Over time, Shriners Children’s expanded, added service lines, and eventually became revered and respected around the world for providing excellent care, sharing medical expertise, and conducting important, meaningful research to add to the worldwide body of knowledge and improve treatment protocols and standards of care. 

Since that first September day a century ago, Shriners Children’s has given hope and healing to more than 1.5 million children around the world.

We owe the members of Shriners International our gratitude, appreciation and respect for their vision and commitment to providing quality pediatric specialty care to children. 

While much has changed since 1922, we have remained true to our three-part mission of providing care, conducting research and offering educational opportunities to medical professionals. We also continue to honor and keep the promise to provide care and services regardless of the ability to pay or insurance status. 

In this edition of Leaders in Care, we celebrate our researchers, our physicians and, of course, our patients and families. We invite you to celebrate with us and enjoy these amazing stories of dedication, commitment, hope and healing. We hope they provide inspiration and a smile for your day. 


Mel Bower
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Shriners Children’s


Renee, a patient of Shriners Children’s Lexington, loves drawing and uses an app on her phone to create incredible pictures. 

She is a patient of Orthopedic Surgeon Vishwas Talwalkar, M.D., and has been coming to our medical center since she was an infant. Renee has osteogenesis imperfecta (sometimes called brittle bone disease), which causes her bones to be weak and break easily. She’s broken more than a dozen bones in her life, and at her most recent visit she had casts removed that she wore after a surgery to repair a complicated break in her leg. 

“We appreciate everything Shriners Children’s has done for us,” her dad, James, said. “Everyone is wonderful and the care is just over the top.” 

Her mom, Carrie, agreed: “I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have Shriners Children’s!”