Austin Hatcher Foundation Partners With East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Providing Vital Neurocognitive Testing For Pediatric Cancer Patients

CHATTANOOGA, TENN.(Aug. 16, 2016) – The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer has announced a ground-breaking partnership with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, expanding the foundation’s commitment to provide essential neurocognitive testing services for  children with  cancer and their families.

This marks the first time the Austin Hatcher Foundation has partnered with a facility in Knoxville, Tennessee. The foundation, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, currently provides various psycho-oncologic services at 38 hospitals in 28 states. Dr. April Nesin, the foundation’s Chief Psychologist and Director of Psycho-Oncology Services, heads up the foundation’s neurocognitive testing and will work directly with staff at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital  beginning Aug. 17, 2016. Services through the Austin Hatcher Foundation are provided at “no charge” and are funded through generous donations of the Foundation’s supporters.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the staff at East Tennessee,” Nesin said. “The hospital has psychologists on staff but has not specialized in neurocognitive testing. This will be a new service for hematology and oncology patients. Through our talks with them we determined there was a need that the foundation could fill in that regard. We want to support their efforts. We feel like this partnership can really fill that need – and create a niche for the hospital.”

Neurocognitive testing is vital for pediatric cancer patients. Cancer treatments can seriously affect thinking and learning processes but that seriousness can also be subtle and be overlooked without neurocognitive evaluations, Nesin said.

“We look for changes in the way a child is thinking and learning,” Nesin said. “Through our testing, we hope to help children’s families and schools understand what’s going on with a particular child. Sometimes it’s not always evident. This can make a huge difference in their quality of life but also their academic achievements.”

Austin Hatcher Foundation President Amy Jo Osborn said this partnership represents an expanded reach for the foundation that also will increase awareness of the organization’s overall mission to eradicate the effects of pediatric cancer.

“We are extremely proud of this partnership with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and we likewise are proud to have April representing us,” Osborn said “Neurocognitive testing is important work we must strive to provide for children and families in need.”

While the partnership is a new presence for the Austin Hatcher Foundation in Knoxville, it is a continuation of a link between the city and Austin Hatcher Osborn, the foundation’s namesake.

Austin Hatcher “Hatch” Osborn passed away in the arms of his parents, Amy Jo and Dr. Jim Osborn, on Oct. 19, 2006 to an extremely rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer. Through the Osborns’ loss, the Austin Hatcher Foundation was started on Dec. 16, 2006.

“Hatch’s” family history with Knoxville spans more than 100 years. His great-great-grandparents, Samuel B. and Jeanie B. Beaty opened Beaty Chevrolet on North Broadway in 1933. Detective John B. “JB” Hatcher, also Hatch’s great-great-grandfather, was a 30-year veteran of the Knoxville Police Department and was known as the first Knoxville policeman to drive a cruiser in the late 1920s. Members of the Osborn, Beaty and Hatcher families continue to work and live within the greater Knoxville, Tennessee area.

“My husband’s family has a lot of history in Knoxville and because of that, increasing our presence there is very important to us on many levels,” Amy Jo Osborn said. “Our presence in Knoxville honors not only the memory of our son but also the Hatcher family that, along with the Beatys, have been so important to that community through the years.”