NICHD Director to Keynote NEC Symposium

The NEC Society is honored to announce that Dr. Diana Bianchi will serve as the opening keynote speaker for the Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Symposium. Dr. Bianchi is the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health. In this role, she oversees the institute’s research on pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation medicine, among other areas.

Jennifer Canvasser, MSW, founder and director of the NEC Society, shares, “Dr. Bianchi’s exceptional commitment to pediatric patients and their families, as well as her visionary leadership, will inspire and stimulate the NEC community to accelerate research. We are incredibly grateful and thrilled to welcome Dr. Bianchi to the 2021 faculty team.” The NEC Society is the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis, a devastating intestinal disease that affects vulnerable infants during their first weeks and months of life. The NEC Symposium will bring together diverse patient-families, clinicians, scientists, and other leading NEC stakeholders from around the globe.

“I am incredibly gratified to be a keynote speaker at the NEC Symposium,” said Dr. Bianchi. “I look forward to interacting with the research, practitioner, and patient communities who work tirelessly to advance understanding of this important childhood disease.”

LOW RES FOR WEBSITE 2021 Symposium slide

The NEC Symposium will draw upon the broad range of expertise and perspectives by encouraging participants to actively contribute rather than passively listen. Parents whose children have been affected by NEC will work alongside clinicians and scientists to drive discoveries for NEC research and improved care practices. The NEC Symposium will be an All-In Meeting, which, put simply, means that multidisciplinary stakeholders from diverse backgrounds will be integrated and empowered to contribute. The NEC Society recently published a 10-step guide to hosting an All-In Meeting.

The NEC Symposium will take place at The Westin Cincinnati, April 14 – 16, 2021 in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The NEC Symposium is supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Rare As One Network.

The 2021 meeting will build upon the NEC Society’s prior international meetings and progress. The first NEC Symposium was hosted in 2017 in partnership with the UC Davis Division of Neonatology, followed by the NEC Symposium in 2019 in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Section of Pediatric Surgery. Both the 2017 and 2019 meetings were made possible through Engagement Awards from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Registration will open in the fall of 2020. To receive the latest information and updates, please join the NEC Society’s email list and follow us on social media.

In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Cincinnati Children’s and the NEC Society.  Cincinnati Children’s is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. 

About the NEC Society
The NEC Society is led by patient-families working hand-in-hand with renowned scientists and clinicians. Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a severe intestinal disease that affects thousands of babies each year in the U.S. Approximately 30% of the babies who are diagnosed with NEC die within hours or days of their diagnosis. The NEC Society aims to build a world without necrotizing enterocolitis by uniting diverse stakeholders and accelerating research. For more information, please visit   

About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit

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