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The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

For the children and families in A LION IN THE HOUSE, the central site of diagnosis, medical treatment and, in some cases, end of life decisions, is Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. There, Alex, Justin, Tim, Al, Jen and their families pursued treatment strategies and received guidance from the hematology/oncology team.

Meet the medical team »

Heading that team was Dr. Robert Arceci, then chief oncologist at the hospital. It was Dr. Arceci who first conceived of the idea to make a film about families facing childhood cancer. He contacted filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert after being moved by the award-winning documentary Hoop Dreams. Inspired by the powerful effect of that story, Dr. Arceci sought out filmmakers who might understand why the topic of families facing childhood cancer had the potential to be equally compelling. At the time, he had no idea that the filmmakers had just seen their own teenage daughter through a year of chemotherapy and radiation.

Because of their own experiences, it was initially with some trepidation that Bognar and Reichert accepted Dr. Arceci's offer to return to the painful subject of pediatric cancer, and take up residence on wing 5A of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Family-Centered Care

“Another oncology fellow asked me how it was for me to do this over and over again and my response was, 'It’s hard. It’s still hard. And I want it to be hard every single time because if it starts to get easy for me, I need to pick something else to do.'"          
––Dr. Frederick Huang,
pediatric oncologist

In general, pediatric hematology/oncology divisions provide diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for patients with blood and cancer disorders. Typically, cancer patients are eligible to participate in clinical trials, which sometimes produce new treatments or cures.

The Cincinnati Children's Hospital, like most pediatric centers, follows a philosophy of “family-centered care,” which means they engage family members as partners, working together to best meet the needs of the child.

A major part of this effort includes the hospital’s Research Foundation, which is the largest pediatric research program in the Midwest, conducting both basic and clinical research. Founded in 1931, the Research Foundation is one of the most outstanding pediatric research institutions in the United States, with breakthrough discoveries that led to medical developments such as the Sabin oral polio vaccine, Surfactant preparation (used worldwide to prevent premature infant death) and the first heart-lung machine, which opened the door for modern heart surgery.

Today, at Cincinnati Children’s, innovative research and clinical care for children with blood diseases and cancer remain a major priority. Ranked third nationally in the National Institutes of Health’s funding to full-service children's hospitals, Cincinnati Children's now offers more research space than any other pediatric facility in the U.S.

Meet the medical team »

Learn about pediatric cancer »



Dr. Arceci, a Caucasian man with beard and glasses, in a meeting room smiling - "I see very little burn-out amongst pediatric oncologists. I see people who stay in this area for a long time and when they leave it's not because of children dying. I see people staying in the profession because kids are dying, not leaving." --Dr. Robert Arceci: pediatric oncologist

Visit the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Web site »