Speaker Mat Schaefer, CEO at Children’s Hospital of East Tennessee, was introduced by Greg Maciolek from the Volunteer Rotary Club.

Matt is proud to be a steward of a community asset that has been in Knoxville 85+ years. Originally from Houston, he loves living in a community where you actually know your neighbors. Introduced to children’s healthcare through his nephew Malachi, who had been diagnosed with childhood Leukemia. He learned “kids are tough as nails” watching his nephew go through five rounds of chemo and various other blood treatments, all the while keeping a happy demeanor. His experience led him to working at Texas Children’s Hospital, and eventually New Orleans Children’s Hospital. Eventually Matt was contacted by a recruiter for CHET. He thought “no way they are going to hire me”, but “God had a plan”.

CHET has been in Knoxville since 1937, beginning on Laurel Ave, moving to Clinch in 1970. CHET is the ONLY strictly pediatric hospital in Tennessee, with 2,000 employee, including 400 medical staff. CHET has 25 locations with everything from primary care, to outpatient surgery, to tertiary care etc. 75% of patients are TennCare. CHET’s reach is nationwide, serving patients from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and even Ontario Canada. Pediatric specialists ( orthopedic surgery, cardiology etc.) train an additional 3 years. “Our mission? We exist to not exist” to improve child health to the degree that they are not needed.

Matt touched on the vision for CHET at 90 in 2027, Shape their destiny, unparalleled service, a complete system of care, to be THE regional authority in children’s health, and to grow people programs for improved community health.

Four way to help:

  • Trust your children’s care to CHET
  • Amplify your voice as an advocate
  • Volunteer
  • Support financially.