Gift Establishes Tom Horton and Donna Wiener Endowed Chair in Neuroscience at Le Bonheur Children’s

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Institute James Wheless, MD, was recently named the first recipient of the Tom Horton and Donna Wiener Endowed Chair in Neuroscience, thanks to a transformational gift from the Martha, Bowen and Tommy Horton Family and Joy Wiener. Their investment will support Le Bonheur's FedEx Neuroscience Institute’s mission to continue delivering outstanding clinical care, teaching the next generation of physicians and advancing the science of caring for children with complex neurological disorders.

The Endowed Chair in Neuroscience carries on Le Bonheur’s storied tradition as a national leader in the field of neuroscience — providing opportunities to treat patients, utilize state-of-the-art equipment and technology, conduct innovative research and ensure skilled care for generations to come.

“I am greatly honored to be the first to receive the Tom Horton and Donna Wiener Endowed Chair of Neuroscience at Le Bonheur Children’s,” said Wheless. “With this generous gift, our Neuroscience Institute will be equipped to not only provide excellent care for children for years to come, but also invest in innovative research and groundbreaking technology while training the next generation of physicians.”

Wheless is also professor and chief of Pediatric Neurology and the Le Bonheur Chair in Pediatric Neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and serves as director of the   

Le Bonheur FedEx Neuroscience Institute Comprehensive Epilepsy Program. His primary interests include childhood convulsive disorders, and his research focuses on pediatric antiepileptic drug development, the ketogenic diet, epilepsy surgery, device therapy and noninvasive functional brain mapping. Wheless is the author of more than 840 articles (book chapters, manuscripts and abstracts) on these subjects, and he is the editor of four textbooks on epilepsy. He has lectured widely throughout the world on topics related to pediatric epilepsy.

“Dr. Wheless is truly a gift to families and patients in our region and beyond. He is both one of the world’s foremost experts in pediatric epilepsy treatment and research and does an amazing job of connecting with his patients and their families,” said Interim President/CEO and Surgeon-in-Chief Trey Eubanks, MD. “We are so fortunate that the Horton and Wiener families are investing in our program and Le Bonheur. We depend on our generous community to help us build world-class programs like our Neuroscience Institute.”

The investment from the Horton family and Ms. Wiener will be matched by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare to help ensure families can continue to rely on expert care at Le Bonheur Children’s.

Le Bonheur’s endowment is a permanent fund. Money earned from investment in the endowment is used to pay for programs, including Neuroscience, to help children and their families.


About Le Bonheur Children’s

Le Bonheur Children’s, based in Memphis, Tenn., provides expert care for children in more than 45 pediatric subspecialties, encompassing robust community programs, a pediatric research institute and regional outpatient centers in Jackson, Tenn., Tupelo, Miss., and Jonesboro, Ark.  Le Bonheur also features a 255-bed hospital in Memphis and a 21-bed satellite hospital within Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson, Tenn. As the primary pediatric teaching affiliate for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Le Bonheur trains more than 350 pediatricians and specialists each year. Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur has been named a U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital for 12 consecutive years and is a Magnet-designated facility, the ultimate credential for high-quality patient care and nursing excellence.

For more information, please call (901) 287-6030 or visit Connect with us at, or on Instagram at lebonheurchildrens.

Posted: 5/4/23