Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mother Credits Son's Life to Sheikh Zayed Institute Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologist Zena Quezado helped revive Kellen Googin after he went into cardiac arrest and watches his progress carefully.The Googins took their 13-month-old son Kellen to Children's National Medical Center for a relatively minor procedure. But it became more complicated when he went into cardiac arrest after receiving anesthesia.

Today, Kellen is nearly 3 years old and is doing well. His parents attribute his health -- and the promise of a healthy future -- to anesthesiologist Dr. Zena Quezado, principal investigator of the Pain Medicine Initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. A medical team performed CPR for 19 minutes and shocked him seven times, until his heart rhythm returned to normal.

Kellen's mother Michelle says, "I truly believe that he's here today because of Zena....I feel like it was her mission to make sure that he lived. You'll never be able to convince me otherwise." Read Kellen's dramatic story from The Washington Post.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

HealthLeaders: 5 CFO-Friendly Pediatric Care Strategies

The most recent issue of HealthLeaders Magazine highlights budget friendly strategies that children's hospitals are implementing to provide high quality surgical care in more efficient and innovative ways.

The Sheikh Zayed Institute, including Kurt Newman, MD, senior vice president of both the Institute and the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care at Children's National, and Nabile Safdar, MD, are featured under Success Key #3: Physicians and IT working together. The section focuses on the unique integration of technology and medical expertise built by the Institute.

"You see this approach in industry and business, and you see some aspects of this approach in various academic medical centers, but pulling together so many disciplines into one institution is highly unusual in academic medicine," Dr. Newman said."You'll see more hospitals and institutions adopt our integrated team model and approach toward innovation."

The story also features initiatives under way at other pediatric hospitals around the country, but with some themes quite familiar to the Sheikh Zayed Institute, including minimally invasive surgery, especially the use of robotics in pediatric procedures.

5 CFO-Friendly Pediatric Care Strategies, HealthLeaders Magazine, December 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Research Innovation in Abu Dhabi: Masdar City

Toward the end of our trip, some of the team visited fledgling development Masdar City, located just outside Abu Dhabi. Masdar City is more than just another set of buildings popping up in the desert. When complete, Masdar will house 50,000 residents in one of the most environmentally sustainable cities in the world--an ambitious plan, especially when you consider the unique climate challenges of the region. Not only do designers have to create a sustainable city, it has to be livable even during the 6 to 8 months of the year when temperatures soar well above 100 degrees. To combat this problem, the city uses a mixture of traditional Emirati tactics to beat the heat like orienting streets in a specific way to cut down on sun and angling windows to avoid direct sunlight streaming in, and new technologies that enable more efficient living.

At the heart of the plan is the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), which opened its doors to graduate level students in 2009. The Institute is a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that seeks to provide a world-class research and education environment for future leaders and critical thinkers in science and technology, with a particular focus on advanced energy and sustainability. Masdar’s unique design hopes to inspire its students to reach greater heights by making the campus environment thematic inspiration. It consumes 55 percent less in cooling demand compared to UAE baselines, uses 54 percent less water, and has a 75 percent waste-heat recovery. MIST is a great example of how the research environment, including the architectural design, can act as a catalyst for greater discovery.

These approaches are inspiration for the team at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, who are working to create their own state of the art research space back in Washington, DC. That space, expected to open in 2011, will encourage and initiate team science, collaborative research across the four core program areas of the Institute, and innovative thinking aided by state of the art research tools. And, as additional environmental inspiration, the location on the top floor of the main Children’s National building means that the children who will one day benefit from the research are never far from sight or mind.

(Photo: Dr. Sze, Dr. Peters, and Dennis McClellan of the Children's Hospital Foundation met with Inas Khayal, PhD, Assistant Professor, Engineering Systems and Management, MIT Abu Dhabi faculty.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

World Health Congress Middle East makes headlines

The World Health Congress Middle East concluded yesterday. Today, the team has one more hospital visit. While on site at the Congress, our doctors had the unique opportunity to spend time understanding the health care challenges that many countries face. Some themes are similar: sustainability, affordability, overall health care reform, and service delivery. Some themes are unique to individual countries, for example how governments approach the difficult task of ensuring health care reaches every corner of a large, diverse population. The spirit of open dialogue, innovation, and collaboration that was emphasized throughout the conference was clear even in the media coverage of the event. Many Middle Eastern news outlets featured the events and highlighted some of the innovative ideas presented. This included coverage of the team at the Sheikh Zayed Institute who played an active role both in the conference dialogue and in several meetings and visits with local medical professionals and hospital administrators. Here are some stories that highlight the shared goals of the conference and Children’s National. Additionally, Dr. Peters and Dr. Sze were featured in Ittihad, the primary Arabic language newspaper in Abu Dhabi (see image above).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Doctors exchange best practices with Abu Dhabi hospitals

After a busy few days discussing global best practices through the World Health Care Congress Middle East, on Tuesday, December 7 here in Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Institute doctors met with doctors from local hospitals Mafraq and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City Center (SKMC) to exchange best medical practice information for pediatric disorders here on the ground in Abu Dhabi. We traveled to SKMC with Dr. Newman, Dr. Peters, and Dr. Hoffman for a series of educational sessions aimed at giving medical staff the most up-to-date treatment guidelines used for these disorders in the United States, and learn more about current treatment protocols here in Abu Dhabi. More than 30 doctors and nurses, most from adult specialty areas including nephrology and gastroenterology attended the sessions as SKMC. The meeting was so well attended every seat was filled and some attendees stood in the back of the room the entire time. (See picture above for some of the participants.)

Today, Dr. Peters spoke from his expertise as a clinical pediatric urologist. He provided information about the current treatment protocol and research findings for treament of urinary tract infections and vesicoureteral reflux. He emphasized that he looks not only at the immediate clinical symptoms, but also at the long term behavior patterns of a child with a urinary tract infection. While medical treatment tackles immediate uncomfortable symptoms, many young children need to be assessed for behavior issues as well (such as "holding it too long") during the clinical visit to prevent recurrences, which can lead to serious long term damage and other complications including renal scarring. Urinary tract infections are ubiquitous, affecting 8% of all girls and 2% of boys worldwide, and it was clear from the dialogue that most of the medical staff in the room had experience handling the disorder at some point during their medical careers.

Additionally, Dr. Hoffman presented data on his groundbreaking research into steroid use for conditions like muscular dystrophy and asthma. His team is working on the development of a glucocorticoid that accomplishes many of the same treatment effects as steroids like prednizone, with fewer side effects. The SKMC doctors were extremely interested in digging deeply into this area and had many technical questions throughout the presentation. This is in part because there is a large population of people with asthma in Abu Dhabi, and the medical community and the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi are developing public health initiatives to address asthma, and to understand and develop better treatments for people who suffer from it.

At the same time we were at SKMC, Dr. Sze and several other team members traveled to Mafraq hospital, where Dr. Sze discussed the applications of medical imaging to identify indicators of long term issues like child abuse in the United States. The team reported that Dr. Sze also had an engaging discussion at Mafraq, and learned much from his hosts.

Since innovation is a key theme of this trip, as an interesting sidenote some of the team briefly stopped in Dubai to visit the Burj Khalifa--the tallest building in the world. Not only is the architecture amazing, but the fact that the entire project was done in just about 5 years, completed in early 2010, is unbelievable.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Precision Medicine and more at the World Health Care Congress Middle East

December 6 is day 2 of the World Health Care Congress Middle East. All of the presenters from Children's National Medical Center were on the schedule today. Here are the highlights:

The morning kicked off with a special breakfast session featuring Craig Pete
rs, MD, and Raymond Sze, MD. Dr. Peters, chief, Surgical Innovation, Technology, and Translation, Children’s National; principal investigator, Sheikh Zayed Institute, showed the promise of "Using Tomorrow's Surgical Technology Today," including emerging technologies like robotic surgery that have been created for adults but are well suited for use in children as well.

"You have to understand the technology to truly understand the potential of robotics and where we may go with it," noted Dr. Peters (right). "This technology is in phase one of where we think it could go in terms of minimally invasive surgery applications for children in the future."

Dr. Sze, chief of the Division of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology and principal investigator at the Sheikh Zayed Institute focused on "Winning the Imaging Arms Race," including a history of where the field of medical imaging began and drawing a sharp contrast with the practic
es of today.

"Imaging tools are growing so precise that it's not impossible to think that with tim
e, we might able to 'drill' down to the molecular structures of the body with such clarity that we may one day diagnose a disease like cancer based on a scan, with no biopsy needed," said Dr. Sze.

Both presentations emphasized that precision is a key component to ped
iatric surgical innovation--greater precision in both imaging and surgical procedures will lead to surgeries that are less invasive and cause less pain for children.

The idea of precision also played a role in the presentation of Eric Hoffman, PhD, "Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine." Dr Hoffman, principal investigator in the Sheikh Zayed Institute and the director of the Research Center for Genetic Medicine at Childre
n’s National, discussed how understanding the precise genetic differences between patients can improve health delivery through predicting medical outcomes, preventing the onset of serious diseases by detecting problems when they remain microscopic, and tailoring treatments based on how a specific person will respond.

In a nod to yesterday's theme of innovation, Children's Chief Medical Officer, Peter Holbrook, MD, outlined how Children's National constructed a unique hospital management model that has enabled innovations across all of the hospitals main priorities: care delivery, advocacy, research, and education.

The day ended with a panel discussion moderated by Kurt Newman, MD, senior vice president of the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute, that included: Dr. Peters, Dr. Sze, Bernard Algayres, PhD, eHealth General Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa GE Healthcare IT, and Andrew Conrad, PhD, Scientific Officer and co-founder of LabCorp's National Genetics Institute.

"Great leaps in technology can be used to improve care and outcomes," said Dr. Newman. "But, how does this translate to a new health care model?"

Through the examples of more precise imaging, surgery, health care management, and genetic analysis, each member of the panel reinforced the idea that these advances will lead the way to an entirely new approach to the medical field--"Precision Medicine," which directly contrasts with the traditional methods of medicine.

A busy but productive day here in Abu Dhabi.

Ethical Questions About Security Screenings Underscore Radiologists' Responsibilities, Institute Doctor Says

The debate over security screening at U.S. airports has direct relevance for radiologists and their ethical responsibilities to their patients, according to Dr. Nabile Safdar, principal investigator at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Speaking on "Ethical Dilemmas: The Vital Role of Ethics in Clinical Excellence" at the Radiological Society of North America on Nov. 29, Dr. Safdar said, "This dialogue reminds radiologists that we have a much more invasive view of our patients and research subjects than TSA screeners do....We've been privileged to have been entrusted with that data. It is something we should take seriously."

Dr. Safdar went on to say, "Informed consent is not the signature at the bottom of the page which allows you to do research or allows you to do a procedure. Informed consent is a conversation, at a level a patient can understand, about risks and benefits to make sure people are truly aware of what it measn to be involved in that research or to undergo a procedure." Click on the image below for the full article from the RSNA Bulletin.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

World Health Care Congress Middle East

Sunday, December 5 is the start of the World Health Care Congress Middle East. The Congress is co-sponsored by the Health Authority and the Tourism Authority of Abu Dhabi. The Congress convenes global thought leaders and key decision-makers from all sectors of health care to share global best practices. Doctors and leadership from Children’s National Medical Center and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation have joined people from all over the world here at the Congress to exchange ideas for improving health care delivery.

All of Sunday’s sessions focused on one word: innovation. Conducted in a discussion format aimed at fostering open dialogue with the audience, the day’s presenters featured colleagues from many countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Singapore, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and others, who shared the latest innovations in nearly every aspect of health care. Topics ranged from reform of health policy to doctor-staffed call center models designed to care for people by telephone when distance prevents in person treatment, to new methods for tracking and managing chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease.

Today’s session began with welcoming remarks from H.E. Eng. Zaid al Siksek, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, who set the stage for the day's theme by noting that effective innovations in health care benefit not just one city or country, but every society around the world.

The promise of innovation is a key focus of the Sheikh Zayed Institute and Children’s National. Our doctors will carry this theme through their own panels and presentations on Monday, December 6, adding the unique perspective of pediatrics to the ongoing conversations here in Abu Dhabi. Be sure to check back for updates as the conference progresses.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Medical Engineering Expert Joins Institute

Kevin Cleary, PhD, has joined Children’s National as technical director and lead principal investigator of the Bioengineering Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. A research professor and engineer, Dr. Cleary joins the Institute’s interdisciplinary bioengineering team to focus on improving visualization in pediatric surgery through medical devices and robotics. As part of that work, he will adapt techniques developed for adult surgery to work better in the smaller bodies of children.

“The opportunity to work side by side with physicians to expand and improve the application of robotics and other devices for pediatric surgery is unprecedented,” Dr. Cleary said. “Robotics and image guidance for children’s surgery is a fledgling field, but we can advance it faster thanks to the unique, multidisciplinary set-up of this Institute.”

“Most devices are too large and cumbersome to be optimally used in children’s procedures, which can lead to unintended and unnecessary pain,” said Kurt Newman, MD, senior vice president at the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute. “Dr. Cleary’s diverse and extensive science and engineering research experience will add another facet of expertise to the Institute’s faculty.” Read news release.

Friday, October 29, 2010

5 Minutes with Dr. Evan Nadler: The Link Between Surgery and Obesity

Dr. Evan Nadler, co-director of the Obesity Institute at Children's National Medical Center, is also a principal investigator in the systems biology initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. What's the connection between pediatric obesity and surgery? Dr. Nadler is one of the few doctors who performs bariatric surgery on adolescents, and his research focuses on the systems biology of obesity and the safety and effectiveness of various weight loss procedures in adolescents.

He was recently profiled in Bariatric Times about his work in obesity supports the goals of the Sheikh Zayed Institute. He said: "Not only does obesity play a role in all the major diseases that lead to death, but the financial burden of the health care costs of obesity has overwhelmed our economy. Unfortunately, surgery is the only tool we have right now for significant and sustained weight loss. We need to learn more about how it works so that we can apply that knowledge to preventing weight gain in the first place.

"Furthermore, we need to know why some people are more successful than others following surgery. Surgery is a model through which we can explore the mechanisms at play in both weight gain and weight loss. Our bariatric surgery work is part of the Institute’s Systems Biology Initiative, a multidisciplinary effort to understand how distinct cells, tissues, and organs work together in disease and surgical interventions."

Explaining the goals of his research, Dr. Nadler said, "Working with genomics expert Monica Hubal, PhD, we have two studies underway through the Institute. The first looks at the genetics of weight loss surgery. We want to identify specific genetic variations in an individual that can predict success or failure for certain interventions. The overall goal is to develop personalized medicine approaches to selecting an obesity treatment based on a patient’s genetic profile. In the second study, we are examining muscle, liver, and fat tissue samples in patients before and after weight loss surgery to identify the molecular pathways important for successful extreme weight loss. The hypothesis is that the same pathways will be important for weight gain, and once they’re identified, you can target them with prevention strategies and therapies to hopefully make surgery obsolete."

Read the interview.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Robotic Surgery Expert Joins Sheikh Zayed Institute

Children’s National Medical Center has appointed Craig Peters, MD, chief of Surgical Technology and Translation and Principal Investigator in the bioengineering initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. His research will focus on customized surgical planning and evaluation, enhanced visualization during surgery, and minimal and noninvasive surgical methods. Dr. Peters will also be part of the Division of Urology, where he will treat infants, children, and adolescents with urological disorders.

“Robotic surgery has been my passion for the last eight or nine years of my work in minimally invasive surgery in urology,” Dr. Peters said. “The potential exists for robotic technology to improve surgery for children through better visualization, manipulation of tissues, and access to small areas. The Sheikh Zayed Institute provides unparalleled opportunities and resources to lead a paradigm shift in surgery toward greater precision and better outcomes.”

“Dr. Peters is an important part of our growing team of surgeons, researchers, and engineers that is coming together to transform children’s surgery,” said Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president for the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. “Robotics is an important part of that effort because it can improve how we as surgeons see and navigate within a child’s body. The benefit to children is less painful procedures and more successful outcomes.” Read the news release.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Heading to Abu Dhabi for the 2010 World Health Care Congress

Children’s National is pleased that several of our doctors and researchers have been invited to present at the World Health Care Congress in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 5-7. Co-sponsored by the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and the Tourism Authority of Abu Dhabi, the World Health Care Congress will convene more than 500 global thought leaders and decision-makers – including health ministers, leading government officials, hospital directors, IT innovations, and suppliers -- to share global best practices.

The Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation will be featured prominently on a panel discussion on precision surgery led by Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president at the Institute and the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Center for Surgical Care at Children’s National. Other speakers from the Institute will include Dr. Raymond Sze, Dr. Craig Peters, and Dr. Eric Hoffman. In addition, our chief medical officer, Dr. Peter Holbrook, will lead a session on transforming health care through safety and quality initiatives.

Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute are sponsoring a physician CME breakfast event on Dec. 6:
  • Dr. Sze -- "Understanding and Winning the Imaging Arm’s Race"
  • Dr. Peters -- "Using Tomorrow’s Surgical Technology Today"
Key speakers from Abu Dhabi will include His Excellency Zaid Al Siksek, CEO of the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi; Oliver Harrison, MD, director of public health & policy at HAAD, Carl Stanifer, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company; Cother Hajat, MBBS, MPH, PhD, MRCP, MFPH, section head for public health programmes at HAAD; and Finn Göldner, MD, director of health system financing at HAAD. Learn more about the conference.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sheikh Zayed Institute Surgeon Calls for Regulations to Ensure Safe, Effective Synthetic Biology

Louis M. Marmon, MD, PhD, a pediatric surgeon at Children’s National Medical Center and member of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, is coauthor of a paper in the October 2010 issue of Nature Biotechnology that calls on the scientific community to quickly implement regulations, funding, and oversight mechanisms to ensure that synthetic biology advances unimpeded and in safe and effective ways. This is the first peer-reviewed paper published by faculty of the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

Synthetic biology, the creation of synthetic life within a laboratory, could be the next scientific advancement to revolutionize medicine, potentially producing engineered microorganisms able to destroy cancer cells, repair defective genes, or break down toxins in the body. However, the promise of synthetic biology comes with risks and bioethical implications.

“Synthetic biology offers technologies that could address some of our most basic and important needs – health, clean water and clean energy," Dr. Marmon said. "At the same time, there are ethical concerns about creating synthetic or hybrid forms of life and the danger of those creations being accidentally or intentionally misused. That is why it is important to quickly develop additional regulations and oversight mechanisms to ensure that this promising science is not impeded by fear and is allowed to advance in coordinated, systematic ways that will foster innovation and competitiveness."

Coauthored with David A. LaVan, PhD, a mechanical engineer at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, the paper summarizes the discussion results of two recent national meetings on synthetic biology hosted by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"This paper is an important contribution to the science of synthetic biology," said Anthony Sandler, MD, chief of pediatric surgery at Children’s Center for Surgical Care and leader of the Sheikh Zayed Institute’s immunology initiative. "We are working to harness the full power of technology to improve surgery and in some cases eliminate the need for surgery all together. Synthetic biology is an emerging science, which supports that work, and the promotion of sound regulations and best practices will speed our progress and reassure the public that this work is taking place in safe, ethical and effective ways."

Kurt Newman, MD, senior vice president at the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care, said, "This is just the first of what will be many important publications and discoveries through the Sheikh Zayed Institute. Dr. Marmon is part of our growing dream team of doctors, scientists and engineers, whose groundbreaking work will transform surgery for children everywhere."

Read the news release.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Video: At Aspen Institute Forum in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Newman Shares Vision for Surgical Innovation for Children

At the Emirates-Aspen Forum on Innovation, sponsored by the Aspen Institute in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 5, Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, discussed the ways the Institute is rethinking surgery for children around the world. Dr. Newman was part of a panel on “Innovation in the Health Sector” with Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, healthcare associate director for Mubadala; Dr. B.R. Shetty, CEO of New Medical Center; and Finn Goldner, director of health system financing for the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi. View video. (Dr. Newman starts at 35:10.)

“I have been facing issues of taking care of children one at a time and seeing the issues that they deal with and families deal with as you care for them,” Dr. Newman said. “Maybe it seems mundane, but it’s the problems of big operations on small children, pain and big incisions. In the field it seemed like there was progress, but not the big quantum leaps that I would read about when people were decoding the genome and when we were doing all these other things.”

Dr. Newman explained that the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation has been challenged to think creatively and innovatively to find ways to make surgery more precise, less invasive, and pain-free for children. “This was a very different way of thinking than we usually think about in science and medicine. Usually it is very incremental…it’s not taking big leaps…it’s not that kind of a culture.”

The Institute is driven by big ideas and a spirit of innovation, he said. “There’s a sense of urgency -- we’ve got to get this done. We want to do it and it’s attracting the best talent from around the world. People want to make a difference. And they want to have this opportunity of freedom, of some resources, of an opportunity to take some shots. We’re not sure what’s going to work, but they’re going to take some shots and change the paradigm.”

View video.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Video: The Future of Surgery

Dr. Kurt Newman, Dr. Timothy Kane, and Dr. Craig Peters of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation discussed "The Future of Surgery" at Grand Rounds on Sept. 29. In this hour-long video, learn how our physicians and researchers are applying the latest innovations in imaging, robotics, and technology to make surgery more precise and less invasive.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Leader in Minimally Invasive Surgery Joins Sheikh Zayed Institute

Dr. Timothy Kane has joined the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation as a principal investigator in the Minimally Invasive Therapy Program in the Bioengineering Initiative. He is also associate chief of clinical affairs and program director of the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship Program in the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care.

“This is an exciting time to join Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation,” Dr. Kane said. “Children’s National and the Institute provide the support and infrastructure needed to pursue ambitious and novel ideas to advance pediatric surgery. For example, the opportunity to work side-by-side with bioengineers to develop new surgical instruments that are more appropriately sized for children’s bodies is unprecedented. That kind of research has not been well supported by the traditional market or in university settings because it is too expensive, but it is sorely needed to advance children’s surgical care.”

Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president at the Sheikh Zayed Institute and the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care, said, “Dr. Kane is an important addition to our team of world-class surgery leaders. As one of the nation’s leading practitioners of minimally invasive surgery for children, he will lead our efforts to train current and future surgeons and help us quickly translate research findings into standard clinical care.”

Dr. Kane comes to Children’s National Medical Center from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he was chair of the Committee on Surgical Innovation, clinical director of the Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery, and director of Minimally Invasive Surgery. Read the news release.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Children’s National Honored with Visit by UAE Health Officials

Physicians and officials at Children’s National Medical Center, including the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, hosted a delegation of senior health officials from the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday. Led by His Excellency Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassimi, minister of health for the UAE, the group discussed the latest trends and practices in pediatrics and opportunities to collaborate to benefit children in the United States, the UAE, and worldwide.

Other delegation members were His Excellency Nasser Al Budoor, Director of International Relations and Health Affairs and Director of the Health Minister’s Office; Dr, Nariman Al Mulla, advisor to the UAE Minister of Health and chairwoman of the Federal Health Authority Steering Committee; Dr. Yasser Al Nuaimi, Director of the Department of Curative Medicine at the UAE Ministry of Health and Director of Clinical Education at Ras Al Khaimah Medical District; and Dr. Yousif Al Serkal, Acting Director of the Al-Kuwait Hospital in Sharjah and Head of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Gerard Martin, senior vice president in the Center for Heart, Lung, and Kidney Disease, and Dr. Craig Sable discussed congenital heart disease and its impact on both children and adults. They also demonstrated the technology in a state-of-the-art media room, which allowed them to observe a live surgery and talk with a doctor in Morocco via videoconference. Obesity was also a major topic of discussion, as it is an increasingly serious problem both in the United States and the Middle East.

Dr. Peter Holbrook, chief medical officer, discussed Children’s National’s approach to personalizing medicine for each child while also focusing on population health – treating entire populations of children, wherever they are. He also highlighted the important role of telemedicine in sharing knowledge and best practices across the world. “Two-thirds of children who die worldwide die from conditions that are easily prevented or easily treated,” he said. “It’s not a discovery problem; it’s a dissemination problem. And telemedicine helps fill that gap.”

Dr. Kurt Newman introduced several members of his “dream team” at the Sheikh Zayed Institute – Dr. Anthony Sandler, Dr. Raymond Sze, Dr. Julia Finkel, Dr. Craig Peters, Dr. Timothy Kane, Dr. Nabile Safdar, and Dr. Larry Mahan – who shared their gratitude for the generosity of the Government of Abu Dhabi and the people of the United Arab Emirates whose historic gift has made their work possible.

Dr. Mark Batshaw described the integrated approach Children’s National takes to research – applying discoveries as quickly as possible since research is conducted in the same building where care is provided. The delegation also met with James Lintott, Chairman of the Board; Pam King Sams, executive vice president for development; and Oussama Elbaba, Director of the International Program at Children’s National.

At the conclusion of the visit, Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassimi expressed his appreciation for the hospitality of the doctors. “We are proud of this relationship, which shows the mutual understanding between the UAE and this hospital,” he said. “This initiative to create the Sheikh Zayed Institute within the hospital is one of the most important initiatives the UAE has taken in the past few years. It will be beneficial to the people in both countries.”

Friday, September 17, 2010

Checking Out the New Institute Space

On the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, staff and physicians examine the progress of the sixth-floor research space that will house the Institute in 2011.

Back row, from left to right: Dr. Kate Davenport, Deborah Brown, Dr. Kurt Newman, Dr. Zena Quezado, Carol Manning, Pamela King, Dr. Larry Mahan, Dr. Catherine Limperopoulos, Tricia Paulino, and Marie Pichaske
Front row, from left to right: Dr. Timothy Kane, Dr. Craig Peters, Dr. Nabile Safdar, Dr. Raymond Sze, Dr. Evan Nadler, and Dr. Eric Hoffman.

From left to right: Andrew Blair, chairman of the Children's Hospital Foundation Board; Dr. Mark Batshaw, director of the Children's Research Institute; and Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president at the Joseph E. Robert Jr. Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

What a Difference a Year Makes -- for Children

On Sept. 16, 2009, Children’s National Medical Center announced the creation of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. One year later, the hospital commemorated the anniversary by noting the progress made – and the important work that lies ahead to improve surgery and the health of children everywhere.

In the afternoon, Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president at the Joseph E. Robert Jr. Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute, and Dr. Julia Finkel, one of the principal investigators for the pain medicine initiative, addressed members of the Guardian Society, composed of generous donors who are supporting the medical center through planned gifts. “One of the best things about the Institute is that I’m getting to put together a dream team,” Dr. Newman said. “We’re attracting people who’ve reached the pinnacle of their careers – and they’re choosing to leave prestigious positions to be part of the Institute. That just shows the magic of this Institute, this dream – the ability to take on some risks and tackle big problems. That’s what Children’s National is really all about.

“It is like going out and getting the best free agents to build the best team possible, which you can do because you have the resources to do it.”

Dr. Finkel talked about progress she and her team are making toward eliminating pain for children facing surgery. “None of these things could happen without the Institute,” she said. “The mandate is to change the standard of care, and it is just phenomenally exciting.”

On Thursday evening, Edwin K. Zechman, Jr., chief executive officer of Children’s National, and Dr. Mark Batshaw, head of the Children’s Research Institute, led a celebration of the hospital’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health. Children’s National is the first children’s hospital to receive the prestigious award, which will provide $20 million in research funding over the next five years. Together with the Sheikh Zayed Institute and other research funding, the CTSA award will help Children's National continue its progress toward combating some of the deadliest childhood diseases.

“One person can’t whistle a symphony alone,” said Jill Joseph, CTSA Principal Investigator. “Starting from the conceptual beginning, this is the spirit of our CTSA -- true collaboration that reaches across laboratory, clinical, and community research settings, as well as institutional boundaries -- to truly improve health outcomes for children.”

Also see:

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Taking the Pain Out of Surgery," The National (UAE)

The Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation was prominently featured in the weekly magazine of The National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. Reporter Sophie Roell spent a lot of time at our hospital and shared her firsthand perspectives on the Institute and the doctors who are working to advance surgery. "No parent wants to see a child in pain – of any kind, ever," Roell writes in her article, "Taking the Pain Out of Surgery." "Harder still is the idea that a child or tiny baby should have to go through surgery, or even multiple surgeries, as a result of an illness or accident."

The article reports on progress made since the Institute was announced in September 2009. Dr. Kurt Newman, senior vice president at the Joseph E. Robert Jr. Center for Surgical Care and the Institute, said, "The vision is with children and their families – how to change radically the outcomes and results of surgery for children....What this institute proposes to do is work backward. If a child were having surgery, what would you like that to look like? What would the optimum outcome be?"

The article describes the innovative equipment and facilities that will enable researchers to discover breakthroughts that will make surgery more precise, less invasive, and pain-free. And those researchers represent some of the brightest minds in pediatric science. "We were stunned how quickly we heard from amazingly talented people,” said Deborah Brown, executive director of the institute. "They heard about the gift and they wanted to come. Within a day – on the day of the announcement -- we had calls from people saying they wanted to come.”

The historic gift of $150 million is enabling Children's National to tackle medical issues that are often underfunded. "The problems that children have are fewer in number, and the diseases are frequently rarer,” said Dr. Newman. "There are not as many doctors working on them, and the work may not be as profitable....It’s a huge deal, a huge bonus, to apply this amount of resources to what could be viewed as a very narrow area of focus. It gives us the opportunity to have a big impact."

And the discoveries made in Washington, D.C., will benefit children around the world, the article says. "Whether it’s new medicines to eliminate pain, or new ways to do surgery, we want to bring the things we learn to Abu Dhabi and elsewhere around the world," Dr. Newman said."

Read the article.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

InformationWeek: "Advancing IT, Propelling Pediatric Surgery"

The Aug. 19 issue of Information Week features Dr. Nabile Safdar, principal investigator for the bioengineering initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, and his work to apply the latest technologies to improve surgery.

"While video gaming gives teenagers the feeling of being immersed in a 3D world of complex landscapes and allows them to communicate in real time, those same types of technologies can be applied for simulated training and preparation of surgeons doing delicate operations on kids, such as spine surgery to correct scoliosis, curvature of the spine. 'In most cases, in 2010 we prepare the same way for surgery as 30 to 40 years ago,' Safdar said. That means surgeons rely on 2D X-rays to prepare and plan for many procedures, rather than 3D views of the patient's organs....

"But the use of medical imaging technologies such as low-radiation CT scans combined with special algorithms can be used to get 'dynamic 3D representations of the spine ahead of time, so that there's much less guesswork in surgery,' he said....'We tend to think of surgery as what goes on in the operating room,' Safdar said. 'But surgery is a round trip that starts and ends with the patient,' he said. That includes multiple visits to doctors, specialists, labs, and other testing facilities to make diagnosis and plans for surgery. 'Along the way, a lot of technology isn't leveraged at all,' he said. That includes the bringing together of information that comes from lab tests, medical images, electronic health records (EHRs), and other sources....

"Another aim of the institute is to develop or improve asynchronous real-time communication so that clinicians and other medical experts can better collaborate and share information in real-time, rather than rely on phone tag or e-mail, he said. Instant messaging isn't used in healthcare because it's not secure enough for exchanging patient's medical information. New developments in presence technologies could bolster communication among clinicians during patient procedures, he said.

"As for the team of bioengineers, technologists, and clinicians being assembled for the institute, 'our goal is to work in the same location, share expertise,' so that care and outcomes are improved not only for children treated at Children's National Medical Center, 'but for all children,' he said."

Read the article.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Director of Innovation and Business Development Calls Institute "Unparalelled Opportunity to Accelerate Discovery"

Children’s National Medical Center has appointed Lawrence C. Mahan, PhD, as director of innovation and business development for the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and the Office of Innovation and Investigational Therapeutics in the Children's Research Institute. Dr. Mahan will play a critical role at Children’s National by identifying and developing long-term initiatives that advance scientific projects and secure strategic partnerships and business opportunities for the center.

“The Sheikh Zayed Institute is assembling an impressive team of national research leaders from diverse fields,” Mahan said. “I am looking forward to helping them carry their ideas from the lab to clinics worldwide. Progress in research is often hindered by inadequate funding, resources, technology, and coordination, but the institute brings it all together, providing a structure and unparalleled opportunity to accelerate discovery. I’ll make sure they have the support they need to be successful.”

Dr. Mahan has experience in advanced technology initiatives development and government relations. He is an accomplished senior scientist, who holds four U.S. patents and has more than 25 years experience in basic medical research, including 12 years service in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read more.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HAAD: Partnership "Takes Innovative Approach to Improving Surgery for Children"

In a news release about the trip by a delegation of doctors and executives from Children's National Medical Center, the Health Authorty - Abu Dhabi emphasizes the progress of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation in moving "from concept to reality."

His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, said: “We remain grateful to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, as it is through their generosity and visionary leadership that such progress has been made possible. Over the past year, it’s been exciting to see the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation go from a concept to reality."

The release also quotes Dr. Kurt Newman, the surgeon-in-chief at Children’s National Medical Center and senior vice president of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, as saying: “We are hiring some of the world’s best surgeons and researchers and are creating innovative facilities designed to support collaboration. We are on our way to making discoveries that will directly improve surgery for children.”

Read the news release on HAAD's website.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Royal Visit

On Thursday, our final full day, we were honored to be invited to have an audience with His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Kurt Newman, Surgeon-in-Chief and Senior Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, and Pam King Sams, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Children's Hospital Foundation, expressed Children’s National’s gratitude for his generosity and leadership which enabled the creation of the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

The Crown Prince was given presents from Children’s National patients, and discussed the progress of the Institute, including world-class recruitment, construction of facilities, and efforts to expand the partnership to improve the health of children in the UAE and worldwide.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Collaboration Continues into Mealtime

On Wednesday evening, the leaders of the Sheikh Zayed Institute's Bioengineering Initiative collaborated over a traditional Yemeni meal of chicken and goat, eaten by hand while seated on the floor. Over dinner, Dr. Sze and Dr. Safdar shared their observations of the health system of Abu Dhabi after visiting several hospitals and meeting with officials about opportunities to expand our relationship through education and training, clinical care, and partnerships.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Historic Meeting for Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute'

From left to right, Dr. Ali Al Ali, Jim Lintott, HE Zaid Siksek, and Dr. Kurt Newman:

On Tuesday afternoon, we held the inaugural meeting of the Executive Oversight Committee of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. In Abu Dhabi, Children’s National participants (Dr. Kurt Newman, Jim Lintott, Pam King Sams, and Miriam Markowitz) were joined by His Excellency Zaid Al Siksek, CEO of the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), and Dr. Ali Al Ali, director of health regulation at HAAD.

Participating by videoconference in Washington, D.C., were Edwin K. Zechman, Jr., president and CEO; Dr. Peter Holbrook, chief medical officer; and Ray Sczudlo, executive vice president and chief legal officer.

After the committee was formally charged and committee memberships were approved, Dr. Newman presented a progress report on the Sheikh Zayed Institute as well as a financial report. Mr. Zechman and Mr. Lintott then reported on accomplishments, priorities, and plans for Children’s National.

Dr. Ali Al Ali, Miriam Markowitz, Jim Lintott, HE Zaid Siksek, Dr. Kurt Newman, and Pam King Sams:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Health Authority-Abu Dhabi

After communicating with officials at the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi by phone, email, and mail over the past year or so, it was our pleasure today to meet with them at their office for the first time. Our doctors gave several HAAD officials a progress report on the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and discussed ways to possibly extend our partnership to benefit children in the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Tomorrow will be the first meeting of the Executive Oversight Committee, by videoconference linking Abu Dhabi and Washington, D.C.

Our various meetings today underscored HAAD's commitment to improving the health of children in Abu Dhabi and beyond, and we look forward to extending our partnership to provide tangible benefits to families in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

Side Trip to Sheikh Zayed Mosque

After our meetings this afternoon, Dr. Kurt Newman, Jim Lintott, Dr. Zena Quezado, Dr. Ray Sze, Jim Lintott, Tricia Paulino, and I visited the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque, commonly known as the Grand Mosque. The mosque is the largest in the United Arab Emirates and one of the largest in the world, covering 22,212 square feet -- the size of five football fields. The design is primarily Moroccan but was also built with artisans and materials from Italy, Germany, India, Turkey, Iran, China, Greece, and the UAE. It was constructed with natural materials -- marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals, and ceramics -- and includes the world's largest carpet and the world's largest chandelier.

New Partners

As part of our meetings at the hospitals yesterday and at the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi today, we welcomed several new partners to the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Pictured here are our doctors with Dr. Fares Chedid, senior consultant neonatologist at Tawam Hospital, Dr. Jaishen Rajah, chair of pediatrics and senior general pediatrician at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, who have been appointed to the Research Advisory Committee, and Dr. Mohamed Hamdan, senior consultant and head of pediatric cardiology at Tawam Hospital, who has been appointed to the Scientific Advisory Committee. We are pleased to welcome Drs. Chedid, Rajah, and Hamdan and look forward to collaborating with them to advance the goals of the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

Dr. Sze and Dr. Quezado Visit Sheikh Khalifa Medical City

In the afternoon, Dr. Raymond Sze and Dr. Zena Quezado visited Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), a group of health care facilities located on an island that's five miles wide and nine miles long. Managed and directed by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, the medical center provides comprehensive care through its Centers of Excellence. Earlier this year, the hospital performed the first-ever pediatric kidney transplant in the UAE, with a 40-year-old donor and a 5-year-old recipient.

Joined by Miriam Markowitz, corporate vice president for strategic planning and business development, and Oussama Elbaba, director of international programs, Dr. Sze and Dr. Quezado presented updates on their respective areas of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, bioengineering and pain medicine. The presentations provoked a lively discussion, especially on the safety of anesthesia and trends and ethics related to pain medicine. When Oussama reported that Dr. Quezado received at least 10 questions, compared with Dr. Sze's three, Dr. Sze quickly countered: "But my three were quality questions."

An "Oasis of Care": Dr. Finkel and Dr. Safdar Visit Tawam Hospital

I was fortunate to be able to join Dr. Julie Finkel and Dr. Nabile Safdar for a visit to Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, an hour and a half drive from the capital, near the border of Oman. The hospital, which opened in 1979, is called "an oasis of care" -- fitting, because Al Ain's greenery and seven oases have earned the city the name "the Garden City." Al Ain is also the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for whom the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children's National Medical Center is named.

We were pleased to be joined by a Children's National colleague we had not met before -- Issam Ramadan, who is the director of our Abu Dhabi office. It was helpful to have someone who speaks Arabic, but everyone at the hospital was warm and welcoming, and language was not a barrier.

We discussed the work at the Sheikh Zayed Institute and priority health needs in Abu Dhabi with about a dozen of the hospital's top physicians. One of them, Dr. Mohamed A. Hamdan, the head of pediatric cardiology, has been appointed to the Institute's Scientific Advisory Committee. Another, Dr. Fares Chedid, senior consultant neonatologist, has joined the Institute's Research Advisory Committee. We also took a tour of the hospital, including the pediatric units.

Dr. Aiman Al Rahmani, chairman of pediatrics at Tawan Hospital, talks with Dr. Safdar and Dr. Finkel:

Dr. Safdar and Dr. Finkel with Dr. Hamdan and Dr. Chedid:

Prepping for Meetings

After being joined by Dr. Kurt Newman, Pam King Sams, and Jim Lintott, our group is now complete. After a long day of travelling and meetings, we debriefed at the hotel before starting a busy day tomorrow.

From left to right, Oussama Elbaba, Patricia Paulino, Miriam Markowitz, Dr. Julie Finkel, Dr. Kurt Newman, Jim Lintott, Pam King Sams, Mark Miller, Dr. Ray Sze, Dr. Nabile Safdar, and Dr. Zena Quezado.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We've arrived, though two of our suitcases have not. People describe the Middle East as having "dry heat," but when we got here around 8:00 p.m., it was well over 90 degrees with 85 percent humidity. Even now, at about 4:00 a.m. local time, it's like a sauna outside. I've been working with Verizon to get my phone working, and now that it is, we're all set with technology. I now have access to phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, and our blogging tool.

We've had much of our material translated to Arabic for this and future trips to this region. Here's Dr. Bear displaying my new business card in Arabic, and what "Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation" looks like in Arabic.

13 Hours to Go

I'm sitting in Etihad Airways' lounge at JFK with Dr. Nabile Safdar, Dr. Raymond Sze, Dr. Julie Finkel, and Dr. Zena Quezado, awaiting our 13-hour flight to Abu Dhabi. When we arrive, it will be 8:00 pm Saturday (it's an eight-hour time difference). All of them are working furiously on their laptops -- they told me they're preparing for their meetings in Abu Dhabi, catching up on world news, and getting to emails and other tasks that are hard to do in the office.

Sunday's schedule will have the doctors visiting Tawam Hospital and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. Assuming technology cooperates, I'll post an update and photos from our first day there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Children's National Becomes First Children's Hospital to Receive CTSA Award from NIH

Children's National Medical Center, in partnership with the George Washington University Medical Center, has received a prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health. This award, which totals $20 million over five years, is the first CTSA given directly to a children's hospital. Many other CTSA member institutions have research tracks that include pediatric research, but this collaboration will be the first ever to focus specifically on how scientific breakthroughs can be brought more quickly and efficiently to the care of young patients locally and around the world. In addition, the institution's close proximity to the nation's capital will bring basic science into community engagement research and health policy applications, making these discoveries accessible for those most in need.

Created in 2008 as a partnership between Children’s National Medical Center and the George Washington University, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute focuses on three main areas:
  • Diseases of childhood, such as cancer, birth defects, developmental disabilities, asthma;
  • Childhood diseases that persist into adulthood, or adults living with childhood diseases long term—for example congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy; and
  • Diseases of adulthood that begin in childhood and are worsened or develop with age, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Read more.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Doctors from Sheikh Zayed Institute to Visit Abu Dhabi to Report on Progress

On July 18-22, a delegation of doctors and executives from Children’s National Medical Center will travel to Abu Dhabi to express their gratitude for a $150 million gift that created the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation in September 2009. During the visit, the physicians will provide updates on progress at the Institute and conduct business meetings with their partners in Abu Dhabi. Specific events will include:
  • Meetings with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi
  • The inaugural meeting of the Sheikh Zayed Institute Executive Oversight Committee
  • Meetings with members of the Sheikh Zayed Institute’s Research Advisory Committee and Scientific Advisory Committees
  • Visits by doctors to area hospitals
Media Availability:

The doctors and executives will be available for media interviews while they are in Abu Dhabi. They can discuss the work of the Sheikh Zayed Institute and the historic partnership between the UAE and Children’s National Medical Center, the latest innovations in pediatric surgery, and other topics related to children’s health.

  • James W. Lintott, Chairman of the Board, Children’s National Medical Center
  • Dr. Kurt Newman, Surgeon in Chief and Senior Vice President, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and the Joseph E. Robert Jr. Center for Surgical Care
  • Dr. Julia Finkel, Principal Investigator, Pain Medicine, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation
  • Dr. Zena Quezado, Principal Investigator, Pain Medicine, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation
  • Dr. Raymond Sze, Principal Investigator, Bioengineering, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation
  • Dr. Nabile Safdar, Principal Investigator, Bioengineering, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation
  • Pam King Sams, Executive Vice President for Development
  • Miriam Markowitz, Corporate Vice President, Strategic Planning and Business Development
  • Oussama Elbaba, Director, International Programs

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leading Radiologist and Imaging Specialist Joins Institute

Children’s National Medical Center has announced the appointment of Nabile Safdar, MD, as principal investigator of the Bioengineering Initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. A musculoskeletal radiologist and imaging informaticist, Dr. Safdar joins the Institute’s interdisciplinary bioengineering team to harness the full power of science and technology through a dynamically supported and fully integrated research and clinical program dedicated to accelerating advances in children’s surgical care.

“Before a surgeon ever operates, they review all available data to make sure they know where they’re going and what they’ll be seeing,” Dr. Safdar said. “Today, most of our views of the body, to draw an analogy, resemble a basic road map. We want to use advanced visualization, simulation and modeling techniques to make a quantum leap forward in how we view a patient’s body before surgery. We want to give surgeons a three-dimensional street-level view that’s more precise and enables the best outcomes for every patient.”

Dr. Safdar’s Institute research will focus on improving pre- and post-surgical evaluation through biomedical imaging and computational sciences, and improving the training of radiologists and surgeons in these advanced methods, including the use of computer assisted surgery. Read more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Institute Researcher: Propofol Has Low Risk in Pediatric Imaging Research Studies, but Risk Increases with Duration

Dr. Zena Quezado, director of the Pain Neurobiology Laboratory at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, has published a study showing that propofol, a well-known anesthesia medication, has a low occurrence of adverse events for children undergoing research-driven imaging studies. The findings indicated a low incidence of adverse events and no long-term complications when propofol was used to sedate children for imaging studies that require them to be still for long periods of time.

However, propofol does show an increased risk for respiratory, cardiovascular, and other side effects if anesthesia is administered over a long period of time or if the child has other complicating factors, including some systemic disease or an airway abnormality. It is also the first imaging study to show an increase in risk to the child with each 30-minute increment a child was under anesthesia.

“Getting a child to remain still in an uncomfortable environment during a medical imaging procedure, such an MRI or CT scan, where bodily movement undermines the procedure’s quality, is a near impossible task, which is why anesthesia is commonly used,” Dr. Quezado said. “We know that propofol can be safely administered in pediatric research studies by well-trained anesthesiologists who are prepared to anticipate and respond to all events, which minimizes the risk of adverse issues. We are applying the findings of this research immediately in our own work, and will help others ensure that every study involving children is safe, ethical and effective.”

The study appeared in the June 7 issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Read more.

Friday, June 4, 2010

NIH Researcher Joins Institute to Seek End to Children's Pain

"Unanswered questions drive me,” said Zena Quezado, MD, a pediatric anesthesiologist who has joined the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation from the National Institutes of Health. “We are research advocates for those with no voice – infants, premature infants, and developmentally disabled children.”

Dr. Quezado serves as director of the Pain Neurobiology Laboratory at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, joining a team of medical visionaries who are coming together at the Institute to re-imagine the entire pediatric surgical experience and create a new standard for surgical instruction and research. Dr. Quezado’s Institute research will focus on the mechanisms of pain response and response to novel drugs. In addition to her research duties, Dr. Quezado is also a pediatric anesthesiologist within the Center for Surgical Care. She will work closely with Julia Finkel, MD, a preeminent pain medicine physician-scientist and leader in the field of pain medicine.

At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Quezado served as Chief of the Department of Anesthesia and Surgical Services at the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center. An active researcher, Quezado has published more than 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts in clinical and scientific medical journals.

Read the news release