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.