Friday, September 17, 2010

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.”

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