Friday, December 16, 2011

Safe Kids Worldwide provides child passenger safety training in Abu Dhabi

The Children's delegation attending the World Health Care Congress Middle East weren't alone in Abu Dhabi this past week. Our colleagues at Safe Kids Worldwide were also there, holding a week of trainings around Abu Dhabi on child passenger safety. Based in Washington, DC, Safe Kids Worldwide is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1987 by Children's National. According to Safe Kids data, traffic crashes are the second major cause of death in the UAE. The UAE has six times more deaths from road traffic accidents per year than the U.S. and Europe. As a result, child passenger safety has become a major focus for governmental agencies in UAE, including the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD).

These trainings was hosted by HAAD with the aim of helping medical professionals, child care providers, police officers, and others improve child passenger safety in motor vehicles in UAE. Three certified instructors from the United States who lead the Safe Kids USA National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Program and child occupant protection programming through the Safe Kids Buckle Up program taught the sessions. The instructors posted more about their experiences on the Safe Kids blog.   

The classroom portion of a training session in UAE.
The trainings included a certification program for twelve individuals to receive U.S. certification as new child passenger safety technicians, which will enable them to educate families and caregivers about how to safely transport children in vehicles throughout the Emirate. The trainees learned:
  • Crash dynamics 
  •  Selecting and securing any car seat in any vehicle
  • Selecting the correct restraint for the age, weight and height of a child
  • Problem solving where everyone should sit in a vehicle (children, infants, adults) 
  • Talking to parents about child passenger safety 
Trainees gained hands on experience in child passenger safety as well.
Additionally, there were several awareness trainings for police officers and community educators to prepare them to teach parents and caregivers how to make children safer in vehicles. Skills included:
  • How to do “curbside” education with motorists they have stopped
  • What to quickly scan for during a curbside stop when children are in the vehicle
  • The rules of basic child restraint selection and installation
  • Safety features in vehicles that protect all occupants such as airbags in the front, side and roofline
It was great to see our colleagues while on the ground in Abu Dhabi and to hear that their trainings were well received by the community, who have shown such an interest in finding better ways to keep Abu Dhabi children safe from accidental injuries.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Drs. Kim and Cora-Bramble speak at 3rd Annual SEHA Research Conference

In addition to the World Health Care Congress Middle East, Peter Kim, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and Denice Cora-Bramble, Acting Executive Vice President, Ambulatory Services, Senior Vice President of the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children's National were asked to present two keynote talks at the 3rd Annual SEHA Research Conference, also held in Abu Dhabi. The theme for this year is "Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Healthcare."

Dr. Kim: Sustainable Translational Research: Fantasy or Reality?
Many academic medical centers around the world are putting renewed emphasis on translational research, or research that is quickly transferred from laboratory developments to clinical settings to improve care and treatment. Dr. Kim defined translational research and discussed why all translational research programs need to include several components of sustainability in order to have a lasting impact on health care. He outlined successful translational research already under way, and illustrated how such successes could be scaled up to create not just a single program but perhaps an entire research community or network aimed at building a sustainable ecosystem dedicated to translational research as the new worldwide research paradigm.

"The important thing is to identify enough ingredients in an effective research program to make a stable combination," he said. "Success is a matter of finding that right combination."

Dr. Cora-Bramble: Research Ethics: A Global Perspective
Over the past decades, research studies involving diverse populations have at times resulted in exploitation and harm to participants. Through a series of global case studies, Dr. Cora-Bramble discussed the principles and practice of ethical research and provided examples of research ethical lapses. She also addressed the importance of cultural and linguistic issues in research, and notable community and patient-centered research models, such as community-based participatory research, were presented during her workshop.

"Effective community based research has to be about more than just publishing a study. We have to look at how the study will impact the community, and actively engage the community throughout the process, including sharing the outcomes with them," she said.

The leadership of SEHA graciously recognized both Dr.Kim and Dr. Cora-Bramble
for their participation in the conference.

World Health Care Congress Panel: Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

On the third and final day of the World Health Care Congress Middle East, Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, Acting Executive Vice President for Ambulatory Services and Senior Vice President of the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children's National Medical Center, participated in one of the WHCC’s Keynote Panel discussions, entitled, “Promoting Healthy Lifestyles.”

Dr. Cora-Bramble joined Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Director, Customer Care and Corporate Communication Division at HAAD; Dr. Ali Al Obaidli, Chief Clinical Officer at Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA); P.R. Smith, Author and Founder of the Great Sportsmanship Programme UK and; renowned TV Chef, Osama El Sayed, to compare and contrast approaches to healthy living and education, and discuss how health care professionals can play an active role in the community by raising health awareness.

The panel, featuring Dr. Cora-Bramble, was a keynote session.

Her comments focused on explaining the role of schools in promoting healthy lifestyles among children, using the District of Columbia Healthy Schools Act that was passed in 2010 as an example. That act was designed to make all public school meals healthier, increase the amount of local fruits and vegetables served, and provide more physical activity and health education opportunities for school aged children.

But to truly gain traction in helping families develop healthier lifestyles takes even more. "To have healthy children you have to look at not just one component of their lives, but all. Where they spend their time- school, home, etc-, what foods they have access to, and where they play. All these things either deter or encourage a child to be healthy,” she said.

Dr. Cora-Bramble and the celebrity Chef Osama El Sayed.

Chef Osama also interviewed Dr. Cora-Bramble for his television show.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Exciting demos at the Children’s exhibit booth draw a crowd

Children’s National has a significant role in this year’s World Health Care Congress Middle East. We sponsored a large exhibit at the meeting. Our booth was also lucky enough to host two of the Sheikh Zayed Institute's external collaborators.

Our booth at the World Health Care Congress Middle East.

These partners stole the show. The first, MDA, designs robotic arms for use in space. They brought a demo of a robotic arm that can be controlled remotely and extremely precise--even a new user can quickly become adept enough to pick up small objects. The systems sends the user haptic cues, which means that a  virtual "sense of touch" is relayed to the user via the stick that is used to move the arm around. Ideally, this technology could be adapted to perform routine precise tasks, like sutures, in extremely small places. Visitors were able to use the robotic arm themselves to loop small plastic rings over a series of posts. It was a huge hit, and even made the local Abu Dhabi television.

MDA demonstrates its robotic arm technology that might be applied in pediatrics.

“We are looking forward to working with the Sheikh Zayed Institute and Dr. Kim to adapt the precision and accuracy of the robotics we use in space to pediatric surgery,” said Dave Caddell, Executive Vice President, MDA.

Additionally, we were able to display a set of virtual reality surgical simulation systems that Dr. Kim has worked to develop for the last few years. The system allows surgical trainees to view a virtual model of the 3D surface of target tissues and laparoscopic tools, in real time. It also has a force feedback haptic interface, meaning the tools are able to produce tactile cues that help the user know exactly where his or her tools are located within the body.

A video demo of the 3D simulation system.

Needless to say, having cool robotics technology for people to try really made a big difference in booth traffic. Abu Dhabi TV, local news, reported that the team within the Children’s National booth had the most lively booth in the exhibit hall, and there were frequently crowds gathered around the technology. Though these technologies are still under development, seeing the current designs through video and interactive demos allowed conference go-ers to imagine all the interesting possibilities of applying these "space age technologies" to children's surgery.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Innovations in Pediatric Chronic Diseases: Children's National Panel at World Health Care Congress Middle East

Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute hosted a sponsored luncheon session on the second day of the World Health Care Congress Middle East, “Innovations in Pediatric Chronic Diseases,” focused on effective programs in diabetes, obesity and asthma for children that will help guide other regions with similar health challenges, for example, Abu Dhabi. The session was moderated by Peter Kim, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

Dr. Cogen presented about the latest developments in pediatric diabetes, and how her team works with families to develop treatment strategies using these approaches and devices in ways that work best for each individual child. "Innovations for children are only possible when the social and psychological support is available to support children and families in accepting changing processes and procedures," she said.

Dr. Nadler presented an overview of the challenge of childhood obesity, both in the United States and in Abu Dhabi. He noted that, for teens with severe obesity, diet and lifestyle changes may not be enough to really improve their lives. "We have been facing this problem for 20 years and we still don't have a diet or behavior modification plan that works consistently for everyone." In cases of severe obesity, Dr. Nadler said that families should consider weight loss surgery a viable option that has research-proven success.

Dr. Cogen and Dr. Nadler at their luncheon session.

Dr. Teach talked about his innovative asthma program, IMPACT DC, which provides support to children with asthma, teaching them to manage the disease as a chronic, rather than episodic, occurrence. He also talked about some promising new treatments, including immunomodulation therapies, which counter the body's reaction to asthma triggers.
Dr. Teach confers with colleagues Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, and Philip Pearl, MD.
It was a packed room for this session, and the audience included some reporters from local media outlets. 

Dr. Kim previews the panel session for reporters before it begins.

2011 World Health Care Congress Middle East

Children’s National has once again sent a delegation to participate in the World Health Care Congress Middle East in Abu Dhabi, UAE. This is the second year of the conference, which gathers health care policy makers and leaders from the region and around the world to discuss better ways to deliver health care services.

Innovation continues to be a theme of the Congress, with particular emphasis on how innovations in terms of efficiency, waste reduction, and overall health system management can really improve a hospital’s bottom line. This is even true in times of economic instability, a global occurrence that demonstrates another shared challenge that is not limited by a country’s physical boundaries. 

Our delegations always benefit from these conferences because they are a great opportunity for us to spend time with our colleagues here in Abu Dhabi and the Gulf region face to face.  
Our full delegation attended the opening session.

Dr. Kim gives an interview to Abu Dhabi TV. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

FDA Visits the Sheikh Zayed Institute and Children’s National

Guest Post by Martha Houle, PhD

On November 8, 2011, a delegation of 15 representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) visited the Sheikh Zayed Institute for preliminary discussions of possible collaborations and exchanges.

The group was led by Susan Cummins, MD, MPH, Chief Pediatric Medical Officer at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).  In August 2010, Dr. Cummins became the first “Pediatric Champion” at CDRH, bringing with her more than 25 years of public health practice experience, including nearly eight years with the pediatric program and Drug Safety Oversight Board within the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.  

The day began at 10am, with introductions and general discussion of programs, initiatives, and possible synergies.  Our visitors were then led on tours of the Division of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology as well as the Sheikh Zayed Institute, including the bioengineering lab where they were shown some of our work involving 3D imaging and robotics.

At noon, as part of the Institute’s Innovation Rounds, Dr. Cummins provided a brief overview of some processes and regulations at CDRH, along with their rationale and function.  She also spoke to the recent Institute of Medicine recommendations regarding the 510(k) pre-market clearance for new devices and how it impacts their development.  More than 50 Children’s National faculty and staff attended this interesting lecture.

Dr. Cummins was joined by two of her colleagues; Megan Moynihan, Acting Associate Director for Technology and Innovation at CDRH and Linda Ulrich, MD, a medical officer in the Office of Orphan Products Development and Director of the Pediatric Device Consortia Grant Program since its inception in 2009.

Ms. Moynihan presented the Innovation Pathway Project, a priority review program launched in February.  It is designed to encourage cutting-edge technologies among medical device manufacturers and to strengthen the nation’s research infrastructure.  One of the objectives of this exciting new initiative is to make publicly available a core curriculum covering the areas of device design and engineering, pre-clinical testing, clinical evaluation, regulatory processes, and post-market monitoring.
The Innovation Pathway recognizes the unique nature of transformative innovative product development. By front-loading critical aspects, such as identifying appropriate clinical endpoints and key scientific questions, and seeking advice from external experts, we can provide a more timely and efficient regulatory review process. Medical Device Innovation Initiative White Paper, CDRH Innovation Initiative, February 2011, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Ulrich explained that the Pediatric Device Consortia Grant Program was established by the Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act 2007. The program’s mission is to establish nonprofit consortia to stimulate pediatric device development.  Three consortia were funded in 2011 and more than 100 pediatric device projects have been assisted in their development so far.  The FDA representatives stayed after lunch to answer questions. 

The overall impression given by this visit is that the FDA—and in particular the CDRH, the home of almost all of our guests—is a vital, dynamic place staffed by individuals eager to make a difference through their work.  Their engagement with innovative thinking and practice is inspiring.  At the end of the day, we were invited to come to their offices to continue discussing opportunities to work together. We look forward to that visit to their new offices in Silver Spring, and plan to report on it in the near future.

--Martha Houle, PhD, is the Education Director of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bioengineering Showcase

On Thursday, October 27, the Sheikh Zayed Institute held the first Bioengineering Showcase to demonstrate some current projects. Below are some images from the team demonstrations to give you a flavor of programs underway at the Institute.

It was standing room only during the showcase overview that kicked off the event.

Faculty engineer Ziv Yaniv, PhD, talks about the clinical challenges of two-dimensional imaging in surgery.

Institute researcher Emanuel Wilson demonstrates the novel robotic control system for flexible endoscopy, a unique device developed at the Institute.

Robert Fellow Mahdi Azizian, PhD, demonstrates what three-dimensional imaging might look like during surgery.

Another Institute researcher, Risto Kojcev, shows off the newest addition to the bioengineering lab, a KUKA seven degree of freedom robot arm, which is pressure sensitive and might be used one day for routine tasks like sutures.

Monday, October 17, 2011

HIFU Symposium: Sheikh Zayed Institute's model of collaboration comes to life

I'm often asked to give examples of the types of collaborations that the Sheikh Zayed Institute was intended to facilitate. A few weeks ago, I participated in what I consider a model collaboration, a symposium on high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). The symposium included the NIH Clinical Center's research program in HIFU, the Institute scientists and doctors, and division chiefs from several of the hospital's clinical divisions, including Oncology, Fetal Medicine, and General Surgery, to discuss HIFU's promise and limitations for the pediatric setting.

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a technique growing in popularity in the adult population. It is a non-invasive procedure that involves focusing ultrasound energy into a small target zone (less than centimeter size) to destroy tissue, such as tumors or cysts. Not only does the approach not require an incision, it can also be used to target tissue that can't be easily reached by traditional surgical methods.

“Our work to date shows the promise of this technology in moving from the minimally invasive to the non-invasive, and we think that HIFU could be an incredible tool in pediatrics to tackle some of the current access challenges in surgery and image guided therapies, but at the same also reduce radiation exposure, both really key concerns in surgery for children," said Brad Wood, MD, Director of the NIH's Center for Interventional Oncology.

The level of conversation made this symposium a different type of meeting. Instead of standard scientific presentations, the format was designed to encourage constant feedback. The institute's investigators, the NIH scientists, and the clinical experts who touch these issues every day worked through each presentation. At the end of the meeting, all came away with a unique understanding of the need for HIFU applications in children, the challenges that pediatrics present to this treatment, and the promise of these HIFU applications in children.

"One in five children will die from their cancer. Of the survivors, 30 percent will have chronic complications", said Jeffrey Dome, MD, Chief of the Division of Oncology and McKnew Professor of Pediatric Oncology at Children's National. "We need to reduce the treatment failures and the number of complications from treatment. HIFU, by reducing radiation exposure and treatment time could really impact the places where our traditional treatment modalities haven't been as successful."

Peter Kim, vice president of the institute, summed up the overall shared goals of the group--finding new ways to treat children as effectively as possible. "There are few places where even surgeons advocate for the application of non-invasive methods like HIFU, but it shows that everyone here is truly focused on the most important thing: how to best help children."

Much work remains to make bring HIFU into pediatric clinical practice, but a partnership, modeled along the lines of the HIFU symposium between scientists, bioengineers, and clinicians, would speed the development of this technology and help us impact more kids in the near future.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Institute bioengineers at MICCAI

Guest post by Kevin Cleary, PhD

The Bioengineering Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation was well represented at the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) meeting in Toronto from September 18-22, 2011.

Principal Investigator Ziv Yaniv, PhD, was the lead organizer for a tutorial on Image-Guided Interventions. Principal Investigator Marius George Linguraru, PhD, was a co-organizer for a workshop on Computational and Clinical Applications in Abdominal Imaging. Additionally, I was a participant and panel speaker during the workshop on Systems and Architectures for Computer Assisted Interventions.

The MICCAI meeting is an annual event, which attracts leading scientists and engineers from a wide range of disciplines associated with medical imaging and computer assisted surgery. Each year, more than 1,000 people from around the world attend this high level convention. Session topics address issues encountered in a wide variety of image-based clinical disciplines including cardiology, radiology, and surgery. A rigorous double blind review process with five reviewers assigned to each paper ensures the high technical quality of the presentations. For anyone interested in the latest technical developments in medical image analysis and computer assisted interventions, this is the conference of choice.

“MICCAI is the essential annual meeting for the medical imaging community and an important venue for us to represent our new institute and pioneering work. It is a very efficient way to establish new research alliances,” said Dr. Linguraru. “The MICCAI conference highlights key technologies that we plan to incorporate into future navigation systems for pediatric applications.

In addition, the conference gives us the opportunity to interact and recruit highly skilled individuals interested in developing the next generation of navigation systems for pediatric interventions,” added Dr. Yaniv. The conference was very motivating for all of the Sheikh Zayed attendees as the meeting highlighted the continuing influx of technology into the clinical realm.

The next annual meeting will be October 1-5, 2012 in Nice, France. Proposals for workshop and tutorials are due January 6, 2012, and papers for reviews are due March 1, 2012. Further information can be found at

--Kevin Cleary, Technical Director, Sheikh Zayed Institute

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meet the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Fellows in Pediatric Surgical Innovation

There are some new faces in the Sheikh Zayed Institute: the first class of the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Fellows in Pediatric Surgical Innovation. They are all innovation-minded early career bioengineers and healthcare professionals, looking to learn the principles of innovation and apply their expertise to impact pediatric surgical care. They include:
  • Mahdi Azizian, PhD, bioengineer
  • Alana Beres, MD, a general surgeon
  • Amy Burns, MD, a urologist
  • Katherine Davenport, MD, a general surgeon
Every fellow becomes an active part of the primary activities of the institute as soon as they come on board. Dr. Azizian, whose expertise is in surgical robotics, offered this observation: “From the moment you walk through the doors, you join a dynamic team developing, implementing and testing novel ideas together.”

(Photo, right: Principal Investigator Craig Peters and two Robert Fellows, Katherine Davenport (left) and Amy Burns (right) brainstorming at an Institute Innovation Wall.)

Each fellow creates several project plans for research that will advance pediatric surgical innovation based on his or her own interests and backgrounds, and works collaboratively with the faculty and staff of the institute to implement these programs. Some of the fellows have a specific project goal in mind, like Dr. Beres, who wants to investigate whether non-invasive high-intensity focused ultrasound can work for pediatric surgery. “The Sheikh Zayed Institute presented the chance for me to join the team that will really advance this promising technique to help children with cancer, and I had to take that opportunity.”

Others have a more general approach, like Dr. Davenport, who sees the fellowship as a “unique opportunity to apply surgical problem-solving toward pediatric surgical care.”

Day to day, the fellows participate in faculty meetings and a full set of courses in healthcare innovation and its implementation in pediatrics, to equip them with the tools they will need to sustain interest in innovation even after their time at the institute has ended. Dr. Burns believes the Robert Fellow experience will help her “translate research into actual pediatric urologic care throughout my career. This knowledge will hopefully provide a strong foundation for me to impact positively health care for children.”

The Robert Fellowship is designed to harness the various strengths of its applicants, and maximize their talents toward the shared goal of making pediatric surgery more precise, less invasive and pain free. From a variety of specialty areas, even in their first few weeks at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, it’s clear that the four fellows share a common interest in truly impacting how children are cared for.

The Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Fellowships, are named for philanthropist Joseph E. Robert, Jr., a longtime supporter and parent of a child treated at Children’s National. Mr. Robert helped fund the existing surgical center at Children’s National, the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care.

Learn more about our current class of Robert Fellows at:

Read the press release welcoming our new fellows.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Partnerships and medical education key focus for Abu Dhabi delegation

**Tania Paiva, Associate Director of Donor Relations, provided the following update from the most recent delegation's trip to Abu Dhabi.**

A delegation from Children's National arrived in Abu Dhabi late on Saturday evening to participate in several pediatric partnership and medical education meetings over the course of this week.

The Children's National medical team on this trip includes Jill G. Joseph, MD, PhD, Mary Ottolini, MD, and Ellie Hamburger, MD. Also participating in the partnership meetings is Ms. Pam King Sams, the executive vice president for development and chief operating officer for Children's Hospital Foundation at Children's National.

The team began their work with meetings at the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) on Sunday where they met with counterparts, discussing progress on the seven ongoing partnership projects addressing top pediatric health needs in the emirate.

Children's National has partnered with HAAD on seven projects, including obesity/diabetes, asthma/allergy, cardiac newborn screening, injury prevention, developmental disabilities, child health, and fellowships.

On Monday, our team divided their time between partnership meetings at HAAD and visits to local healthcare facilities including Khalifa City A Ambulatory Center and Mafraq Hospital. At Mafraq, discussions focused on the continuum of care, medical education needs and possible opportunities for educational exchange.

Tuesday was another busy day, as some meetings continued at HAAD, and Drs. Ottolini and Hamburger traveled to the city of Al Ain (two hours away from the city of Abu Dhabi, but still in the emirate of Abu Dhabi) and visited Tawam and Al Ain Hospitals, continuing discussions about education.

Today, our delegation wrapped up their meetings in preparation for their departure Thursday morning. Drs. Ottolini and Hamburger had productive discussions around fellowships with physicians and residents at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, while Dr. Joseph visited Al Corniche hospital. Our delegation also met with representatives of Khalifa University and the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) this afternoon to further inform our fellowship project with Abu Dhabi.

Our doctors shared that spending time in Abu Dhabi and visiting the healthcare facilities has allowed them to see how similar healthcare needs and care are between our two countries. They have found the experience to be very helpful as they now have a better understanding as to how we can continue our partnership together to improve pediatric health.

--Tania E. Paiva, Associate Director, Donor Relations

Monday, September 19, 2011

All in a day’s work at the Sheikh Zayed Institute

Over the summer, the Institute had its biggest equipment delivery, both in terms of size and excitement, since opening the doors to the Institute in April. Joseph Devaney, PhD, led the team that installed the state-of-the-art PacBioRS, and offered his insight.

Last month the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation purchased the PacBioRS, an instrument that when running at its full capacity can sequence large portions of the human genome in under one hour. The technology is considered third generation DNA sequencing and there are currently only 25 of these instruments in the world. At the Institute, we hope to be able to generate entire human sequences in a single day using this system. Just to contrast, prior to this 3rd generation technology, the current technology takes anywhere from 24 to 72 DAYS to generate whole genome data.

Someone might ask, Why is it important to be able to sequence a person’s entire genome? It’s important for many reasons. First, knowing a person’s entire genetic sequence is critical for a lot of the research we do at Children’s National Medical Center. In addition, seeing large portions of someone’s genome could be used to guide patient care, and has been used in a handful of extraordinary cases already. In one such example, Bainbridge and colleagues report on fraternal twins with the movement disorder dopa-responsive dystonia, who were not experiencing much relief from the drug that is commonly used to treat this disorder, a synthetic form of dopamine. The children had their genomes sequenced and the scientists were surprised to find mutations in a novel gene that has control over dopamine and serotonin. The children were given a new medication in addition to their previous regiment. Within the first two weeks, their symptoms improved markedly. This technique is not appropriate for all cases, and is still prohibitively expensive for standard medical practice. However, it holds tremendous promise for cases where seeing the entire genetic sequence can provide insight into disease that it not otherwise available.

(Photo, right: Dr. Devaney with the PacBio during set up.)

There are more than 3.1 billion base pairs (bp), of the molecules A, C, T, and G, in a person’s genome. It would take about 9.5 years to read out loud (without stopping) the 3 billion bases in a person's genome sequence and if the 3 billion base pairs were spread out 1 mm apart, they would extend 3000 km (1864 miles) or about 7000 times the height of the Empire State Building. The PacBioRS can decipher the order of a person’s genetic code at a rate of 17,000 bases per hour per well and there are over 150,000 wells. The system uses fluorescence and an extremely fast camera that captures the data in a real time movie format. The massive amounts of data produced by this system require some hefty computing: this system can hold 12 terabytes of sequence data and has over 192 Gigs of RAM.

This powerful new instrument did not come without a struggle. It was delivered on a Saturday when the loading dock was clear, as it required the full effort of six people and a forklift. The system weighs close to 1900 lbs, but luckily our freight elevator can handle more than double that weight! The delivery from start to finish took four hours, which was just the beginning. Once in its new home, the set-up of the instrument took nine days and two service engineers.

The Sheikh Zayed Institute is fortunate to be one of the early adopters of this cutting edge technology. This means that our researchers can test the promise of this instrument within the context of real clinical research projects. We can now begin to integrate a whole host of research approaches for a global view of human health, what we refer to as systems biology, including genomics, transcriptomics, pharmacogenomics, microbiomics, and epigenomics. This technology could revolutionize clinical care and make the Sheikh Zayed Institute and Children’s National Medical Center, a leader in personalized medicine.

--Joseph Devaney, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, Center for Genetic Medicine Research at Children’s National and the Department of Integrated Systems Biology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Student Innovators make their mark at the Sheikh Zayed Institute

Guest post by Martha Houle, PhD, Education Director, the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation

On August 3rd, our first class of Student Innovators presented the results of their eight weeks of work to faculty and staff at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Working closely with their mentors, they studied topics such as “Alloimmunization in Sickle Cell Disease” in the biological sciences, explored a new design for a “Laparoscopic Needle Driver for Pediatric Surgery,” and contributed to “Developing a Quantitative Measure of Craniosynostosis.”

(Photo, right: Student Innovators learn about biomedical innovation from Institute faculty)
These nine college and graduate students learned new engineering software and new laboratory techniques, and began to develop an understanding of the complexities of innovation by doing their first literature and patent searches. And, as Kay-Anne, a recent biology graduate from Howard University, put it, they learned that research means that “there are no right or wrong answers, just the process and journey taken to provide a feasible solution.”

The Student Innovators program was born out of a desire to provide a different kind of learning opportunity to young people—one that would inspire them to enter the field of biomedical innovation. In addition to engaging in hands-on work on defined research projects within the Sheikh Zayed Institute, the students participated in a curriculum that included training in brainstorming, teamwork, intellectual property, and presentation skills.

Daniel, a George Washington University medical student, told us at the end of the program how much he loved “how friendly, accepting, and eager to help everyone has been here at the Sheikh Zayed Institute. There has never been an opportunity out of reach or a closed door. The doctors were excited to further my interest and never hesitated to offer their experience.” Rachel, a biochemistry graduate student from the University of Tulsa, adds that, “This program exposed me to many interesting and unique experiences, including observing surgery, shadowing a radiologist, learning about engineering technology, and pursuing my own project in immunology.”

Usman, an engineering graduate student at the University of Illinois, Urbana, summarizes some of our goals for the program in its first year: “From the technical aspect, the program helped me sharpen my programming skills and understand some new concepts regarding applied engineering. Professionally, I have gained a lot because it enabled me to learn resource-handling, team-building, knowledge-sharing, and collaborating. The experience I gained here has provided a stepping stone for my overall career goals.”

It is difficult to say, however, who gained the most--the students or the Sheikh Zayed Institute. While many of the students thanked us for a program that helped them define the next steps in their studies and careers, we are also grateful to all of them for their energy and enthusiasm and for their focused and intelligent contributions to the success of Sheikh Zayed Institute’s mission.

--Martha Houle

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kurt Newman, MD, Begins as New CEO of Children’s National Medical Center

With a pledge of fostering connections and encouraging innovation to improve children’s health, Kurt Newman, MD, began as the new President and Chief Executive Officer at Children’s National Medical Center on Sept. 1. Dr. Newman was the driving force behind the vision and creation of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation in 2009. Since then, he has built a team of surgeon-researchers, opened new state-of-the-art facilities, and visited the United Arab Emirates several times to exchange information about the latest innovations in pediatric medicine.

Dr. Newman has been at Children’s National for 27 years and is the first physician to serve as CEO of Children’s National. Prior to this role, he was Senior Vice President for the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care since 2003 and served as acting Vice President for the Sheikh Zayed Institute before Peter C.W. Kim, MD, was hired.

“I truly believe in Children’s National Medical Center and am committed to doing what’s right for kids and families, while continuing to push the boundaries of medicine and research through innovation and big thinking,” Dr. Newman said. “Just as we did with the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, we must develop big ideas, form new partnerships, and apply innovation to everything we do.”

Read the full announcement.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Washington, DC, and Abu Dhabi share community health challenges

During a late June trip to Abu Dhabi, Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, senior vice president of Diana L. and Stephen A. Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children’s National, which serves is the primary care arm of Children’s National, offered a series of presentations addressing common challenges her team experienced while working with the diverse populations of Washington, DC. Her focus was on three topics that our pediatricians fight every day as the largest providers of pediatric primary care in the region. Tackling these areas was of great interest to the doctors and health care policymakers she met with while in Abu Dhabi as well.

Photo right: Children’s National doctors from left, Craig Peters, MD, Peter Kim, MD, PhD, and Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, visit Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi.
  • Cultural competence: This presentation at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City resonated with the local doctors. Just as Children’s works to identify obstacles to care delivery for every child in the DC area regardless of location, ethnicity, or primary language, the diverse expatriate population of the U.A.E. presents similar challenges for care providers, who were eager to learn more about efforts underway at Children’s in this area.
  • Children’s National Obesity Institute: Dr. Cora-Bramble set the stage by presenting stark figures about the depth of the obesity epidemic in Washington, DC, children. She showed how the Obesity Institute is working with the community and families to find workable solutions that curb this concerning trend.
  • School nutrition policies: As part of her efforts related childhood obesity, Dr. Cora-Bramble offered an analysis of international, national, and local policies aimed at school-delivered meals. She assessed the current state of efforts by national, state, and local governments to help deliver necessary nutrition, including fresh fruits and vegetables, during school hours.
This was Dr. Cora-Bramble’s third trip to Abu Dhabi for Children’s National. “I am very enthusiastic about ongoing and future collaborative opportunities with an outstanding team of Abu Dhabi partners,” she said. She departed with a better understanding of how Children’s National and the health care providers and policymakers of Abu Dhabi can work together to develop innovative solutions to these shared, pressing health challenges.

Note: Dr. Cora-Bramble will return to Abu Dhabi for the 2011 World Health Care Congress Middle East, where she will be featured at a luncheon called, "Innovations in Pediatric Health Care" sponsored by Children's National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From the Bioengineering Initiative: The Potential of MR-Guided Focused Ultrasound

Guest post by Kevin Cleary, PhD, Technical Director and Principal Investigator at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation

The Bioengineering Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation welcomed a special visitor and guest speaker on August 4th. Professor Andreas Melzer, MD, DDS, the Director of the Institute for Medical Science and Technology at the University of Dundee, toured the Bioengineering lab and gave a lecture titled “Pediatric Multimodality Image Guided Diagnosis, Therapy and Non invasive Surgery: the Integrated Interventional Imaging Operating System IIIOS”.

(Photo, right: Dr. Melzer delivers a lecture on focused ultrasound to the Bioengineering team.)

Dr. Melzer’s talk described his experiences developing novel technology for minimally invasive interventions over the last 20 years. He focused on non-invasive therapy applications such as MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS). MRgFUS works by focusing an ultrasound beam on a small target area where it can heat and destroy cancerous tissue from outside the body, without the need for a surgical incision. The procedure is monitored by MR imaging, and the treatment area can be shaped to conform to the region of interest, so that the cancerous region can be destroyed without damaging nearby healthy tissue or critical anatomy.

“MrgFUS now has over 100 installations worldwide and interest in this technology continues to grow”, said Dr. Melzer. “While to date the vast majority of these applications have been for the adult population, now is an opportune time to investigate the applicability of these techniques to pediatrics. Recent exciting research has revealed the option to use MRgFUS for release of drugs from nano-encapsulated drugs and to increase cell permeability for enhanced drug uptake, which is another venue for this technology”. Further information can be found at

“Focused ultrasound is an ideal treatment modality for pediatrics because of the non-invasive nature of the treatment”, said Peter Kim, MD, PhD, vice president of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, who also attended the lecture. “This treatment concept fits in perfectly with our vision of making pediatric surgery less invasive and more precise”.

In the discussion that followed, led by Dr. Melzer and Dr. Kim, the group talked about exploring the use of non-ionizing radiation in image-guided interventions for neonatal and fetal procedures and establishing collaborations between the two institutes.

--Kevin Cleary, PhD

Friday, August 12, 2011

Children’s surgeons collaborate with NIH to identify gene variant in Proteus syndrome

Orthopaedic surgeons from Children’s National Medical Center are part of a team of researchers that has identified the genetic mutation causing Proteus syndrome, a rare disorder in which tissue and bone grow massively out of proportion. The discovery appears in the July 27, 2011, online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, led by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may have larger implications in both the identification and treatment of Proteus syndrome, as well as for certain types of cancer. The NIH-based research team found that a point mutation — a single-letter misspelling in the DNA of the genetic code — in the AKT1 gene activates the sporadic tissue growth associated with Proteus syndrome.

“Proteus syndrome is an extremely rare disorder, making tissue sample collection especially challenging,” said Laura L. Tosi, MD, of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at Children’s National. “Given the importance of this research, we stepped up to the plate and, over the last decade, Children’s National surgeons have collected more than one third of the study’s tissue samples while Proteus syndrome patients underwent necessary procedures here at Children’s National and at NIH.”

Dr. Tosi, as well as the Chief of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Laurel Blakemore, MD, and Kurt D. Newman, MD, Senior Vice President of the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care, contributed tissue samples from Proteus patients treated at Children’s National to help fuel the NIH-based genetic research.

“Children’s National has a vision that surgery might be less painful and more precise for pediatric patients, especially those who require multiple surgeries and lifelong support, as in the case of Proteus syndrome,” said Dr. Newman, who was recently named the incoming president and CEO of Children’s National. “This study and similar studies underway in systems biology programs around the world, including our own Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, all share one common goal: identifying these disorders and their causes as early as possible and finding better treatments.”

Read the media release from Children's.
Read the NIH media announcement.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Children’s National Welcomes Vice President for Sheikh Zayed Institute

Children’s National Medical Center has announced the appointment of Peter C.W. Kim, MD, CM, PhD, as vice president of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center, associate surgeon-in-chief, and co-lead of the Institute’s Systems Biology Initiative. An internationally known pediatric surgeon and scientist, Dr. Kim will implement the institute’s vision of innovative, multidisciplinary research and development in pediatric surgery.

In addition to leading the day to day activities of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, as co-lead of the Systems Biology Initiative, he will develop smarter surgical tools that will enhance pediatric surgeons’ capacity and capability. His focus is on three main areas: image guidance and next generation robotics, simulation technologies to teach tomorrow’s pediatric surgeons through hands-on approaches rather than the apprenticeship-based medical training model, and exploration of technologies such as high intensity focused ultrasound (HiFU) as potential non-invasive alternatives to conventional surgery.

“The Sheikh Zayed Institute creates unprecedented opportunity to make fundamental differences in pediatric surgery, in real time, and truly affect the well being of children worldwide,” said Dr. Kim. “The Institute’s model creates an ecosystem where care, education, and research work simultaneously together.”  Read the media release.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Visit with His Highness, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

On our recent trip to Abu Dhabi, representatives of the Children’s National delegation were honored to be invited to an audience with His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, during his leadership Majlis. This was a welcome opportunity to express once more Children’s gratitude for the generosity and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, which led to the creation of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

The delegation included James W. Lintott, Chairman of the Children’s National Medical Center Board as well as Pam King Sams, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Children's Hospital Foundation, who took the opportunity to personally introduce His Highness to the newly-appointed, incoming vice president of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, Peter Kim, MD, CM, PhD. Chairman Lintott reflected on the visit saying, “After meeting the Crown Prince in Washington, we were so privileged to be able to visit him in Abu Dhabi. His commitment to children around the world is clear every time we have the opportunity to see him, and his generosity in helping us create the Sheikh Zayed Institute reflects his vision and leadership.”

The Crown Prince was presented with a small memento highlighting special moments from his recent visit to Children’s National, and the new Sheikh Zayed Institute. The Children’s team shared greetings from the patients, families, and staff whom he met during April’s visit. Additionally, they provided updates on the Institute’s progress and the work under way to build health care partnerships with the United Arab Emirates in areas including newborn screenings and obesity to improve children’s health in the UAE and around the world.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pediatric urologic surgery best practices going global

Part of the Sheikh Zayed Institute's mission is to build a culture of innovation in pediatric medicine around the world. Recently, the Institute's Craig Peters, MD, an internationally known pediatric robotic surgeon, traveled to India to share the techniques of pediatric urological robotic surgery with doctors in several cities. Acting as faculty of the Pediatric Urology course sponsored by the Jayamdas Patel academic Centre of the Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital in Nadiad, India, Dr. Peters performed several reconstructive laparoscopic surgeries in children and gave six lectures, all with the aim of fostering pediatric urology education, best practices, and international collaboration.

(photo right: Dr. Peters with Dr. Mahesh Desai, medical director of the Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital, and Dr. Shriram Joshi, senior pediatric urologist from Mumbai.)

Dr. Peters then spent three days in Delhi at the Medanta Medical City, where he performed several pediatric robotic surgeries, lectured, and gave case conferences as part of a visit to the Vattikuti Foundation for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery. Dr. Peters' procedures were some of the first pediatric robotic surgical cases performed in the entire country, and were performed on younger children than ever before in India.

This trip also included a two-day visit and a few robotic surgeries in Bengaluru (Bangalore) at the Manipal Hospital, also as part of the Vattikuti Foundation. Like his time in Delhi, the visit to Bengalaru aimed to build educational programs for pediatric urology, pediatric robotics, and other types of minimally invasive surgery, as well as grow research collaborations in new technologies for pediatric surgery in the region and with the Sheikh Zayed Institute in Washington, DC. These continued collaborations, educational opportunities, and the introduction of these groundbreaking procedures in India and other countries around the world will ultimately improve pediatric surgical care for all children.

(photo right: Dr. Peters prepares for a pediatric robotic surgery at Manipal Hospital in Bengalaru.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Children’s National Medical Center Announces New CEO

The Board of Directors at Children’s National Medical Center announced today that Kurt Newman, MD has been named President and Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2011. Dr. Newman has been at Children’s National for more than 25 years and currently serves as the Senior Vice President for the Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

“Dr. Newman articulated an impressive vision to lead Children’s National,” said James Lintott, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Children’s National Medical Center. “He is an accomplished physician, researcher, educator and administrator and is poised to lead an already vibrant team dedicated to caring for kids.”

Read the full media release.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation unveils new research home at Children's National

Researchers, biomedical engineers, and clinicians from the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation have moved into new state-of-the-art collaborative research space at Children’s National Medical Center.

(Photo: Dr. Newman welcomes faculty and staff to the Institute's new research space.)

The new 22,000-square-foot institute is located on the top floor of Children’s National, at the Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children’s Medicine. An “Institute without Walls,” the floor plan breaks down traditional research silos by creating open concept, modular areas that can adapt to changing priorities and allow research teams to easily connect with their neighbors. Key features include easy pass-throughs from traditional wet labs to bioengineering spaces, research offices, and meeting rooms, walls of glass instead of plaster, and curved whiteboard Innovation Walls at key gathering places to foster the sharing of ideas.

“This effort, and the concept for this research space, is centered around the people who work here,” said Kurt D. Newman, MD, senior vice president of the Sheikh Zayed Institute and the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care. “This Institute is a perfect example of how vision, collaboration, and philanthropy can come together to benefit children around the world, and it’s exciting to see these ideas come to life in the new space.”

Read the media release.

LSY architects design innovation and collaboration into new SZI space

We spent some time with Uri Yokel and Heather Johnson of Louviere, Stratton, & Yokel, LLC, chief designers of our new Sheikh Zayed Institute space. LSY specializes in the design of research laboratories.

How did you come up with the concept for the space? We were thrilled to get the job. We developed the concept through a series of meetings with Sheikh Zayed leadership including Kurt Newman and then individually and collectively met with different researchers, including Eric Hoffman, Tony Sandler, Ray Sze, and Julia Finkel (the founding faculty members). We saw three primary design drivers based on our meetings:
  • Collaboration: the overlap of different disciplines all in one area brings the kind of discovery that you don’t get if you’re in your own little space. The scientists were 100 percent behind us. We presented several concepts to the group, and everybody gravitated to the one that fostered the most interaction.
  • Sustainability: every part of this lab is sustainable, from floor to ceiling. Children’s made a commitment to this from the beginning. It’s very hard to do in a lab space–usually labs are inefficient because of safety requirements.
  • Representing the Institute’s mission: the home of the institute should convey the spirit of discovery as well as the generosity of its benefactors. Think of the “entry sequence”: as you approach the space, you are greeted first by the graphic logo, then you turn and see the colorful high tech serpentine wall that leads you right by a portal into the big lab, so you get a view of actual science as you’re headed to the director’s suite. We think it helps the institute convey the discovery image along the way.
What do you mean by “sustainable”? We applied the criteria of the USGBC for LEED certification. At present, the Institute design has a LEED Gold certification pending, with some 50-odd criteria that must be met. Though some measure of sustainability is mainstream in our business, LEED Gold for a lab space is very difficult to achieve. Some examples of sustainable features include:
  • Floors—linoleum made with natural materials rather than usable/sustainable. Shelving and other furniture uses
  • Forest Stewardship Council sources of wood
  • Air supply recycling with advanced energy recovery to collect energy from exhaust
  • Reduced overall energy consumption—20 to 30 percent lower than a normal lab.
Can you point out one or two things in the space that you think are particularly unique or interesting? The visual aspect of the design. You can be in any corridor or space and see something special from somewhere. We designed curved walls throughout the lab. You are never too far away from something that’s visually interesting. We made a conscious decision to harness great natural light and the views to the south, as well. We wanted to give as many people access to those views as possible. We built some things in the lab you don’t notice, but are really important:
  • Flexibility: we designed a case work system where benches are not connected to the floor, i.e., any bench can be totally removed. We can remove them without even having to get a contractor involved. Benches can also be raised and lowered and cabinets are on wheels to increase flexibility.
  • The bioengineering lab design is completely unique: we included flexibility to allow power/data to come in through the floor. The ceiling is structural ceiling to allow for equipment to hang—it can support a maximum concentrated load of 621 lbs. static, and 38 lbs. per sq. ft. dynamic. Just as a comparison, a standard panel ceiling supports approximately 3 to 4 lbs per square foot.
What were some of the challenges you faced on this project? Children’s National has an established standard color palette. It was an interesting and welcome challenge to represent this palette (geared towards children and families) in a sophisticated way. The shape of the space was another welcome challenge. If you look at the blueprint, it’s not a rectangle—it’s shaped like an airplane. These “renovation” designs are a fun challenge—you have to work with the existing space rather than just creating a new building from scratch. Finally, the timeline was challenging. Usually a lab of this size and scope takes six months to design and 10 months to build. Design started around November/December, construction started April/May 2010. It was completed in March 2011. Children’s construction team, led by Lee Barton, was instrumental in making the expedited timeline happen.

How did you get started working in this specific area? We are specialized in research and development, laboratory, research facilities, and clinical space designs. All of the partners at LSY come from a background working in research space. It’s a niche that we really like for two reasons:
  • The challenge of addressing technical/safety issues (air flow, etc.) and also making it an enjoyable space for people to work in.
  • We enjoy working with researchers: they pick up concepts quickly and are interested in innovation, so as clients they’re great.
Can you give us some examples of other projects you’ve worked on recently? We work with various universities including the University of Pittsburgh, George Mason, and Virginia Tech. We also do some work for the NIH and the FDA. NIH also engages LSY as peer reviewers for labs nationally and internationally, which gives us firsthand views of cutting edge work in lab design.

How is lab design different from other forms of space planning/design? Technical issues/requirements. Besides safety, there is a lot of very highly sophisticated equipment that requires a special environment. If you look at the drawing of a lab vs. the drawing of an office, you’d be surprised at the difference—there many more notes, and many more details in lab design to handle the complexity, which is what makes it so interesting to us.

If there’s one thing that you want people to understand about the design concept for the Sheikh Zayed Institute space, what is it? We want people to say, “My god this must be a vital place—a place where something important is going on.” We think this space reflects the Children’s image but still relays the science. We want people to walk by and say, “Something’s going on in there, let me take a peek through that window.”

Anything else you’d like to add? Just that we are so appreciative that Children’s put their trust in us on this project. Hopefully we satisfied and delighted them with the end result.

Read more about the new space.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Institute doctors share pediatric surgical insights at CARS 2011

From June 22 to 25, 2011, Berlin, Germany hosted the annual Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery (CARS 2011) congress. Founded in 1985, CARS focuses on research and development for computer assisted systems and their applications in radiology and surgery. The annual meeting is designed to bring together international innovators in radiology, surgery, engineeri
ng, informatics, and/or healthcare management to present and discuss topics such as:
  • Image- and model-guided interventions
  • Medical imaging
  • Image processing and visualization
  • Computer aided diagnosis
  • Medical simulation and education
  • Surgical navigation and robotics
  • Model-guided medicine
  • Personalized medicine
“CARS aims to advance the state of the art in computer aided radiology and surgery by providing a forum for scientists and clinicians to communicate about surgical challenges and possible engineering solutions,” explained CARS moderator, presenter, and attendee Kevin Cleary, PhD, who is the Technical Director of the Bioengineering Initiative at the Sh
eikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

This year marked the first year of participation for the Sheikh Zayed Institute, and the first year that pediatric surgical challenges and innovations were a primary topic of discussion.

“Pediatric surgery is a relatively new topic for CARS, but we hope to levera
ge this opportunity to explore the pediatric topics discussed at CARS,” said Dr. Cleary.

First-time attendee and presenter Katherine Davenport, MD, a fellow in the Institute, noted that adding the pediatric surgical perspective was a new and exciting con
sideration for many of the engineers and clinicians. “Many had never considered pediatric surgery innovation as a real niche, and as a result we saw much enthusiasm about how to tackle the limitations in the realm of pediatric surgical innovation.”
Several Sheikh Zayed Institute doctors participated in the meeting, including:

Dr. Cleary (see photo, right), who serves as president of ISCAS (International Society for Computer Aided Surgery) and played a large role in planning the presentations at the conference
  • Presentation: Software Engineering of Medical Information and Model Management Systems
  • Presentation: Advanced Technologies for interventional radiology: electromagnetic navigation and robotics
  • Tutorial: Open Source Software
  • Chaired several sessions: “Surgical Robotics and Instrumentation,” “New Technologies in Endoscopic Surgery for Tumor Resection,” and “Medical Robotics, Instrumentation, and Modeling”
Craig Peters, MD (see photo, right):
  • Invited lecture: Envisioning the Future of Robotic-assisted Pediatric Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Panel : The Digital Operating Room, Modeling, and Visualization
Katherine Davenport, MD (see photo, below):
  • Invited lecture: Technology Challenges in Image-guided Pediatric Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Panel : ISCAS / IPCAI Industry panel (collaboration between industry, academics, and clinical practice)
  • Presentation: Workflow for bringing image fusion to pediatric laparoscopic surgery for improved intraoperative visualization
“It was great to gain exposure to the cutting edge of surgical innovation,” said Dr. Davenport of her visit to CARS.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Children’s National delegation focuses on shared child health priorities with colleagues in Abu Dhabi

A Children’s National delegation arrived in Abu Dhabi this week for a series of meetings on children’s health priorities, and to provide an annual update on the progress of the Sheikh Zayed Institute to the government of Abu Dhabi, whose generous gift of $150 million established the Institute in 2009. Our delegation on the ground includes Children’s National Chairman of the Board James Lintott, Children’s National Chief Academic Officer Mark Batshaw, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Governmental Affairs Officer Jacqueline Bowens, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Children’s Hospital Foundation Pam King Sams, Senior Vice President of the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health, Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President for the Sheikh Zayed Institute and the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care Kurt Newman, MD, and Sheikh Zayed Institute Director of Educational Programs and Principal Investigator Craig Peters, MD.

Our time in the UAE always provides valuable opportunities for knowledge exchange in pediatric medicine that benefits children in Washington, DC, the United States, Abu Dhabi, and the world. We started our day today at HAAD headquarters, meeting with a team who has developed tools to help children and families adopt healthier lifestyles. The HAAD team shared information about a piloted public health initiative in Abu Dhabi schools that aims to help children be healthier through improved diet and exercise. The program, “Schools for Health” engages students and their parents in making healthier lifestyle choices.

In the afternoon, the team visited Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC). Many faculty members from Children’s National have visited SKMC on previous trips as well, see July 2010 and December 2010. Our doctors from this delegation, including Dr. Batshaw, Dr. Peters, and Dr. Cora-Bramble, shared clinical expertise on testing for inborn errors of metabolism in newborns, urinary obstruction, and cultural competence in healthcare, respectively, with a full room of physicians, nurses, and trainees. As always, the audience was very engaged, asked many questions, and shared their own patient care experiences with our team, making the visit interesting and helpful to both SKMC and Children’s National attendees.