Friday, January 28, 2011

January 27--Delegation concludes trip to UAE

As our week in the United Arab Emirates progressed, our Children’s National delegation grew. We were joined by Elizabeth Bradshaw, RN, Fran Cogen, MD, Jill Joseph, MD, PhD, and Gerard Martin, MD.

Every member of our team was there for a specific purpose, all related to building positive relationships with our partners in the United Arab Emirates, and working to find ways to help improve healthcare for children around the world. Members of our delegation traveled to different parts of the Emirates over the last week, speaking on issues including obesity, diabetes and heart problems and engaging in valuable discussions with medical experts on the ground.

On Wednesday, January 26, Evan Nadler, MD, gave a talk to an audience of approximately 250 medical professionals from around the region and the world at the Arab Healthcare Congress in Dubai. He addressed the issue of obesity in children and surgical options available today. Obesity is a challenge facing children in every part of the world today and exchanges of information between medical experts will be the key to finding ways to address the problem.

Larry Mahan, PhD, spent part of the week in Dubai, where he attended sessions at the Arab Health Congress, meeting with representatives from medical technology companies as well as medical experts discussing innovative ideas that might bring new solutions to the problems in pediatric surgery. He also took part in the US-UAE Healthcare Trade Mission, learning more about the challenges and opportunities that exist in the healthcare arena in the United Arab Emirates.

Gerard Martin, MD, and Elizabeth Bradshaw, RN, traveled to several cities in the Emirates, speaking with physicians and nurses about heart conditions in babies and exchanging best practices with their colleagues. Fran Cogen, MD, gave several talks on diabetes throughout the week at different hospitals and culminated her trip with a presentation on diabetes diagnosis and treatment at the Arab Healthcare Congress in Dubai on Thursday, January 27.

Other members of our delegation, including Jill Joseph, MD, PhD, spent their time engaged in partnership discussions with key members of the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi identifying ways to work together to help improve the health of children in Abu Dhabi.

Part of our Children’s National delegation returned to Washington, DC, today and the remaining members of our delegation will come home tomorrow. As we had our final dinner together in Abu Dhabi last night, one common reflection on their time and exchanges in the UAE, was that despite the miles and cultural differences between us, when you take time to speak with people, you can’t help but notice just how similar the challenges we face really are. We are all tied together by a common interest to find innovative solutions to solve the problems of surgery in children, and we are open to working together to reach that goal.

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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 24 & 25 in Abu Dhabi: Children's doctors share knowledge at area hospitals

January 24 & 25, 2011

Our Children’s National delegation has been very busy in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai since our last post. Here are some highlights of our team’s work over the last few days.

The doctors have been busy meeting with physicians in Abu Dhabi to discuss pediatric health issues in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and the world. They have been engaging in valuable exchanges discussing ways to better address the healthcare challenges faced by children today. These meetings have been great examples of how exchanges can prove valuable on the road to innovation and discoveries that will make like better for all children. They have also illustrated just how similar the problems being faced by children around the world really are. Dr. Cogen and Dr. Nadler have met with physicians and surgeons at the following hospitals:

Monday, January 24 - Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi

Tuesday, January 25 - Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi

Some of our team members have been busy attending meetings with the U.S.-U.A.E. Healthcare Trade Mission and the Arab Healthcare Congress. Our delegates have met with leaders of local health authorities, pharmaceutical companies, and businesses in the region. These meetings have provided great insight into the healthcare environment in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East, which will help our Children’s National team continue to support the partnership that created the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation for the children of the world.

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time Magazine: Meet Dr. Robot

A story from last week's print edition of Time Magazine featured the use of robotics in adult surgery. It's a decent outline of the pros and cons of the current debate about cost vs. benefit for robotic surgery in adults, based on the current technology in use. Though widely used in adults, robotic surgical techniques for children are still fairly limited. The number is growing, but at present only a handful of children's hospitals in the United States are using the technology. In the fall, Children's National appointed urologist Craig Peters, MD, as chief of Surgical Innovation, Technology, and Translation and principal investigator in the Sheikh Zayed Institute. Dr. Peters's work focuses on adapting robotic surgical techniques, and the teaching of these techniques, into more aspects of pediatric surgical care.

The Time article highlights the heated discussion about robotics by experts in the field of surgical technology. But author David von Drehle also points out just how important thinking creatively and focusing on innovation in medicine can be to developing better therapies for the future.

"Other robotic advances offer tantalizing glimpses of a mechanized medical future. By marrying high-tech imaging machinery to robotic tools, surgeons may journey into even more-remote, less accessible regions of the body with perfect surgical precision."

These possibilities sound familiar to the faculty at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, who came to Children's National in order to work collaboratively on techniques, therapies, and devices that will make surgery for children less invasive, more precise, and possibly even one day pain free. As part of that work, Dr. Peters and the team from the bioengineering initiative will work to develop new and better techniques in robotics, imaging, and other minimally invasive surgeries, just like those outlined above, but tailored specifically to the unique needs of children.

Read the full story in Time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22 in Abu Dhabi: A tour of Masdar City

Our Children’s National delegation started the second day in Abu Dhabi discussing plans for partnership and knowledge exchange activities in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Our doctors were eager to meet with their colleagues in the United Arab Emirates, and so our morning was focused on preparation for the exchanges in the days ahead.

Following our team briefing, we took a tour of Masdar Institute. The institute is the world’s first graduate-level institution dedicated to providing new solutions to the issues of sustainability. It is a model of sustainable living and working space that illustrates principles of innovation in its energy efficiency, sustainable practices, resource recycling, biodiversity, transportation, and green building standards.

On the tour (see photo, right, of doctors and our tour guide), we marveled at how committed the people of Abu Dhabi are to finding innovative solutions that will improve the world. Masdar Institute is the realization of the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed, who wanted Abu Dhabi to find ways to preserve our natural environment.

Following our visit to Masdar Institute, part of our team returned to Abu Dhabi for meetings with the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi. The remainder of our delegation made their way to Dubai for the start of the Arab Health Congress 2011 and the U.S.-U.A.E. Healthcare Trade Mission. The next few days will involve a flurry of activity in both cities as our schedule gets underway.

--Tania Paiva, Associate Director, Donor Relations

Friday, January 21, 2011

Children's National delegation arrives in U.A.E.

**A Children's National delegation is in the United Arab Emirates this week. Tania Paiva, Associate Director of Donor Relations, will provide regular updates as the trip progresses.**

Day 1 -- January 20, 2011

On Thursday, several members of our Children’s National delegation left Washington, DC, for Abu Dhabi.
Over the next few days, our team will participate in the Arab Health Congress 2011, the U.S.-U.A.E. Healthcare Trade Mission, attend partnership meetings with the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), and meet with colleagues from local hospitals.

As we made our way to Abu Dhabi, our doctors shared some of their thoughts and hopes for this trip:

Fran Cogen, MD, director of the Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes Program at Children’s National expressed her excitement as we traveled from west to east. “As we look to build our own pediatric diabetes center at Children’s National, it will be interesting to see what my colleagues in the United Arab Emirates do to deal with the challenges of treating children with diabetes. I look forward to the exchange of ideas, as I suspect that we are dealing with many of the same challenges. I really look forward to working together to address them.”

Evan Nadler, MD, principal investigator of the Systems Biology Initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and Co-Director of the Obesity Institute at Children’s National shared his keen interest in learning more about Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) efforts to combat the obesity epidemic, which he believes will help us improve our approaches as well.

Larry Mahan, PhD, director of Innovation and Business Development of the Sheikh Zayed Institute summed up the team's goals, “We would like to continue strengthening relationships with our partners in the United Arab Emirates, allowing us to find ways to mutually innovate healthcare to benefit the children of the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and the world.”

We will continue to share our experiences throughout this trip, please check back for updates.

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Commentary in Science Translational Medicine: 'Creating Hope Act' Incentivizes Pediatric Drug R&D

A new commentary authored by experts at Children's National in the latest edition of Science: Translational Medicine points to the need for better incentives to encourage companies to develop and test therapies for children.

"Pediatricians who treat children with serious and life-threatening diseases often find themselves face to face with the inadequacies of pediatric drug development,” write Edward Connor, MD, director of the Office of Innovation Development and Investigational Therapeutics at Children’s National Medical Center, and Pablo Cure, MD, MPH, Laboratory for Entrepreneurial Achievement in Pediatrics (LEAP) Scholar in the Office of Innovation Development and Investigational Therapeutics.

In a previous commentary for this journal, Dr. Connor noted that despite the fact that children make up nearly 40 percent of the world’s population, little research is done to test the effects of “adult therapies” on children, who have unique needs requiring tailored care more sophisticated than merely smaller doses of adult therapeutics.

Developing better therapies specifically for children, whether drugs, devices, or techniques, is a key focus of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation as well as many other research efforts at Children's National. Look for much more information about our efforts and important initiatives elsewhere in the near future. For more information about this commentary, read the media release.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Leading Biomedical Engineer Joins Children's National

Raj Shekhar, PhD, has joined Children’s National Medical Center as principal investigator in the Bioengineering Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. A research professor, engineer, and entrepreneur, Dr. Shekhar will join the Institute’s interdisciplinary bioengineering team to focus on surgery innovations involving the fusion of various current surgical and medical imaging technologies.

“The next set of surgery innovations will change how surgeons see their operating field,” said Kurt Newman, MD, senior vice president for the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. “Dr. Shekhar’s work, which will build software and technology that allows a surgeon to see as much detail as possible while in the operating room, will make surgery more precise and less invasive.”

“The traditional timeline for biomedical engineering is quite drawn out, with engineers developing a prototype then waiting for clinical feedback,” said Dr. Shekhar. “At the Sheikh Zayed Institute engineers like myself have the unprecedented opportunity to work side by side with physicians to gain continuous feedback from the beginning, which means more efficient and effective technology development for pediatrics.”

Read the full media release.