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.