2010 Academic Annual Report
Seattle Children’s is advancing the care for children and teens one achievement at a time. Here are some highlights of how our world-class faculty from the University of Washington School of Medicine and our exceptional staff are bringing the future of pediatric medicine to our patients and families today.
Seattle Children’s was ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospitals for the 18th consecutive year by U.S.News & World Report in the magazine’s annual America’s Best Children’s Hospitals issue. Children’s was ranked 2nd in the country for kidney disorders, 7th for cancer, 8th for urology, and 8th for pulmonary disorders.
Other Children’s programs receiving top recognition by U.S. News included neonatology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, heart, and neurology and neurosurgery.
The University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics was ranked eighth among the top pediatric programs at medical schools in the U.S. according to 2010 rankings of graduate and professional programs provided by U.S.News & World Report. Seattle Children's Hospital is among the sites that train UW’s pediatric physicians.
In the Spotlight
Dr. Jeff McLaughlin received the 2010 Mentorship Award from the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM). This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership for trainees and colleagues in the field of cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. The AACPDM noted the depth and breadth of Dr. McLaughlin's contributions and impact on improving services and care, his promotion of professional education and research for individuals with disabilities, and his lifetime commitment to mentorship.
Dr. Dimitri Christakis received the 2010 APA Research Award from the Academic Pediatric Association for advancing pediatric knowledge through excellence in research.
Dr. Christakis is the author of more than 100 original research articles, a textbook on pediatrics and The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids. His research focuses on the effects of media on child health and development.
The APA notes that research excellence is characterized by originality, creativity and methodological soundness, and that findings should contribute significantly to the general health of children in areas such as understanding mechanisms of health and disease, methods of education, and innovative ways of providing children's services.
Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic — a community clinic of Seattle Children’s — received the 2010 Racial Justice Award from the Seattle Race Conference Committee. The award recognizes the clinic’s outstanding work to create a healthy and strong community for all Seattle residents. Dr. Ben Danielson, OBCC’s medical director, gave the keynote address at the conference’s annual meeting.
Dr. Richard Ellenbogen was named co-chair of the National Football League’s Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee. The committee’s work is threefold: identifying best practices for treating head, neck and spine injuries; supporting research on the long-term impact of concussions; and increasing public awareness on preventing and treating these injuries. An attending neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s and chief of neurological surgery at Harborview Medical Center, Ellenbogen also holds the Theodore S. Roberts Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Dr. Kim Ahrens received a New Investigator Award from the Center for AIDS Research, a joint program of the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The UW/FRCRC CFAR is one of 21 CFARs in the national consortium of NIH-funded AIDS research centers. The new investigator awards are intended to encourage the pursuit of careers in HIV/AIDS research.
Informatics pharmacist Wendy Paul was one of 13 recipients of the 13th annual Asian American Pioneer Awards given by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation. The awards are given to healthcare professionals who championed clinics for the poor and paved new ground in the medical fields. Paul was honored for balancing the needs of the hospital community with the needs of our patients.
Seattle Children’s Food Allergy Community Education Program hosted the first of its kind national conference for food allergy educators. Participants from around the country gathered to share best practices, create standardized content and discuss recent advances in the field. The conference was funded by the Elizabeth M. Campbell Endowment and the Food Allergy Initiative.
Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center opened in July 2010 to provide pediatric ambulatory specialty care, urgent care and day surgery closer to home for our patients and families who live on the east side of Lake Washington. The 79,000-square-foot facility vastly expands the outpatient and diagnostic services – including sedated MRI – available to residents in the area.
Green programs at Seattle Children’s are reaping significant cost savings and minimizing our institutional footprint. We expect to save $117,000 per year in energy costs thanks to sustainable strategies and efficiencies built into the design of our new Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center.
Our sustainable waste management program – which includes all forms of waste including pharmaceutical and medical waste – saved more than $300,000 in 2010. Our expanded recycling and composting programs have resulted in a 44% recycling rate, compared to 39% in 2009 and 32% in 2008.
Seattle Children’s unveiled a specially designed, one-of-a-kind ambulance to transport critically ill newborns to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Since Children’s does not have an obstetrics unit, the sickest newborns in our four-state region (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) are brought here via ambulance, helicopter or airplane. Our one-of-a-kind ambulance was designed as a mobile intensive care unit and can carry the highly trained staff and specialized equipment these tiny babies need to make the journey safely.
Seattle Children’s launched “Seattle Mama Doc,” a new pediatric health blog geared to parents. Authored by Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a practicing pediatrician and mom of two young boys, the blog offers anecdotes about parenthood and insights on child health and safety issues, while helping parents make sense of the current news on medical issues and research.
Innovations in Pediatric Care
Two-thirds of preschoolers in the U.S. are exposed to more than two hours per day of screen time – the maximum amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics – showed a study by Seattle Children's and University of Washington researchers.
The study followed 9,000 preschool-age children and their time in front of TV, computers, video games and DVDs. Children who went to childcare centers had an average of 3.2 hours each weekday while at home and at preschool. Those in home-based care had a combined average of 5.6 hours of screen time at home and while at childcare.
"A majority of children under the age of 5 years in the United States spend almost 40 hours a week with caregivers other than their parents, and it's important to understand what kind of screen-time exposure children are getting with these other caregivers," notes lead study author Dr. Pooja Tandon.
Dr. John Neff led the development of a unique method to identify chronically ill children as the first step to improving care coordination with these patients’ primary care providers and better understanding the cost implications of their care.
The new method uses hospital discharge data to identify children with serious lifelong chronic health conditions and may help children’s hospitals improve quality of care for these patients while also reducing costs.
Children with conditions such as cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, sickle cell diseases and cerebral palsy represent less than 2% of the patient population of a pediatric hospital but can use more than 50% of its resources.
Over the next two years, Children’s pediatrician Dr. Rita Mangione-Smith will lead a study that follows 600 chronically ill patients identified by this method to see if their quality of life can be improved and the need for hospitalization reduced with better coordination between specialty care providers and primary care providers.
Children in King County, Washington, are more likely to be obese if they live in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods found researchers from Seattle Children’s, the University of Washington and Group Health Research Institute.
Their study, published in Social Science & Medicine, found that a 24% variability in childhood obesity occurred across neighborhoods with a combination of five socioeconomic factors: the least-educated females, the most single-parent households, the lowest median household income, the highest proportion of non-white residents and the fewest homes owned.
This was the first study evaluating childhood obesity to use rigorous statistical methods of spatial modeling to smooth out differences based on arbitrary census tract lines. The study used weight data for 8,000 Seattle-area children from medical records and correlated it to Seattle-area census tracts.
“What we found confirms that it takes a village to raise a child,” says lead author Dr. Mollie Greves Grow. “Children are raised not only at home, but also in their communities.”
High blood pressure may affect younger black children more severely – and more quickly – than other children of the same age, found research by Seattle Children’s Dr. Joseph Flynn and a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
There has been an estimated five-fold increase in the number of children in the U.S. with hypertension over the last 30 years. The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity is one of the contributing factors.
“The study emphasizes the need for early diagnosis and prompt treatment of high blood pressure for all children, regardless of race and age, and pediatricians should be aware that black patients may develop more severe complications or develop them more quickly,” notes Flynn.