Emergency Medicine

2024 Pediatric Academic Societies meeting logo

Children’s National Hospital at the 2024 Pediatric Academic Societies meeting

Children’s National Hospital-affiliated participants will present at this year’s Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. The meeting will take place in Toronto, from May 2-6, 2024. For information on the presentations, please refer to the chart below.

Day Time Presenter(s) Title
5/3/2024 9:00 AM Stacey Stokes, M.D., M.P.H. APA QI: Informatics for Improvers: Leveraging Clinical Decision Support to Propel Data-Driven and Reliable Continuous Improvement
5/3/2024 12:00 PM Rana F. Hamdy, M.D., M.P.H., MSCE A Career in Antimicrobial Stewardship… so Much More to Explore
5/3/2024 12:00 PM Ashima Gulati, M.D., Ph.D., FASN Case Studies in Pediatric Kidney Diseases: Who, When and How to Order Genetic Testing?
5/3/2024 3:45 PM Priti Bhansali, M.D., ME.d. iSPOT an Improvement: Taking Peer Observation and Feedback to the Next Level
5/3/2024 3:45 PM Josepheen De Asis-Cruz, M.D., Ph.D. Maternal psychopathology and SSRI use during pregnancy are associated with altered fetal hippocampal connectivity in utero
5/4/2024 8:00 AM Andrea J. Boudreaux, Psy.D., M.P.H., M.H.A., F.A.C.H.E. A Doctor in the School Nurse’s Office? Bringing a Virtual School Based Program into Practice
5/4/2024 8:00 AM Jessica Hippolyte, M.D., M.P.H. A Practical Approach to a Thorny Issue: Evaluating the Role of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry in Clinical Decision-Making
5/4/2024 8:00 AM Ashraf S. Harahsheh, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.C.C. Cardiology 1
5/4/2024 8:00 AM Dewesh Agrawal, M.D. Emergency Medicine 1: Quality and Safety
5/4/2024 8:00 AM Lenore Jarvis, M.D., ME.d.
Amanda Stewart, M.D., M.P.H.
From Bedside to State House: Daily Advocacy
5/4/2024 8:00 AM Aisha Barber, M.D., ME.d. Unionization in Pediatrics: A Pro-Con Debate
5/4/2024 8:45 AM Jillian E. Nickerson, M.D., M.S. Implementation of tele-psychiatry in an urban pediatric satellite emergency department
5/4/2024 9:00 AM Jessica Weisz, M.D. “TEACH”ing: Evaluation of a 3-Year Multimodal Child Poverty Curriculum
5/4/2024 9:00 AM Tameka T. Watson, M.D. Timing of Growth Failure in Very Premature Infants and Implications for Brain Development
5/4/2024 10:00 AM Neha H. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. Subspecialty Networking Breakout: Pediatric Hospital Medicine
5/4/2024 11:00 AM Lee S. Beers, M.D. AAP Presidential Plenary: Emerging Research on the Intersections of Mental Health, Impact of the Pandemic, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
5/4/2024 11:00 AM Denver Brown, M.D. Implications of SDOH on glomerular disease, hypertension and CKD
5/4/2024 11:15 AM Josepheen De Asis-Cruz, M.D., Ph.D. Associations Between Antenatal Opioid Exposure and Newborn Functional Brain Connectivity
5/4/2024 2:00 PM Ian Chua, M.D., M.H.P.E. Addressing Misinformation & Building Competency for Gender Diverse Patient Care
5/5/2024 8:00 AM Tamara Gayle, M.D., ME.d., M.P.H. APA SIG: Pediatric Hospital Medicine – Creating an Inclusive and Sustainable Workplace
5/5/2024 8:00 AM Suma B. Hoffman, M.D., M.S.
Simranjeet S. Sran, M.E., ME.d., C.H.S.E., F.A.A.P.
Hands on Workshop: Complex Resuscitations in Neonates and Infants – Managing High Acuity, Low Occurrence (HALO) Events
5/5/2024 8:15 AM Jaytoya Manget, D.N.P., M.S.P.H., F.N.P. Connecting the Dots to Improve Health and Education Equity: Results of A Pilot Program Integrating School Attendance Data into a Pediatric Primary Care
5/5/2024 8:55 AM Aisha Barber, M.D., ME.d. APA Pediatric Hospital Medicine SIG – Creating an Inclusive and Sustainable Workplace
5/5/2024 11:00 AM Nicola Brodie, M.D.
Julie Heier, Ph.D.
Courtney Horton, M.D.
Darcel Jackson, C.P.X.P., L.S.S.G.B.
Emma Whitmyre, Ph.D.
Challenge Accepted: Integrating Behavioral Health in Primary Care for Children with Medical Complexity and Their Families
5/5/2024 11:00 AM Ian Chua, M.D., M.H.P.E.
Margarita Ramos, M.D., M.S.
Neha H. Shah, M.D., M.P.H.
Embracing Failure: The Key To Success In Academic Medicine
5/5/2024 11:00 AM Caleb E. Ward, M.B., B.Chir., M.P.H. Emergency Medicine 4
5/5/2024 11:00 AM Dewesh Agrawal, M.D.
Terry Kind, M.D., M.P.H.
Launching and Landing a Career in Medical Education: From Passion to Profession
5/5/2024 11:00 AM Nathaniel S. Beers, M.D., M.P.A.
Andrea J. Boudreaux, Psy.D., M.P.H., M.H.A., F.A.C.H.E.
Bianca Johnson, M.S.W.
Jaytoya Manget, D.N.P., M.S.P.H., F.N.P.
Jessica Weisz, M.D.
School Attendance as a Vital Sign: Integrating school attendance into practice to advance health and educational equity
5/5/2024 11:05 AM Sudeepta Basu, M.D. SPR 2023 Bridging to Success Award: GABA-editing spectroscopy for understanding the developing brain in preterm infants.
5/5/2024 2:00 PM Allison M. Jackson, M.D., M.P.H. Child Protective Services Referrals in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence: Clinical Practice, Research, & Advocacy
5/5/2024 2:00 PM Josepheen De Asis-Cruz, M.D., Ph.D. In utero SSRI exposure alters fetal cerebral cortical development and structural brain connectivity
5/5/2024 2:00 PM Jeremy Kern, M.D.
Lydia Lissanu, M.D.
Elana Neshkes, M.D.
Laura A. Nicholson, M.S.N., R.N., C.P.N., C.H.S.E.
Grace Quinn, M.D.
Ariella M. Weinstock, M.D., M.S. Ed
STRIVE for a restorative de-escalation: Strategies for a TRauma-Informed approach using Verbal and Environmental Skills
5/5/2024 2:45 PM Kristen Sgambat, Ph.D., RD Arterial stiffness, body composition, and perception of racism in pediatric kidney transplant recipients
5/5/2024 2:45 PM Sudeepta Basu, M.D. Cerebellar GABA and Glutamate Concentrations at Term-equivalent age Predicts 18-month Cognitive Deficits in Preterm Infants
5/6/2024 8:00 AM Ian Chua, M.D., M.H.P.E.
Gabrina Dixon, M.D., ME.d.
Tamara Gayle, M.D., ME.d., M.P.H.
Margarita Ramos, M.D., M.S.
Amplify Your Voice: Media Strategies Beyond Conventional Academic Dissemination
5/6/2024 8:00 AM Stacey Stokes, M.D., M.P.H.
Padma Swamy, M.D., M.P.H.
APA SIG: Health Informatics and Serving the Underserved Combined – Moving the Needle on Social Needs: From Screening to Data Management and Response
5/6/2024 8:00 AM Deena Berkowitz, M.D., M.P.H. APA Urgent Care SIG: You’re Not Too Busy To Think About Promotion: Leveraging Your Current Scholarly Activities For Academic Advancement
5/6/2024 8:30 AM Padma Swamy, M.D., M.P.H. Screening, data sharing, and resource allocation considerations when developing social needs interventions
5/6/2024 1:00 PM Christina Lindgren, M.D. APA Simulation-based Medical Education (SBME) SIG
5/6/2024 1:00 PM Gabrina Dixon, M.D., ME.d. Creating and Optimizing a Visiting Elective at your Institution for Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) Students
5/6/2024 1:00 PM Junghoon Kim, Ph.D. Improved prediction of fetal neurobiological features by censoring high-motion frames in fetal functional MRI
5/6/2024 1:05 PM Christina Lindgren, M.D. Introduction to Conceptual Frameworks for Simulation Based Medical Education
5/6/2024 1:10 PM Suma B. Hoffman, M.D., M.S. Small Group Activity: Name That Conceptual Framework
5/6/2024 2:15 PM Margaret Rush, M.D., M.S.H.S. Racial disparities in hospital length of stay for bacterial tracheostomy associated infections


healthcare professional putting on PPE

Prioritizing equity in pediatric care strategies following the pandemic

healthcare professional putting on PPE

Societal inequities can affect differential health outcomes among various populations.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted an examination and acknowledgment of the societal inequities affecting differential health outcomes among various populations. There’s been a heightened focus on identifying and confronting the longstanding factors contributing to health disparities, particularly among historically marginalized and minoritized groups, which expose them to greater vulnerabilities during emergencies like a pandemic.

The hold-up in the field

In a recent study published in Pediatric Clinics of North America, the authors introduce a focus on health equity and the social determinants of health as applied to an overarching framework of pandemic preparedness.

“There is little shared about the role of pediatricians in planning for disasters — like in the aftermath of the pandemic — with a focus on health equity,” says Joelle Simpson, M.D., M.P.H., chief of Emergency Medicine at Children’s National Hospital and co-author of the paper.

Moving the field forward

The authors discuss recommendations for pediatricians in planning for disasters with a focus on health equity and social determinants of health. In their observations, they consider:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic amplified health inequities and placed tremendous strain on society, economy, education systems and healthcare infrastructure.
  • Building on pediatric readiness frameworks is a recommended approach to creating a pediatric pandemic plan.
  • Health equity considerations need to be built into all policies, processes and systems at the outset.
  • The evolving national discourse on racism and inequities across communities including social injustices faced by minoritized groups is important framing for pandemic planning across all phases of disaster including preparedness, response and recovery.

The patient benefit

“Community engagement and serving as a trusted messenger and committed partner in health is critical in the process of recovery,” the authors write.

They emphasize the importance of integrating health equity viewpoints into communication planning and formulating strategies for community involvement. Fortunately, there has been a rise in opportunities to collaborate and gain insights from established networks dedicated to children’s pandemic or disaster readiness. These networks include the Emergency Medical Services for Children state programs, Pediatric Disaster Centers of Excellence and the Regional Pediatric Pandemic Network.

Children’s National Hospital leads the way

Children’s National, a lead hub for the Pediatric Pandemic Network (PPN), elevates the importance of planning for disasters as it pertains to children. Through the PPN, children’s hospitals in the country coordinate, prepare and enable high-quality, equitable, research-based pediatric care in emergencies, disasters and pandemics. The network prioritizes addressing the distinctive requirements and obstacles faced by children amid pandemics and disasters, emphasizing the importance of integrating health equity into emergency planning efforts.

Pensive woman looking out the window

The role of healthcare providers in adolescent relationship abuse

Pensive woman looking out the window

Healthcare providers can play an important role in adolescent relationship abuse.

Adolescent relationship abuse (ARA) or “teen dating violence” is a significant public health concern that affects millions of adolescents in the United States and globally. Providers who care for adolescents must be prepared to promote healthy relationships and support ARA survivors given that adolescents experiencing this are at increased risk for negative health and psychosocial outcomes.

What this means

In a new article published in the journal Pediatric Clinics of North America, the authors comment on the opportunity healthcare providers have for ARA prevention using a universal education approach that provides information on healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors and ARA resources. A shared decision-making approach when responding to ARA disclosure may facilitate patient-provider trust, safety, resource utilization and adolescent autonomy.

“It is important to consider several concepts that apply broadly across work with adolescents: adolescent development, healing-centered engagement, intersectionality, co-occurring forms of violence and ARA prevention,” said Lenore Jarvis, M.D., director of Advocacy and Health Policy for the Division of Emergency Medicine at Children’s National Hospital and the article’s author. “Linkage to resources that are not disclosure dependent may increase connection to resources, youth empowerment and autonomy.”

Why it matters

The study equips healthcare providers with concrete ways to address ARA within the healthcare setting. Providers can use the steps outlined to learn more about examples of abusive relationship behaviors, ARA indicators, healing-centered engagement approaches, universal education and screening recommendations, and ARA resources.

“Recommended language and scripts are also provided to further illustrate limits to confidentiality, universal education, indicator-based assessment, response to disclosure (victimization and perpetration), when mandatory reporting is indicated and safety planning,” Dr. Jarvis added.

Moving the field forward

A universal education approach that provides all youth with information on healthy relationships and resources for ARA provides opportunity for youth to access resources regardless of disclosure. A survivor-centered response to ARA disclosure includes validation and shared decision-making with the adolescent about resources and support, including a warm hand-off to victim services resources and connection to a trusted adult. Providers should address both immediate and long-term health needs and ongoing support after ARA disclosure.

“I find the development of healing-centered engagement approaches with adolescents to be exciting. Healing-centered engagement emphasizes both trauma and resilience as universal experiences, recognizes that trauma and healing occur within relationships and empowers adolescents to actively participate in their healing process,” Dr. Jarvis explained. “General practices that may facilitate healing-centered engagement in healthcare settings include ensuring awareness of limits to patient provider confidentiality, opportunity for resource connection that is not disclosure dependent, and a shared decision-making approach when ARA is disclosed. These practices can foster patient-provider trust, empower adolescents and minimize risk for potential unintended harm related to healthcare provision.”

The article also incorporates some of the lessons learned from Dr. Jarvis’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention K01 grant award on “Addressing Relationship Abuse in a Pediatric Emergency Department.” Further, the co-authors work together in a national ARA and intimate partner violence workgroup to discuss evidence-based recommendations to provide the best care possible for patients and families with regards to interpersonal violence. Dr. Jarvis recently did a podcast on the subject of ARA for “Pediatric Meltdown.”

Monika Goyal, M.D., MSCE

Q&A with Dr. Goyal: Trailblazing equity work leads to election to ASCI

Monika Goyal, M.D., MSCE, associate division chief of Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services

Monika Goyal, M.D., MSCE, associate division chief of Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services, is joining The American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), one of a small cadre of pediatric emergency medicine physicians elected to the premier medical honor society for physician-scientists. Dr. Goyal considers her new honor a pivotal opportunity to represent pediatric emergency medicine, which is often underrepresented in research.

Interim Chief Academic Officer Catherine Bollard, M.D., M.B.Ch.B., nominated Dr. Goyal to ASCI because of her nationally renowned work as an equity science scholar, having published more than 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts and securing more than $25 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “From the very beginning of her career, Dr. Goyal has been a trailblazer as it relates to her research interests,” said Dr. Bollard, also an ASCI member.

Dr. Goyal serves as the inaugural chair for Women in Science and Medicine and associate division chief for Academic Affairs and Research at Children’s National Hospital. Her academic work has focused on disparities in the emergency setting, where she has studied the impacts of gun violence, pain management, sexual health and more. In 2023, the journal Pediatrics named a Children’s National manuscript on gun violence one of the 12 most significant papers in its 75-year history. Dr. Goyal was the first author and remains tremendously proud of the impact science can make on society.

Q: How did you find yourself investigating the science of gun laws?

A: A half-dozen years ago, three other pediatric emergency medicine physicians and I had been caring for countless numbers of children who had been victims of gun violence and felt motivated to act. I started SAFER at Children’s National – Safer through Advocacy, Firearm, Education and Research – which is now an institution-wide initiative to address gun violence within our community and beyond. More than 50 individuals at Children’s National are now active in our organization.

We’ve been able to publish a lot of research in this area, including our national study looking at the association between the strictness of gun laws with firearm-related deaths in children. We found that children are more likely to die from gun violence in states with less strict gun laws. It’s not surprising, yet the recognition by the American Academy of Pediatrics demonstrates the importance of using science to understand this, and it shows how far we’ve come in the medical community. Until recently, this issue has been under-recognized and under-supported, despite it being a massive public health crisis for our children and our country.

Q: Given the pace of emergency medicine, how did you find your way to research?

A: Early in my career, much of my work focused on adolescent sexual health. I kept finding that there was racial bias in terms of who we considered to be at risk for sexually transmitted infections. This finding then motivated me to investigate and understand whether racial bias impacted other aspects of care delivery across various clinical conditions in the Emergency Department.

I started by looking at whether differences existed in pain management based on a patient’s race. In evaluating data on children nationwide who are diagnosed with appendicitis, we found that Black children are less likely to receive appropriate pain management compared to white children, even after we adjusted for pain score and illness severity. We have found similar themes with respect to pain management among children diagnosed with fractures.

Q: What can be done?

A: We are grateful to have been awarded additional NIH funding to develop and test interventions to mitigate inequities. Currently, we are studying the impact of audit and feedback through the provision of what we are calling ‘equity report cards’ and clinical decision support embedded in the electronic health record to improve racial, ethnic and language equity in pain management.

Hundreds of studies have demonstrated that this is an issue at hospitals across the country. I am proud of Children’s National for having the humility for this self-reflection and the courage to do something about it. Our work here is helping to inform efforts across the country, and I am proud of our institution’s leadership in advancing health equity through community-informed, evidence-based interventions.

Boy lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by medical equipment

Black, Hispanic children at greater risk for complications during hospitalization

Boy lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by medical equipment

The research team found that patients who are Black and Medicaid-insured patients experienced the greatest disparities in postoperative sepsis, a rare complication in which patients suffer from infection that can cause multi-organ failure.

Evaluating more than 5 million pediatric hospital stays nationwide, researchers found children who are Black, Hispanic or insured with Medicaid face a greater risk of health events after surgeries than white patients, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

“We looked at the data, and we calculated the risks,” said Kavita Parikh, M.D., MSHS, medical director of Quality & Safety Research, research director of the Division of Hospital Medicine and first author on the multi-institute study. “Despite decades of focus on eliminating medical errors, we know that children continue to suffer substantial harms in hospital settings, and our study highlights where children who are Black, Hispanic or insured with Medicaid are at the greatest risk.”

The big picture

The study analyzed data from more than 5.2 million hospitalizations collected by the 2019 Kids’ Inpatient Database, a national repository of data on hospital stays. It includes a 10% sample of newborns and an 80% sample of other pediatric discharges from 4,000 U.S. hospitals. More than 80% of patients were younger than 1 year of age.

The research team found that patients who are Black and Medicaid-insured patients experienced the greatest disparities in postoperative sepsis, a rare complication in which patients suffer from infection that can cause multi-organ failure. Patients who are Hispanic experienced the greatest disparity in postoperative respiratory failure, a complication that can limit breathing and ventilation.

Plausible factors cited include structural racism in the U.S. healthcare system, clinician bias, insufficient cultural responsiveness, communication barriers and limited access to high-quality healthcare.

What’s ahead

The study – “Disparities in Racial, Ethnic, and Payor Groups for Pediatric Safety Events in U.S. Hospitals” – is foundational in understanding what is happening among pediatric patients. Dr. Parikh said that researchers now must conduct further studies into these alarming disparities and qualitative work to understand drivers, with the action-oriented goal of developing interventions to improve patient safety in the hospital for all children.

“We brought together leaders in pediatric medicine, health policy and public health to analyze this data, and we are committed to taking the next steps to improve outcomes for pediatric patients,” Dr. Parikh said. “It will take more patient-centered work and research, resources and multifaceted strategies to resolve these worrying disparities for our pediatric patients nationwide.”

collage of news outlet logos

Children’s National in the News: 2023

collage of news outlet logos
Explore some of the notable medical advancements and stories of bravery that defined 2023, showcasing the steadfast commitment of healthcare professionals at Children’s National Hospital and the resilient spirit of the children they support. Delve into our 2023 news highlights for more.

1. COVID during pregnancy dramatically increases the risk of complications and maternal death, large new study finds

According to a study published in British Medical Journal Global Health, women who get COVID during pregnancy are nearly eight times more likely to die and face a significantly elevated risk of ICU admission and pneumonia. Sarah Mulkey, M.D., prenatal-neonatologist neurologist, discussed findings based on her work with pregnant women and their babies.

2. Rest isn’t necessarily best for concussion recovery in children, study says

A study led by Christopher Vaughan, Psy.D., pediatric neuropsychologist, suggests that — despite what many people may presume — getting kids back to school quickly is the best way to boost their chance for a rapid recovery after a concussion.

3. Pediatric hospital beds are in high demand for ailing children. Here’s why

David Wessel, M.D., executive vice president, chief medical officer and physician-in-chief, explained that one reason parents were still having trouble getting their children beds in a pediatric hospital or a pediatric unit after the fall 2022 respiratory surge is that pediatric hospitals are paid less by insurance.

4. Anisha Abraham details impact of social media use on children: ‘True mental health crisis’

Anisha Abraham, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, joined America’s Newsroom to discuss the impact social media access has had on children’s mental health.
(FOX News)

5. Saving Antonio: Can a renowned hospital keep a boy from being shot again?

After 13-year-old Antonio was nearly killed outside his mom’s apartment, Children’s National Hospital went beyond treating his bullet wounds. Read how our Youth Violence Intervention Program team supported him and his family during his recovery.
(The Washington Post)

6. Formerly conjoined twins reunite with doctors who separated them

Erin and Jade Buckles underwent a successful separation at Children’s National Hospital. Nearly 20 years later they returned to meet with some of the medical staff who helped make it happen.
(Good Morning America)

7. Asthma mortality rates differ by location, race/ethnicity, age

Shilpa Patel, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the Children’s National IMPACT DC Asthma Clinic, weighed in on a letter published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, asserting that the disparities in mortality due to asthma in the United States vary based on whether they occurred in a hospital, ethnicity or race and age of the patient.

8. How one Afghan family made the perilous journey across the U.S.-Mexico border

After one family embarked on a perilous journey from Afghanistan through Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico border, they eventually secured entry to the U.S. where Karen Smith, M.D., medical director of Global Services, aided the family’s transition and provided their daughter with necessary immediate medical treatment.

9. When a child is shot, doctors must heal more than just bullet holes

With the number of young people shot by guns on the rise in the U.S., providers and staff at Children’s National Hospital are trying to break the cycle of violence. But it’s not just the physical wounds though that need treating: young victims may also need help getting back on the right track — whether that means enrolling in school, finding a new group of friends or getting a job.
(BBC News)

10. This 6-year-old is a pioneer in the quest to treat a deadly brain tumor

Callie, a 6-year-old diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, was treated with low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) at Children’s National Hospital and is the second child in the world to receive this treatment for a brain tumor. LIFU is an emerging technology that experts like Hasan Syed, M.D., and Adrianna Fonseca, M.D., are trialing to treat this fatal childhood brain tumor.
(The Washington Post)

11. F.D.A. approves sickle cell treatments, including one that uses CRISPR

The FDA approved a new genetic therapy, giving people with sickle cell disease new opportunities to eliminate their symptoms. David Jacobsohn, M.B.A., M.D., confirmed that Children’s National Hospital is one of the authorized treatment centers and talked about giving priority to the sickest patients if they are on Vertex’s list.
(The New York Times)

12. 6-year-old fulfils wish to dance in the Nutcracker

After the potential need for open-heart surgery threatened Caroline’s Nutcracker performance, Manan Desai, M.D., a cardiac surgeon, figured out a less invasive procedure to help reduce her recovery time so she could perform in time for the holidays.
(Good Morning America)

2023 with a lightbulb

The best of 2023 from Innovation District

2023 with a lightbulbAdvanced MRI visualization techniques to follow blood flow in the hearts of cardiac patients. Gene therapy for pediatric patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. 3D-printed casts for treating clubfoot. These were among the most popular articles we published on Innovation District in 2023. Read on for our full list.

1. Advanced MRI hopes to improve outcomes for Fontan cardiac patients

Cardiac imaging specialists and cardiac surgeons at Children’s National Hospital are applying advanced magnetic resonance imaging visualization techniques to understand the intricacies of blood flow within the heart chambers of children with single ventricle heart defects like hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The data allows surgeons to make critical corrections to the atrioventricular valve before a child undergoes the single ventricle procedure known as the Fontan.
(3 min. read)

2. Children’s National gives first commercial dose of new FDA-approved gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Children’s National Hospital became the first pediatric hospital to administer a commercial dose of Elevidys (delandistrogene moxeparvovec-rokl), the first gene therapy for the treatment of pediatric patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Elevidys is a one-time intravenous gene therapy that aims to delay or halt the progression of DMD by delivering a modified, functional version of dystrophin to muscle cells.
(2 min. read)

3. New model to treat Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Researchers at Children’s National Hospital developed a pre-clinical model to test drugs and therapies for Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD), a debilitating neuromuscular disease that is growing in numbers and lacks treatment options. The work provides scientists with a much-needed method to identify, develop and de-risk drugs for patients with BMD.
(2 min. read)

4. First infants in the U.S. with specially modified pacemakers show excellent early outcomes

In 2022, five newborns with life-threatening congenital heart disease affecting their heart rhythms were the first in the United States to receive a novel modified pacemaker generator to stabilize their heart rhythms within days of birth. Two of the five cases were cared for at Children’s National Hospital. In a follow-up article, the team at Children’s National shared that “early post-operative performance of this device has been excellent.”
(2 min. read)

5. AI: The “single greatest tool” for improving access to pediatric healthcare

Experts from the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer, Oracle Health, NVIDIA, AWS Health and elsewhere came together to discuss how pediatric specialties can use AI to provide medical care to kids more efficiently, more quickly and more effectively at the inaugural symposium on AI in Pediatric Health and Rare Diseases, hosted by Children’s National Hospital and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech.
(3 min. read)

6. AAP names Children’s National gun violence study one of the most influential articles ever published

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) named a 2019 study led by clinician-researchers at Children’s National Hospital one of the 12 most influential Pediatric Emergency Medicine articles ever published in the journal Pediatrics. The findings showed that states with stricter gun laws and laws requiring universal background checks for gun purchases had lower firearm-related pediatric mortality rates but that more investigation was needed to better understand the impact of firearm legislation on pediatric mortality.
(2 min. read)

7. Why a colorectal transition program matters

Children’s National Hospital recently welcomed pediatric and adult colorectal surgeon Erin Teeple, M.D., to the Division of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction. Dr. Teeple is the only person in the United States who is board-certified as both a pediatric surgeon and adult colorectal surgeon, uniquely positioning her to care for people with both acquired and congenital colorectal disease and help them transition from pediatric care to adult caregivers.
(3 min. read)

8. First-of-its-kind holistic program for managing pain in sickle cell disease

The sickle cell team at Children’s National Hospital received a grant from the Founders Auxiliary Board to launch a first-of-its-kind, personalized holistic transformative program for the management of pain in sickle cell disease. The clinic uses an inter-disciplinary approach of hematology, psychology, psychiatry, anesthesiology/pain medicine, acupuncture, mindfulness, relaxation and aromatherapy services.
(3 min read)

9. Recommendations for management of positive monosomy X on cell-free DNA screening

Non-invasive prenatal testing using cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is currently offered to all pregnant women regardless of the fetal risk. In a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers from Children’s National Hospital provided context and expert recommendations for maternal and fetal evaluation and management when cfDNA screening is positive for monosomy X or Turner Syndrome.
(2 min. read)

10. Innovation in clubfoot management using 3D anatomical mapping

While clubfoot is relatively common and the treatment is highly successful, the weekly visits required for Ponseti casting can be a significant burden on families. Researchers at Children’s National Hospital are looking for a way to relieve that burden with a new study that could eliminate the weekly visits with a series of 3D-printed casts that families can switch out at home.
(1 min. read)

11. Gender Self-Report seeks to capture the gender spectrum for broad research applications

A new validated self-report tool provides researchers with a way to characterize the gender of research participants beyond their binary designated sex at birth. The multi-dimensional Gender Self-Report, developed using a community-driven approach and then scientifically validated, was outlined in a peer-reviewed article in the American Psychologist, a journal of the American Psychological Association.
(2 min. read)

12. Cardiovascular and bone diseases in chronic kidney disease

In a study published by Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease, a team at Children’s National Hospital reviewed cardiovascular and bone diseases in chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease patients with a focus on pediatric issues and concerns.
(1 min. read)

Patient and doctor demoing Rare-CAP technology

M.D. in your pocket: New platform allows rare disease patients to carry medical advice everywhere

When someone has a rare disease, a trip to the emergency room can be a daunting experience: Patients and their caregivers must share the particulars of their illness or injury, with the added burden of downloading a non-specialist on the details of a rare diagnosis that may change treatment decisions.

Innovators at Children’s National Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, supported by Takeda, are trying to simplify that experience using a new web-based platform called the Rare Disease Clinical Activity Protocols, or Rare-CAP. This revolutionary collection of medical information allows patients to carry the latest research-based guidance about their rare disorders in their phones, providing a simple QR code that can open a trove of considerations for any medical provider to evaluate as they work through treatment options for someone with an underlying rare disease.

“No one should worry about what happens when they need medical help, especially patients with rare diseases,” said Debra Regier, M.D., division chief of Genetics and Metabolism at Children’s National and Rare-CAP’s lead medical advisor. “We built this new tool because I have watched as my patient-families have wound up in an emergency room — after all, kids get sprains or fractures — but they don’t have the expertise of a rare disease specialist with them. My hope is that they’re going to pull out their phones and access Rare-CAP, which will explain their rare disease to a new provider who can provide more thoughtful and meaningful care.”

The big picture

A rare disease is defined as any disorder that affects less than 200,000 people in the United States. Some 30 million Americans are believed to be living with one of the 7,000 known rare disorders tracked by the National Organization of Rare Diseases (NORD). Led by Dr. Regier, the Rare Disease Institute at Children’s National is one of 40 NORD centers for excellence in the country that provide care, guidance and leadership for the wide array of disorders that make up the rare disease community.

While a key goal of Rare-CAP is to bolster patient self-advocacy, the platform will also allow medical providers to proactively search for protocols on rare diseases when they know they need specialized advice from experts at Children’s National, a network of tertiary care centers and patient organizations.

As a leading values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical company, Takeda has committed $3.85 million to the project to help activate meaningful change and empower a brighter future for rare disease communities, providing a unique understanding of the struggle that patients and caregivers face when they need care.

“Our team, alongside the medical and rare disease community, saw the need for a single portal to collect standardized care protocols, and we are thrilled to see this innovative tool come to life,” said Tom Koutsavlis, M.D., head of U.S. Medical Affairs at Takeda. “People with rare diseases and their caregivers need faster access to authoritative medical information that providers anywhere can act on, this will lead to improving the standard of care, accelerating time to diagnosis and breaking down barriers to increase equitable access.”

The patient benefit

The creators of Rare-CAP imagined its use in a wide range of settings, including emergency rooms, surgical suites, dental offices, urgent care offices and school clinics. The platform will eventually profile thousands of rare diseases and lay out the implications for care, while also creating a dynamic conversation among users who can offer updates based on real-world experience and changes in medical guidance.

“Our patients are unique, and so is this tool,” Dr. Regier said. “As we roll out Rare-CAP, we believe it is just the beginning of the conversation to expand the platform and see its power for the patient and provider grow, with each entry and each new rare disease that’s added to the conversation.”

AAP conference logo

Children’s National Hospital at the 2023 American Academy of Pediatrics meeting

There will be over 20 Children’s National Hospital-affiliated participants at this year’s American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition. The meeting will take place in Washington, D.C., from October 20 – October 24. We have compiled their sessions into a mini schedule below.


Date Time Presenter Title Division
10/20/2023 8:30 AM Vanessa Madrigal, M.D., M.S.C.E. Section on Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery Program: Day 1 Critical Care
10/20/2023 2:30 PM Kibileri Williams, M.B.B.S Appy Hour: a Current Update on Pediatric Appendicitis Surgery
10/20/2023 3:30 PM Roopa Kanakatti Shankar, M.D., M.S. Precocious Puberty: Puberty Suppression or Not? Endocrinology
10/21/2023 7:30 AM Allison Markowsky, M.D. What is Trending in the Newborn Nursery: Controversies and Evidence Hospital Medicine
10/21/2023 8:00 AM Jessica Herstek, M.D. Joint Program: Council on Clinical Information Technology and Council on Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Medical Informatics
10/21/2023 8:00 AM Nazrat Mirza, M.D., Sc.D. Section on Obesity Program IDEAL Clinic (Obesity Program)
10/21/2023 8:00 AM Hans Pohl, M.D. Section on Urology Program: Day 2 Urology
10/21/2023 9:00 AM Anil Darbari, M.D., M.B.B.S., M.B.A. Constipation: Getting it to Work Out in the End Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
10/21/2023 9:00 AM Kibileri Williams, M.B.B.S Appy Hour: a Current Update on Pediatric Appendicitis Surgery
10/21/2023 1:30 PM Olanrewaju (Lanre) Falusi, M.D. Educational Program and Annual Assembly for Medical Students, Residents, and Fellowship Trainees Pediatrician
10/21/2023 2:00 PM Brian Reilly, M.D. Noise 201 – More than Headphones! Otolaryngology
10/21/2023 2:00 PM Erin Teeple, M.D. Hernias, Hydroceles, and Undescended Testicles: When to Wait and When to Operate Surgeon
10/21/2023 3:30 PM Amanda Stewart, M.D. Section on Emergency Medicine Program: Day 2 Emergency Medicine
10/21/2023 3:30 PM Shideh Majidi, M.D., M.S.C.S. Healthcare Disparities in Management of Type 1 Diabetes and Diabetes Technology Endocrinology
10/21/2023 3:30 PM Natasha Shur, M.D. Genetic Testing Boot Camp Geneticist (RDI)
10/21/2023 5:00 PM Danielle Dooley, M.D., M.Phil Connecting School Systems and Health Systems: Successes and Opportunities Pediatrician
10/22/2023 8:00 AM Jaytoya Manget, DNP, FNP Pediatricians and School Attendance: Innovative Approaches to Prevent Chronic Absenteeism
10/22/2023 8:00 AM Simone Lawson, M.D. Section on Emergency Medicine Program: Day 3 Emergency Medicine
10/22/2023 8:00 AM Hans Pohl, M.D. Section on Urology Program: Day 3 Urology
10/22/2023 1:00 PM Lenore Jarvis, M.D., M.Ed. Section on Early Career Physicians Program
10/22/2023 5:00 PM Brian Reilly, M.D. Pediatric Hearing Loss: What’s New in Diagnostics, Prevention and Treatments Otolaryngology
10/23/2023 8:00 AM Rosemary Thomas-Mohtat, M.D. Point-of-Care Ultrasound Fundamentals Course Emergency Medicine
10/23/2023 9:00 AM Matthew Oetgen, M.D., M.B.A. Section on Radiology Program: Imaging Diagnosis and Management of Osteoarticular Infections Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine
10/23/2023 9:00 AM Christina Feng, M.D. Masses for the Masses: Abdominal Masses in Children Surgeon
10/23/2023 9:00 AM Narendra Shet, M.D. Section on Radiology Program: Imaging Diagnosis and Management of Osteoarticular Infections Radiology
10/23/2023 9:00 AM Shireen Atabaki, M.D., M.P.H. Section on Advances in Therapeutics and Technology Program Telemedicine
10/23/2023 1:00 PM Brian Reilly, M.D. Pediatric Otolaryngology: Back to Basics Otolaryngology
10/23/2023 1:00 PM Sonali Basu, M.D. Point-of-Care Ultrasound Critical Competency Course CCM
10/23/2023 1:00 PM Vanessa Madrigal, M.D. Joint Program: Section on Bioethics, Section on LGBT Health and Wellness and Section on Minority Health, Equity, and Inclusion Critical Care
10/23/2023 2:00 PM Rebecca Persky, M.D. Menstrual Disorders: Primary or Secondary Amenorrhea Endocrinology
10/23/2023 5:00 PM Christina Feng, M.D. Masses for the Masses: Abdominal Masses in Children Surgeon
10/24/2023 9:00 AM Vanessa Madrigal, M.D. Section Showcase: Applying Ethics Principles and Tools To Advocate for Vulnerable Populations Critical Care


healthcare workers putting on PPE

“Mask up!” Soon, AI may be prompting healthcare workers

Researchers at Children’s National Hospital are embarking on an effort to deploy computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure medical professionals appropriately use personal protective equipment (PPE). This strikingly common problem touches almost every medical specialty and setting.

With nearly $2.2 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, the team is combining their expertise with information scientists at Drexel University and engineers at Rutgers University to build a system that will alert doctors, nurses and other medical professionals of mistakes in how they are wearing their PPE. The goal is to better protect healthcare workers (HCWs) from dangerous viruses and bacteria that they may encounter — an issue laid bare with the COVID-19 pandemic and PPE shortages.

“If any kind of healthcare setting says they don’t have a problem with PPE non-adherence, it’s because they’re not monitoring it,” said Randall Burd, M.D., Ph.D., division chief of Trauma and Burn Surgery at Children’s National and the principal investigator on the project. “We need to solve this problem, so the medical community will be prepared for the next potential disaster that we might face.”

The big picture

The World Health Organization has estimated that between 80,000 and 180,000 HCWs died globally from COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021 — an irreplaceable loss of life that created significant gaps in the pandemic response. Research has shown that HCWs had an 11-fold greater infection risk than the workers in other professions, and those who were not wearing appropriate PPE had a 1/3 higher infection risk, compared to peers who followed best practices.

Burd said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that hospitals task observers to stand in the corner with a clipboard to watch clinicians work and confirm that they are being mindful of their PPE. However, “that’s just not scalable,” he said. “You can’t always have someone watching, especially when you may have 50 people in and out of an operating room on a challenging case. On top of that, the observers are generally trained clinicians who could be filling other roles.”

What’s ahead

Bringing together the engineering talents at Drexel and Rutgers with the clinical and machine-learning expertise at Children’s National, the researchers plan to build a computer-vision system that will watch whether HCWs are properly wearing PPE such as gloves, masks, eyewear, gowns and shoe covers.

The team is contemplating how the system will alert HCWs to any errors and is considering haptic watch alerts and other types of immediate feedback. The emerging power of AI brings tremendous advantages over the current, human-driven systems, said Marius George Linguraru, D.Phil., M.A., M.Sc., the Connor Family Professor in Research and Innovation at Children’s National and principal investigator in the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

“Human observers only have one pair of eyes and may fatigue or get distracted,” Linguraru said. “Yet artificial intelligence, and computers in general, work without getting tired. We are excited to figure out how a computer can do this work – without ever blinking.”

Children’s National Hospital leads the way

Linguraru says that Children’s National and its partners make up the ideal team to tackle this vexing challenge because of their ability to assemble a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers who can work together with clinicians. “This is a dialogue,” he said. “A computer scientist, like myself, needs to understand the intricacies of complicated clinical realities, while a clinician needs to understand how AI can impact the practice of medicine. The team we are bringing together is intentional and poised to fix this problem.”

girl being examined by doctor

Pediatric hospitals underutilize systems to get at social challenges impacting health


girl being examined by doctor

Physicians treating hospitalized children rarely use a coding system established in 2015 for flagging social challenges and stressors that may be impacting patient health, according to new research from Children’s National Hospital.


Physicians treating hospitalized children rarely use a coding system established in 2015 for flagging social challenges and stressors that may be impacting patient health, according to new research from Children’s National Hospital published in Pediatrics. Known as social determinants of health (SDOH), these factors include food insecurity, homelessness and adverse childhood events like substance abuse at home, and they can greatly affect a child’s well-being.

“We only get so many touchpoints with our patients,” said Kaitlyn McQuistion, M.D., pediatric hospital medicine fellow at Children’s National and co-lead author of the paper. “Our research shows the screening itself provides valuable insight into our patients, making identification an important part of inpatient and post-discharge care. With this information, doctors can help families tap into social workers, community supports and other resources aimed at providing a more holistic approach to child health.”

The big picture

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises screening for unmet social needs and using the codes laid out in the International Classification of Disease, 10th Revision (ICD-10), to flag risk factors for some of a hospital’s most vulnerable patients. In 2018, the American Hospital Association (AHA) clarified that the coding can be added by any healthcare professional accessing the chart, including nurses, social workers, case managers and physicians. The study looked at data from 4,000 hospitals in 48 states and the District of Columbia and found that use of the codes has remained low, even with the AHA’s clarification.

In practice, physicians know that screening and documentation are the essential first steps to help families find resources. Yet less than 2% of pediatric inpatients were coded as needing support. Most commonly, “problems related to upbringing” – a broad category indicating social needs and adverse childhood events – was used.

What’s ahead

Some providers are using these SDOH codes, or Z Codes, more often to address and improve health disparities. “Our mental health colleagues and those working with the Native American population, in particular, are using these tools more often to capture and disseminate critical information related to their patients’ social needs,” said Stacey Stokes, M.D., a hospitalist at Children’s National and co-lead author on the paper.  “Their innovative approaches to address and improve health disparities may provide learning opportunities for institutions.”

The researchers said that more work needs to be done to take these successes to other populations, find ways to incentivize this work in billing and ensure that providers have community resources to address the needs that they uncover.

“The ultimate goal of this work is to identify patients with social needs affecting their health and connect them with resources,” said Kavita Parikh, M.D., director for the Research Division of Hospital Medicine. “There are many avenues to explore to find ways to better utilize this tool, including language learning models, improved training and stronger community resources.”

ambulance bay at Children's National Hospital

AAP names Children’s National gun violence study one of the most influential articles ever published

ambulance bay at Children's National Hospital

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has named a 2019 study led by clinician-researchers at Children’s National Hospital one of the 12 most influential Pediatric Emergency Medicine articles ever published in the journal Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has named a 2019 study led by clinician-researchers at Children’s National Hospital one of the 12 most influential Pediatric Emergency Medicine articles ever published in the journal Pediatrics.

The findings showed that states with stricter gun laws and laws requiring universal background checks for gun purchases had lower firearm-related pediatric mortality rates but that more investigation was needed to better understand the impact of firearm legislation on pediatric mortality.

The study, State Gun Laws and Pediatric Firearm-Related Mortality, was led by Monika Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., associate chief of Emergency Medicine, along with Gia M. Badolato, M.P.H., coauthor; Shilpa J. Patel, M.D., MPH, coauthor and emergency medicine specialist; and Kavita Parikh, M.D., MSHS, coauthor and hospitalist, all of Children’s National.

The big picture

In 2019, firearm injuries were the second-leading cause of death for U.S. children. Presently, they are the leading cause of death.

“We have learned that interventions to tackle gun violence are not a ‘one size fits all’ and we need to start developing and scaling tailored interventions that embrace and center community voices and partnerships,” Dr. Goyal said. “The good news is that over the last 5-7 years, there has been a groundswell of energy to address the firearm epidemic in our nation that has led to the growth of investigators, funding and advocacy efforts dedicated to developing and disseminating evidence-based interventions and policies for gun violence prevention. But we need more dedicated funding to support these efforts and continue to invest in those who wish to dedicate their careers to this work.”

About the recognition

The AAP Section on Emergency Medicine (SOEM), founded in 1981, is among the AAP’s largest sections, providing a forum for advocacy, education and research on patient care in pediatric emergency medicine (PEM). The AAP Committee on PEM (COPEM), a national committee founded in 1985, is the principal author of PEM-related AAP policies.

Members of the SOEM’s executive committee and COPEM reviewed every issue from the 75-year history of Pediatrics and selected 15 landmark papers in total, which names the study led by Dr. Goyal and her team.

What they’re saying

“This paper was the result of years of hard work and the beginning of many other collaborations as a research team. I am thankful to work with this team as we continue to add to this important area of research,” said Dr. Patel.

“I was honored to have our article chosen as one of the most influential Pediatric Emergency Medicine articles. I feel encouraged by this recognition that PEM physicians and researchers can be the bridge to the community and work together to make a difference for children,” added Badolato.

Led by their determination to change the status quo and improve the quality of life for children, the clinician-research team established Safer Through Advocacy, Firearm Education and Research (SAFER). It’s a group that works to fill the gaps in hopes of stimulating the change needed to help move the national landscape towards policies that make it safer for children and communities.

“We have created collaborations with pediatricians and researchers throughout the country and continue to work to fill the gaps,” Dr. Parikh said.

Other authors of the study include: Robert McCarter Jr., ScD, co-author; and Sabah F. Iqbal, M.D., PM Pediatrics, co-author.

Lenore Jarvis, M.D. participates in congressional briefing on maternal mental health

Lenore Jarvis, M.D. participates in congressional briefing on maternal mental health

Lenore Jarvis, M.D. participates in congressional briefing on maternal mental health

Lenore Jarvis, M.D., M.Ed., recently participated in a congressional briefing about maternal mental health.

Lenore Jarvis, M.D., M.Ed., director of advocacy and health policy for the Division of Emergency Medicine and an affiliate faculty member of the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Hospital, recently participated in a congressional briefing about maternal mental health. The goal of the briefing was to bring awareness to the devastating impact of untreated perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) on moms, babies and families and to eliminate the pervasive stigma around seeking care, including in communities of color and military populations.

PMADs are one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S., responsible for nearly one quarter of all maternal deaths. Evidence shows that 1 in 5 women experience a PMAD during pregnancy or the postpartum period. All maternal mental health conditions are treatable, yet over 75% go untreated.

Dr. Jarvis spoke about the importance of screening caregivers for PMADs not just in outpatient settings, but also in emergency departments and NICUs. She said that an emergency department can serve as a safety net for high-risk patient populations who may have limited access to primary or mental health care, or for those who use the emergency department at a time of increased stress, anxiety or depression. Similarly, the NICU population is comprised of caregivers coping with stressful scenarios like traumatic perinatal or birth experiences and life altering diagnoses.

“At Children’s National, our primary care clinics screen for PMADs, but we also provide universal screening by approaching caregivers with infants six months and younger in both the emergency department and the NICU. Our philosophy is that by offering this screening and education to families, we are providing a higher standard of care for the patients seen in these settings,” said Dr. Jarvis. If a caregiver screens positive, meaning they are exhibiting enough symptoms that they could be at risk for experiencing PMADs, a member of our social work team meets with that caregiver to complete an additional assessment and provide further support, including to understand if there are suicidal or infanticidal ideations and intent to act. Our social workers can then make referrals to connect them to more care and follow up with those caregivers to confirm they have connected with the appropriate resource.

Dr. Jarvis was asked how to make it easier to support caregivers and families regarding PMADs. “Caregivers need education regarding PMADs. We need them to know it’s common and it doesn’t make them bad parents. We also need to ensure that providers are screening and that they have increased time for visits that include addressing mental health concerns.” She also stressed that the healthcare system can be difficult to navigate. “We need to decrease barriers to care, like the long wait times to get into mental health care and insurance coverage issues.”

U.S. News Badges

Children’s National Hospital ranked #5 in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll

U.S. News BadgesChildren’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., was ranked #5 in the nation on the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best Children’s Hospitals annual rankings. This marks the seventh straight year Children’s National has made the Honor Roll list. The Honor Roll is a distinction awarded to only 10 children’s hospitals nationwide.

For the thirteenth straight year, Children’s National also ranked in all 10 specialty services, with eight specialties ranked in the top 10 nationally. In addition, the hospital was ranked best in the Mid-Atlantic for neonatology, cancer, neurology and neurosurgery.

“Even from a team that is now a fixture on the list of the very best children’s hospitals in the nation, these results are phenomenal,” said Kurt Newman, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Children’s National. “It takes a ton of dedication and sacrifice to provide the best care anywhere and I could not be prouder of the team. Their commitment to excellence is in their DNA and will continue long after I retire as CEO later this month.”

“Congratulations to the entire Children’s National team on these truly incredible results. They leave me further humbled by the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization and contribute to its continued success,” said Michelle Riley-Brown, MHA, FACHE, who becomes the new president and CEO of Children’s National on July 1. “I am deeply committed to fostering a culture of collaboration, empowering our talented teams and charting a bold path forward to provide best in class pediatric care. Our focus will always remain on the kids.”

“I am incredibly proud of Kurt and the entire team. These rankings help families know that when they come to Children’s National, they’re receiving the best care available in the country,” said Horacio Rozanski, chair of the board of directors of Children’s National. “I’m confident that the organization’s next leader, Michelle Riley-Brown, will continue to ensure Children’s National is always a destination for excellent care.”

The annual rankings are the most comprehensive source of quality-related information on U.S. pediatric hospitals and recognizes the nation’s top 50 pediatric hospitals based on a scoring system developed by U.S. News.

“For 17 years, U.S. News has provided information to help parents of sick children and their doctors find the best children’s hospital to treat their illness or condition,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis and managing editor at U.S. News. “Children’s hospitals that are on the Honor Roll transcend in providing exceptional specialized care.”

The bulk of the score for each specialty service is based on quality and outcomes data. The process includes a survey of relevant specialists across the country, who are asked to list hospitals they believe provide the best care for patients with the most complex conditions.

The eight Children’s National specialty services that U.S. News ranked in the top 10 nationally are:

The other two specialties ranked among the top 50 were cardiology and heart surgery, and urology.

HIV virus

NIH awards to address detection and treatment of HIV in adolescents

HIV virus

The funding will improve prevention, detection and treatment of HIV in adolescents.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded over $8 million to improve prevention, detection and treatment of HIV in adolescents through leveraging digital health for population-based screening in the emergency department (ED). The grants were awarded to multiple children’s hospitals, including Children’s National Hospital.

The big picture

The studies will play an important role in looking at how to curtail the HIV epidemic.

“This is an opportunity to make an impact on adolescent health and mitigate disparities,” said Monika Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., associate chief of Emergency Medicine and one of the main principal investigators of the awarded team.

Adolescents and young adults (AYA) are disproportionately affected by HIV in the United States. Despite adolescents accounting for over 20% of new infections, this age group is the least likely to be tested for HIV, linked to care and achieve viral suppression when compared to their adult counterparts. Further, AYA also have low rates of HIV awareness and initiation of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.

“There is an urgent need to expand HIV screening and prevention strategies to nontraditional healthcare settings, such as emergency departments, to reach those adolescents who would otherwise not receive preventive healthcare,” Dr. Goyal added.

Why does this work matter?

Although adolescents frequently use the ED for access to healthcare, the ED has been underutilized as a venue for HIV screening, detection and prevention.

“We hope to curtail the HIV epidemic in youth by expanding HIV prevention and linkage to care services through the emergency department,” Dr. Goyal says.

Footnote: The grants issued by the NICHD are NICHD R01 HD110321 and UM2 HD111102-ATN.


Doctor holding notepad

In the News: Undertriage in emergency departments

“What prompted us to look into [undertriage] was a lot of our experiences. My colleagues and I have shared our stories and this is part of a larger project that we are doing to study the triage process as a quality improved tool in the emergency department (ED). We started to think about the triage process and how this really sets up the stage for the entire ED visit.”

Deena Berkowitz, M.D., M.P.H., associate division chief of Emergency Medicine, joined the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to talk about rates of undertriage in the ED for children with non-English-speaking caregivers. Learn more about her thoughts and the study’s findings in this recent AAP podcast.


Panel members at the NIAID symposium

CN-NIAID Symposium seeks ways to promote child health amid challenges

Panel members at the NIAID symposium

More than 30 million children seek emergency care each year, but 80 percent of these visits happen at hospitals that aren’t designed for pediatrics — a daunting figure during pandemics and other crises in healthcare. This considerable hurdle is one of many challenges that leaders in pediatric health came to discuss during a two-day symposium on promoting child health, hosted by Children’s National Hospital, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Pediatric Pandemic Network (PPN).

The symposium laid out a multitude of issues facing children and their doctors: growing mental health diagnoses, shrinking access to care in rural areas, asthma and eczema, winter respiratory surges and more.

Joelle Simpson, M.D., chief of emergency medicine at Children’s National and PPN principal investigator, said the network is drawing on expertise from 10 pediatric hospitals to ensure communities are better prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead, through training and support, collaboration among pediatric specialists, education on best practices and the promotion of equity and inclusion.

Built on a Health Resources and Services Administration grant, the network is focusing on four key areas: infectious disease and disease outbreaks, emergency and disaster management, mental and behavioral health, and health equity and community engagement. “This year, we know we are boiling the ocean as we come together,” Simpson said.

Miss the symposium? Check out the recordings available on YouTube, including the closing Q&A with many of the panelists and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, health policy reporter with the New York Times.

Day 1 of the 6th Annual Children’s National Hospital – NIAID Symposium

Day 2 of the 6th Annual Children’s National Hospital – NIAID Symposium


Abstract Happy 2022 New Year greeting card with light bulb

The best of 2022 from Innovation District

Abstract Happy 2022 New Year greeting card with light bulbA clinical trial testing a new drug to increase growth in children with short stature. The first ever high-intensity focused ultrasound procedure on a pediatric patient with neurofibromatosis. A low dose gene therapy vector that restores the ability of injured muscle fibers to repair. These were among the most popular articles we published on Innovation District in 2022. Read on for our full top 10 list.

1. Vosoritide shows promise for children with certain genetic growth disorders

Preliminary results from a phase II clinical trial at Children’s National Hospital showed that a new drug, vosoritide, can increase growth in children with certain growth disorders. This was the first clinical trial in the world testing vosoritide in children with certain genetic causes of short stature.
(2 min. read)

2. Children’s National uses HIFU to perform first ever non-invasive brain tumor procedure

Children’s National Hospital successfully performed the first ever high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) non-invasive procedure on a pediatric patient with neurofibromatosis. This was the youngest patient to undergo HIFU treatment in the world.
(3 min. read)

3. Gene therapy offers potential long-term treatment for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2B

Using a single injection of a low dose gene therapy vector, researchers at Children’s National restored the ability of injured muscle fibers to repair in a way that reduced muscle degeneration and enhanced the functioning of the diseased muscle.
(3 min. read)

4. Catherine Bollard, M.D., M.B.Ch.B., selected to lead global Cancer Grand Challenges team

A world-class team of researchers co-led by Catherine Bollard, M.D., M.B.Ch.B., director of the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Children’s National, was selected to receive a $25m Cancer Grand Challenges award to tackle solid tumors in children.
(4 min. read)

5. New telehealth command center redefines hospital care

Children’s National opened a new telehealth command center that uses cutting-edge technology to keep continuous watch over children with critical heart disease. The center offers improved collaborative communication to better help predict and prevent major events, like cardiac arrest.
(2 min. read)

6. Monika Goyal, M.D., recognized as the first endowed chair of Women in Science and Health

Children’s National named Monika Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., associate chief of Emergency Medicine, as the first endowed chair of Women in Science and Health (WISH) for her outstanding contributions in biomedical research.
(2 min. read)

7. Brain tumor team performs first ever LIFU procedure on pediatric DIPG patient

A team at Children’s National performed the first treatment with sonodynamic therapy utilizing low intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) and 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) medication on a pediatric patient. The treatment was done noninvasively through an intact skull.
(3 min. read)

8. COVID-19’s impact on pregnant women and their babies

In an editorial, Roberta L. DeBiasi, M.D., M.S., provided a comprehensive review of what is known about the harmful effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women themselves, the effects on their newborns, the negative impact on the placenta and what still is unknown amid the rapidly evolving field.
(2 min. read)

9. Staged surgical hybrid strategy changes outcome for baby born with HLHS

Doctors at Children’s National used a staged, hybrid cardiac surgical strategy to care for a patient who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) at 28-weeks-old. Hybrid heart procedures blend traditional surgery and a minimally invasive interventional, or catheter-based, procedure.
(4 min. read)

10. 2022: Pediatric colorectal and pelvic reconstructive surgery today

In a review article in Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, Marc Levitt, M.D., chief of the Division of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction at Children’s National, discussed the history of pediatric colorectal and pelvic reconstructive surgery and described the key advances that have improved patients’ lives.
(11 min. read)

Depressed mom sitting on couch with infant

Improving post-partum depression screening in the NICU and ED

Depressed mom sitting on couch with infant

A universal screening program is a critical first step for hospitals caring for postpartum caregivers, both inpatient and outpatient.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) — particularly postpartum depression — are more prevalent among parents who have newborns admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Children’s National Hospital sought to increase the number of parents screened for PMADs in the NICU and Emergency Department (ED), where there was a high incidence of people seeking care. The team found that a universal screening program is a critical first step for hospitals caring for postpartum caregivers, both inpatient and outpatient.

The big picture

Without treatment, PMADs affect the caregiver and disturb their interaction with their infant, impacting the child’s cognitive and emotional development.

“What surprised us was how many people we saw that screen positive for postpartum depression and anxiety disorders. The percentage of our population is higher than what is reported in the literature,” said Sofia Perazzo, M.D., program lead at Children’s National.

What we did

The team initiated a multifaceted approach, using an electronic version of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Screening tool.

  • A part-time family services support staff was hired to screen caregivers. Funding later expanded the team to cover more days and hours.
  • Real-time social work interventions and linkage to resources were provided to all caregivers.
  • A part-time psychologist was hired to provide telemedicine therapy to NICU parents.
  • Remote screening was implemented for those who could not be screened in-person.

In the NICU, 1,596 parents were approached from August 2018-April 2022. Of those approached, 90% completed the screen, 26% screened positive, 4% indicated having suicidal thoughts and about 13% of caregivers were fathers.

What we learned

  • Action plans need to be in place for positive screens at start.
  • Electronic tools can aid significantly in expanding screening.
  • Trained personnel and multidisciplinary approaches are key.
  • Screening in two different settings can be challenging as they present different systems.
  • Being flexible and adapting tools and the system are key to success.
  • Good team communication with the nurse is vital.

“We’re working on improving our screening system to make it more efficient. We also realized that we need to make more resources available to these families,” said Dr. Perazzo. “Our team is constantly looking for community resources that can help them along the way. There is also a big need to educate our families on mental health issues, so we use this encounter as an opportunity to do that as well.”

This work was made possible by an investment from A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation to Children’s National that aims to provide families with greater access to mental health care and community resources. Read more about the work of the Perinatal Mental Health Task Force at Children’s National.

Boy on e-scooter with Mom

E-scooter bone injuries on the rise

Over the past decade, electric scooters (e-scooters) have been increasing in popularity across the country. But with their popularity, visits to the hospital have also been on the rise. According to a new abstract, e-scooter injuries are becoming much more common and increasingly severe.

Authors of the abstract, “National Trends in Pediatric e-Scooter Injury,” found hundreds of e-scooter injuries between 2011-2020.

Boy on e-scooter with Mom

Over the years, e-scooter injuries are becoming much more common and increasingly severe.

The findings show that the rate of hospital admittance for patients increased from fewer than 1 out of every 20 e-scooter injuries in 2011 to 1 out of every 8 requiring admittance into a hospital for care in 2020.

“The number of annual e-scooter injuries has increased from 2011 to 2020, likely due in some part to the rise in popularity of rideshare e-scooter apps,” said lead author Harrison Hayward, M.D., Emergency Medicine fellow at Children’s National Hospital. “Our study has characterized the spectrum of injuries that occur in children, which helps emergency room doctors prepare for taking care of them and helps parents and families to practice better safety.”

The most common injuries were arm fractures (27%), followed by minor abrasions (22%) and lacerations needing stitches (17%). The average age was 11.1 years and 59% of patients were male.

With the alarming rise in injuries, Dr. Hayward and other experts are saying the use of helmets are a must since over 10% of the reported cases were head injuries.

“Research has broadly demonstrated that helmets save lives for bicycle riders, and we should think similarly about e-scooters,” he said.

You can read more about the findings on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.