illustration of sickled blood cells

Children’s National experts showcase sickle cell disease research

illustration of sickled blood cellsAndrew Campbell, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease program, assessed the lifetime value of cell and gene therapy (CGTS) through a case study at The American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy’s (ASGCT) Annual Meeting.

Dr. Campbell and other Children’s National researchers will be presenting again at the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research’s (FSCDR) Annual Sickle Cell Disease Research and Educational Symposium, June 7-9, 2024. The symposium includes more than 500 leading researchers, physicians, clinicians and social workers from all over the world.

Here’s a look at the presentations from Children’s National:

Day Time Presenter(s) Title
Sunday, June 9, 2024 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM Andrew Campbell, M.D. Update on Sickle Cell Legislation in the US


Sunday, June 9, 2024 3:00 PM – 3:15 PM Andrew Campbell, M.D., Deepika Darbari, M.D., and Regine Hyppolite, MSA Diagnostic Potential of Platelet-Neutrophil Ratio (PNR) for Stroke Risk in SCD Children


Sunday, June 9, 2024 3:15 PM – 3:30 PM


Andrew Campbell, M.D. A Pilot Study to Increase Naloxone Education and Prescriptions in Sickle Cell Clinics


Sunday, June 9, 2024 4:00 PM – 4:15 PM Steven Hardy, Ph.D. Correlation Between VOC and Cognitive Function Using The NIH ToolBox in SCD
Sunday, June 9, 2024 4:15 PM – 4:30 PM



Andrew Campbell, M.D., Deepika Darbari, M.D., and Regine Hyppolite, MSA Platelet to neutrophil ratio as a novel marker for monitoring SCD patients on hydroxyurea



Dr. Anitha John addresses symposium attendees

Addressing long-term brain effects of congenital heart disease

Dr. Anitha John addresses symposium attendees

Dr. Anitha John, medical director of the Washington Adult Congenital Heart Program at Children’s National Hospital, presenting on the lifelong effects of congential heart disease on brain health at a recent symposium.

About 81% of the 40,000 babies born in the United States with congenital heart disease (CHD) are expected to survive to at least age 35, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As survival rates have increased in recent decades, clinicians treating CHD patients are seeking to improve outcomes by understanding the long-term health effects and complications that arise for them.

Anitha John, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Washington Adult Congenital Heart Program at Children’s National Hospital, presented an overview of what researchers currently know about the lifelong effects of CHD on brain health at a symposium focused on the heart-brain continuum presented by Children’s National Innovation Ventures, CobiCure and JLABS @ Washington, D.C. She also discussed critically needed advancements in monitoring technology to help clinicians better understand and address how CHD affects the brain.

Why it matters

Based on data collected from adults and children with the condition, Dr. John shared that people with CHD face many potential lifelong challenges and risks, which vary based on disease severity:

  • About one-third report a mood disorder, either anxiety or depression
  • 25% higher risk of substandard academic outcomes
  • 50% more likely to require special education services
  • Higher incidence of motor skills impairment
  • Higher lifetime prevalence of ADHD
  • Generally lower educational attainment at adulthood
  • Higher risk of autism spectrum disorders
  • Higher rate of dementia before the age of 65

Why do some people with CHD experience profound, lifelong brain effects? Dr. John notes that clinicians and researchers are seeking those answers, recognizing that they likely involve various factors and accumulating issues that occur over the entire lifespan, from fetal life onward.

Because the heart supplies the brain with oxygen through circulated blood, the diagnostic tool clinicians most want for patients of all ages is a technology that enables noninvasive monitoring of central venous pressure, an indicator of the volume of blood returning to the heart and the pressure within the heart. Currently, the most reliable way to measure this pressure is by an invasive procedure in which a catheter is inserted into the patient’s subclavian or internal jugular vein or by placing a device into the patient’s pulmonary artery. These procedures have limitations and cannot be used for routine surveillance.

What’s next

Dr. John says noninvasive central venous pressure monitoring is important to understanding and addressing what is causing brain injury in CHD patients. She says the challenges in developing this monitoring solution include the need for an individualized approach, a design that accommodates multidisciplinary use, sizing for patients from infants to adulthood, usability for all age groups and avoiding stigma for wearers.

To address this need, the Alliance for Pediatric Device Development – a consortium funded by the Food and Drug Administration and led by Children’s National – is partnering with CobiCure to issue a request for proposals for direct device funding. The goal is to provide funding to innovators who offer solutions to the dire unmet need for pediatric devices that provide noninvasive monitoring of the circulatory system and heart performance. Details will be announced in June 2024.


person circling items on mental health summit agenda

Unique alliance expands access to mental health support for kids

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare organizations in the nation, and Children’s National Hospital, a top-ranked children’s hospital located in Washington, D.C., announced a new alliance that’s taking a unique approach to help address the youth mental health crisis and improve health outcomes.

As part of this alliance, CareFirst has increased the reimbursement for preventive and mental health care for primary care providers who go through specialized mental health training focused on depression, suicide prevention, anxiety, ADHD and eating disorders. The training is offered through the Pediatric Health Network, the clinically integrated network of healthcare providers for Children’s National, to its more than 1,500 members including more than 700 primary care physicians.

In 2021, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory detailing an urgent youth mental health crisis. Unfortunately, access to pediatric mental health care is a national challenge, and for children and families, timely and effective support can be elusive. Empowering primary care providers with specialized training will help break down barriers and reshape care delivery.

“Providers face challenges due to limited resources and insufficient support in addressing pediatric mental health needs. CareFirst’s commitment to increasing reimbursement for mental health care underscores the integral role of primary care providers in this space,” says Nathaniel Beers, M.D., executive vice president for Community and Population Health for Children’s National Hospital. “With these trainings, our providers gain the knowledge, tools and confidence to handle sensitive conversations, offer vital support and make informed referrals when needed.”

The alliance executes a value-based care payment model for the Children’s National network of community physicians, enhancing benefits to offer more value to physicians and patients while aiming to drive improved outcomes, patient experience and coordination in care. By embedding mental health care within the familiar confines of primary care settings, this initiative ensures children receive timely interventions in an environment they trust.

This work to improve access to mental health services is just one part of the broader unique payer-provider alliance between CareFirst and Children’s National to address healthcare disparities and social determinants of health. Targeted pediatric interventions are set upon three pillars:

  • Value-based care
  • Community health initiatives
  • Member benefit enhancements

Each pillar is delivered and informed by experts from both organizations with distinct tactics and funding designed for three key priority health conditions:

  • Behavioral and mental health
  • Diabetes
  • Infant mortality

“As the lines continue to blur between payers and providers, with vertical integration and the reimbursement shift from volume to value, insurers and hospitals need to continue to evolve their relationships with each other,” said Brian Wheeler, executive vice president of Health Services for CareFirst. “This model aims to address the need for affordable healthcare, employing a patient-centric approach that encourages seamless treatment for the patient and provider.”

The next major program in development is focused on improving diabetes care through early diagnosis to lessen vulnerability and severity and improve long-term positive health outcomes.

Community health initiatives will continue to be developed through the Children’s National Child Health Advocacy Institute and Community Health programs with the support of CareFirst’s philanthropic efforts.

illustration of diseased liver

Dominant Fontan approach may be associated with increased liver cirrhosis

illustration of diseased liver

The amount of long-term liver cirrhosis in children with single ventricle congenital heart disease who underwent the Fontan procedure may depend on which surgical approach is chosen by the pediatric cardiac surgeon.

The amount of long-term liver cirrhosis in children with single ventricle congenital heart disease who underwent the Fontan procedure may depend on which surgical approach is chosen by the pediatric cardiac surgeon, according to researchers at Children’s National Hospital who presented their findings this week at the American Association of Thoracic Surgery annual meeting. The full manuscript appears in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

What this means

Senior study author Yves d’Udekem, M.D., Ph.D., chief of Cardiac Surgery at Children’s National, says that the vast majority of Fontan procedures in the United States use an extracardiac conduit approach to redirect blood flow to the lungs. However, a retrospective review of 332 patients who underwent the Fontan at Children’s National showed that children who received the extracardiac Fontan may experience liver cirrhosis at a rate of 30% after 15 years compared to the lateral tunnel approach which showed 15-year liver cirrhosis at a significantly lower rate of 4.4%. The lateral tunnel was a well-established method pioneered in Europe by pediatric cardiac surgeon Marc de Leval in the 1980s. This technique lost traction in the field and people started in the 1990s to perform a variation of the technique called the extracardiac Fontan because it was thought that it would be giving more favorable flows and protect the patients against rhythm issues. Thirty years later, these predictions did not reveal themselves to be true.

“Since the 1990s, the vast majority of Fontan procedures in the United States are performed creating an extracardiac conduit rather than the lateral tunnel,” says Dr. d’Udekem. “But what we see when we follow long-term outcomes of these children is a consequence not reported before.”

Children’s National leads the way

Dr. d’Udekem and the research team, including presenter and first author Eiri Kisamori, M.D., a cardiac surgery fellow at Children’s National, are the first to report these findings based on reviews of 15-year outcome data. These retrospective reviews of long-term outcomes are a critical tool to inform and improve clinical approaches with the goal of optimizing the long-term quality of life for children born with these critical congenital conditions.

What’s next

While more research is needed, the authors hypothesize that the size of the conduit for blood flow may be the culprit for higher levels of liver damage. For children who have already received an extracardiac Fontan, Dr. d’Udekem says that widening their existing conduit in a reoperation may successfully improve blood flow to the liver. For future procedures, he notes that in his own practice, he now uses the lateral tunnel approach whenever possible.

Read the study: Alarming rate of liver cirrhosis after the small conduit Extracardiac Fontan. A comparative analysis with the Lateral Tunnel.

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


Toronto skyline with AATS logo

Children’s National at the104th Annual AATS Meeting

Attending the American Association for Thoracic Surgery’s 104th Annual Meeting this weekend? Stop by the Children’s National Booth #1315! Here is a look at the topics that our Childrens National Heart Center will be presenting on. We look forward to connecting with you in Toronto.

Name Session & Role Topic Type Date Time Location
Can Yerebakan, M.D. Congenital Scientific Session: Strategies for Management of the Borderline Heart



Debate: Hybrid is the Default Pathway- Pro Oral Presentation Saturday, April 27, 2024 8:50 a.m. Room 716
Yves d’Udekem, M.D., Ph.D. AATS/CHSS Summit: Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome



Are We Getting better? Ongoing Challenges of Atrioventricular Valve Repair in Single Ventricle Patients with Right Ventricular Morphology Oral Presentation Saturday, April 27, 2024 1:30 – 3:56 p.m. Room 716
Yves d’Udekem, M.D., Ph.D. Congenital Rapid Fire Orals – Theater Session I

(Case Video Presenter)

Early Pulmonary veins Channeling in a Complex Heterotaxia Heart wit Oral Presentation Sunday, April 28, 2024 9:12 a.m. Theater 1
Eiri Kisamori, M.D. Congenital Rapid Fire Orals


Alarming Rate of Liver Cirrhosis After the Small Conduit Extracardiac Fontan.

A Comparative Analysis With the Lateral Tunnel.

Abstract Presentation Sunday, April 28, 2024 11:43 a.m. Room 716
Rittal Mehta, MS, BDS Congenital Poster Session II


Navigating the Future of Pediatric Cardiovascular surgery: Insights and Innovation powered by ChatGPT. Poster Presentation Monday, April 29, 2024 8:00 a.m. Poster Area
Can Yerebakan, M.D. Congenital Poster Session II


Can Delayed Norwoods in High Risk Patients Achieve Similar Results than Primary Norwood for Low Risk Patients. Poster Presentation Monday, April 29, 2024 8:00 a.m. Poster Area
Arif Selcuk, M.D. Congenital Rapid Fire Orals – Theater Session III


Initial Rescue of a High-Risk Newborn by Atrial Kissing Procedure’ for Left Atrium Decompression and Bilateral Pulmonary Artery Banding. Case Video Presentation Monday, April 29, 2024 3:51 p.m. Theater 1
Yves d’Udekem, M.D., Ph.D. Congenital Disasters and Rescues


Mitral Valve Repair Techniques in Neonates and Infants’ Rather than a Specific Situation? Oral Presentation Tuesday, April 30, 2024 8:45 a.m. Room 716
illustration of the gastrointestinal tract

Children’s National to host Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Days Meeting

illustration of the gastrointestinal tractThe division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Children’s National Hospital is proud to host the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Days (PIBDRD) Meeting from April 4-5, 2024.

This two-day event will review recent advances in pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research, identify gaps in knowledge in pediatric IBD and identify target areas for future pediatric IBD research. Underlying themes will include sex differences in presentation, disease course and response to treatment; growth; nutrition; and other pediatric chronic inflammatory conditions.

This two-day event offers 13 CME credits and features a robust lineup of experts in the field of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

To review the this year’s agenda and register to attend, visit

ICEOS logo

Global summit to address complex pediatric scoliosis

ICEOS logoThe 2023 International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis and the Growing Spine (ICEOS) was a three-day conference for surgeons and health professionals from around the world. The sessions focused on solutions for pediatric spine deformities. Matthew Oetgen, M.D., chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at Children’s National Hospital, was a member of the faculty.

Session highlights included:

  • Pre-Course: Pediatric Spine Study Group (PSSG) Mini-Research Symposium – Considerations for your biosketch, regulatory and IRB
  • How Do You Propel Your Research Team

“Overall this was a great meeting with valuable content,” says Dr. Oetgen. “Learning and teaching alongside fellow orthopaedic leaders is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved.”

Dr. Oetgen participated in the following sessions:

  • Timing of Hemivertebra Excision
  • Let’s Debate! nView Workshop – 3D imaging and guidance, available technologies for pediatric spine and when to use them
  • Case-Based Learning – Congenital Scoliosis

The 2024 ICEOS Meeting will be November 13-15 in Phoenix, AZ.

IPOS logo

Global gathering of orthopaedic leaders at IPOS

IPOS logoThe 2023 International Pediatric Orthopaedic Symposium (IPOS) was a comprehensive four-day conference that addressed a wide range of pediatric and adolescent orthopaedic conditions. The meeting focused on hands-on teaching and state-of-the-art surgical approaches to pediatric orthopaedic surgery.

“IPOS is unique in that, unlike many scientific meetings, there is less emphasis on original scientific content,” says Matthew Oetgen, M.D., chief of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at Children’s National Hospital and one of the faculty members of the symposium. “Instead, the focus is on providing instruction, hands-on learning and the introduction of new technology.”

Some session highlights include:

  • Essentials of Pediatric Orthopaedics – lectures on upper extremity and lower extremity trauma.
  • The Course for Mid-Career Surgeons – a talk full of valuable insights on mentorship and paying it forward.
  • The Author’s Preferred Techniques – surgical technique lectures on cavus foot reconstruction and repairing pediatric thumb fractures.

“Each of these sessions offer unique takeaways for a variety of learning levels from residents and fellows to course faculty members like myself,” says Dr. Oetgen. “Overall, this year’s IPOS was very educational and I was proud to have had a number of Children’s National faculty attend and experience the course.”

Dr. Oetgen participated in several sessions:

  • Essentials of Pediatric Orthopaedics II and III – Session Moderator
  • Essentials of Pediatric Orthopaedics: Back Pain, Kyphosis and Disc Disease – Lecture
  • Top Gun Surgical Simulation Competition – Faculty Leader
  • Hands-On Workshop – Pinning an Elbow – Faculty
  • Reconsidering How You Should Code for Fractures
  • EMR Hacks to Improve Wellness and Patient Experience – Lecture
  • Industry Spotlight Session nView Medical – Next Generation Pediatric 3D Imaging and Navigation – Simplifying Your Current Surgical Workflow – Lecture
    • Children’s National is was the first pediatric hospital in the country to use the 3D imaging technology by nView Medical in the operating room. Researchers studied its impact in the area of pediatric spine surgery, navigation and imaging. The team continues to be a major investigator and knowledge leader with this technology. Moving forward, researchers plan to study the technology’s impact in pediatric orthopaedic surgery.


illustration of neurons with electrical impulses

Children’s National at the American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting

illustration of neurons with electrical impulsesSeveral experts from Children’s National Hospital will be sharing their knowledge at the upcoming American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting in Orlando, December 1-5. Here’s a sample of what you can expect.

  • Chima Oluigbo, M.D., a pediatric neurosurgeon, will be on panel with other surgeons discussing different surgical techniques and approaches related to epilepsy surgery followed by hands-on practice at teaching stations. He will focus on extra-temporal epilepsy scenarios and will be presenting on Nuances of Temporal Lobe Surgery in the Pediatric Population at the Neurosurgery Symposium highlighting Surgical Controversies in Temporal Lobe Epilepsies.
  • Ersida Buraniqi, M.D., a child neurologist, will be part of a special interest group on critical care and discuss advances in electroencephalography (EEG) and multimodal neuro-monitoring for seizures in the intensive care unit (ICU). Dr. Buranigui will be doing a special presentation on EEG features to predict electrographic seizures and mortality in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
  • Dana Harrar, M.D., director of Pediatric Stroke Program and co-director of Critical Care Neurology, is presenting at an invitation-only resident EEG course, providing an interactive structured curriculum on pediatric and adult EEG. Dr. Harrar will be focusing on doing an ICU-EEG nomenclature overview.
  • Madison Berl, Ph.D., director of Neuropathy Research and of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center Program, will be presenting during the AES Annual Course. The topic “It’s About Time” will focus on the critical importance the timing in epilepsy care plays in patient outcome. Dr. Berl will be presenting on neuropsych outcomes.
  • Leigh Sepeta, Ph.D., director of Inpatient Neuropsychology, is the vice-chair of the special interest group on neuropsychology. Additionally, Freya Prentice, M.Sc., will be doing a presentation during this session on functional mapping of the cognitive memory circuit in pediatric epilepsy.
Date Time Presenter(s) Title
12/2/23 8:00 am Chima Oluigbo, M.D., FRCSC, FAANS Skills Workshop | Epilepsy Surgery Workshop: Techniques and Clinical Scenarios
12/2/23 5:30 pm Chima Oluigbo, M.D., FRCSC, FAANS SIG | Epilepsy Surgery: Homunculus Revisited: Managing Central Lobe Epilepsies
12/2/23 5:30 pm Ersida Buraniqi, M.D. SIG | Critical Care: Advances in EEG and Multimodal Neuro-monitoring for Seizures in the ICU
12/2/23 7:00am Dana Harrar M.D. Resident EEG Course
12/3/23 9:00 am Chima Oluigbo, M.D., FRCSC, FAANS Neurosurgery Symposium | Surgical Controversies in Temporal Lobe Epilepsies
12/3/23 8:45 am Madison Berl, Ph.D. Annual Course | It’s About Time: Timing in Epilepsy Evaluation and Treatment
12/4/23 7:00 am Leigh Sepeta, M.D. SIG | Neuropsychology: Mapping Cognition in Epilepsy: From the Lab to the Clinic
12/4/23 7:00 am Freya Prentice, M.D. SIG | Neuropsychology: Mapping Cognition in Epilepsy: From the Lab to the Clinic
12/5/23 7:00 am Dana Harrar M.D. SIG | Epilepsy Education: Epilepsy Education Throughout the Training Pipeline


Auditorium at the Cell and Gene Therapy in the DMV Symposium

Cell & Gene Therapy in the DMV: Experts collaborate for cures

Leaders in medicine, academia, industry and state and local government came together for the first annual Cell and Gene Therapy in the DMV Symposium, hosted at the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus. The mission: Connect the local scientific community – bursting with expertise and collaboration potential – to develop these cutting-edge therapies for cancers, sickle cell disease and immune-mediated disorders.

The daylong event drew over 100 experts from a range of organizations in the D.C, Maryland and Virginia region, sometimes called the DMV: Children’s National Hospital, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institutes of Health, the General Accounting Office, Virginia Tech, MaxCyte, AstraZeneca, Kite Pharma, Montgomery College, the Maryland State Department of Commerce and more. Together, they unraveled a host of topics including the regulatory environment, workforce development and training, research standards and the promise of these therapies.

“Our Cell & Gene Therapy Symposium brings together our current collaborators and future partners in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia space, which is an incredibly rich area. We see tremendous opportunity and breakthroughs in our future,” said Catherine Bollard, M.D., M.B.Ch.B., interim chief academic officer and chief of Pediatrics at Children’s National Hospital. “Many different diseases rely on the immune system to either be ramped up or to be controlled, and we can seize on these biological processes. Cell and gene therapies are at the heart of where medicine is going.”

The big picture

For decades, oncologists largely have turned to the same menu of treatments to fight cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Cell and gene therapies offer the promise of training the immune system to fight diseases with fewer side effects and potentially higher success rates. Early work has shown progress in liquid cancers, like leukemia, raising the possibility that the therapies could be used on solid tumors and other disorders, such as lupus and sickle cell disease. However, many disciplines must come together to yield discoveries.

“Nobel Prize-winning work doesn’t necessarily translate into available therapies for patients. It takes a whole community like this to make it happen,” said Cenk Sumen, chief scientific officer at MaxCyte Inc., an international cell engineering company based in Rockville, Md. “It has been exciting to see this diverse group of stakeholders come together, which is probably unmatched anywhere on the planet.”

Why we’re excited

Symposium host Patrick Hanley, Ph.D., chief and director of the Cellular Therapy Program at Children’s National, said the goal was to cement the region as the No. 1 location for this highly technical research and development. He believes Children’s National can offer essential elements to this success, given its clinical and research expertise, workforce training opportunities and geographic proximity to the scientific leadership of the federal government. “What makes us unique is our proximity to all the players who can help create new treatment options for patients. We truly are the biomedical capital of the world,” he said.

Michael Friedlander, vice president for health sciences at Virginia Tech, notes that the earliest stages of invention will emanate from academic labs including those at Virginia Tech and Children’s National. “You have basic scientists who are doing fundamental research on properties and procedures that will lead to the new therapies of tomorrow,” he said. “We are putting in place the fundamental pieces to advance children’s health in all dimensions.”

What’s ahead

One challenge is developing a workforce to help prepare cell therapies for patients, following precise standards to ensure the therapy works as designed. Children’s National does this training, as do others in the region. Lori Kelman, Ph.D., M.B.A., biotechnology coordinator and professor at Montgomery College, said that the area is full of people who want to help people and who like science.

“The thing that people might not know is that you don’t need a Ph.D. to work in cell and gene therapy,” she said. “There are opportunities at all levels, including the entry level, which is where a great career often starts.”

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Meeting Logo

Children’s National at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Meeting

Several experts from Children’s National Hospital will be sharing their knowledge at the upcoming American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Meeting in New York City, October 23-28. Here’s a sample of what you can expect.

  • Mahdieh (Emmie) Bodaghi, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist with expertise in telepsychiatry, will be on a clinical case conference panel about assessing and treating adolescents with comorbid catatonia. The presentation will feature a review of the current understanding of catatonia in the adolescent population and the assessment and management of catatonic features in bipolar disorder across inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • Jennifer Dorr, D.O., M.P.H., will be chairing a workshop on advocating purposefully, in which participants learn about the new advocacy toolkit developed by the AACAP Advocacy Committee. Laura Willing, M.D., will also be presenting in the workshop. Additionally, Dr. Dorr and Meghan Schott, D.O., will be presenters in a member services forum on effectively engaging in public discourse and advocacy.
  • Kriti Gandhi, M.D., Ayman Saleh, M.D., and Adelaide Robb, M.D., are presenting a poster on factors and implementations to decrease no-show rates for follow-up appointments at child psychiatry clinics.
  • Dr. Robb, who is division chief of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services at Children’s National, is also co-presenting in a sold out workshop and a clinical case conference. The workshop will look at various psychopharmacological decision-making strategies and allow participants to identify their personal strengths and areas for improvement by completing a self-assessment. The clinical case conference will discuss deprescribing — the process of reducing or withdrawing medications that pose higher risks than benefits — and include real-life examples of deprescribing to support young patients from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Priya Punnoose, M.D., and Dr. Schott will be presenting a clinical perspective on psychodynamic psychiatry in the inpatient setting.
  • Dr. Schott, who is medical director of Psychiatric Emergency Services at Children’s National, will be chairing a forum, that includes Dr. Robb, and is geared towards early and mid-career child and adolescent psychiatrists in academia who want to learn more about academic promotion. Dr. Schott will also be participating in two other forums — on personal finance and public advocacy — as well as chairing a discussion on the coming-of-age animated movie Luca and having conversations about life transitions with patients and their families.
  • Irene Chatoor, M.D., director of the Infant and Toddler Mental Health Program at Children’s National, will be chairing a clinical perspective on the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of lack of interest in eating or food, as well as presenting her research during that time.
Date Time Presenter(s) Title
10/24/23 7:00 pm Meghan Schott, D.O. A Fish Out of Water: Reflections on Transitions and the “Other” in Luca
10/25/23 8:00 am Irene Chatoor, M.D. The Diagnosis, Treatment, and Follow-up of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder Subtype: Lack of Interest in Eating or Food
10/25/23 8:00 am Jennifer Dorr, D.O., M.P.H., and Laura Willing, M.D. How to Advocate Purposefully: Introducing AACAP’s Advocacy Toolkit
10/26/23 8:00 am Adelaide Robb, M.D. Helping You Know What You Don’t Know: A Self-Assessment Review of Psychopharmacology
10/26/23 1:30 pm Meghan Schott, D.O., and Adelaide Robb, M.D. Instructor to Professor: A Roadmap to Academic Promotion
10/27/23 8:00 am Adelaide Robb, M.D. Developmental Dynamics in De-prescribing for Children, Adolescents, and Transitional-Age Youth
10/27/23 1:30 pm Mahdieh (Emmie) Bodaghi, M.D. More Than Mania: Assessment and Treatment of Adolescents With Comorbid Catatonia Across Treatment Settings
10/27/23 n/a Kriti Gandhi, M.D., Ayman Saleh, M.D., and Adelaide Robb, M.D. Factors and Implementations to Decrease No-Show Rates for Follow-Up Appointments at the Child Psychiatry Clinic
10/27/23 n/a Priya Punnoose, M.D., and Meghan Schott, D.O. Psychodynamic Psychiatry in the Inpatient Setting


10/28/23 8:30 am Meghan Schott, D.O. From Residency Rags to Riches: A Physician’s Primer on Personal Finance, Paying Off Debt, and Preparing for the Future
10/28/23 1:00 pm Jennifer Dorr, D.O., M.P.H., and Meghan Schott, D.O. A Developmental Approach to the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Advocate: Finding Your Stride and Making It Count
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


Attendees at the inaugural symposium on AI in Pediatric Health and Rare Diseases

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

Attendees at the inaugural symposium on AI in Pediatric Health and Rare Diseases

The daylong event drew experts from the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer, Oracle Health, NVIDIA, AWS Health and elsewhere to start building a community aimed at using data for the advancement of pediatric medicine.

The future of pediatric medicine holds the promise of artificial intelligence (AI) that can help diagnose rare diseases, provide roadmaps for safer surgeries, tap into predictive technologies to guide individual treatment plans and shrink the distance between patients in rural areas and specialty care providers.

These and dozens of other innovations were contemplated as scientists came together 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. The daylong event drew experts from the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer, Oracle Health, NVIDIA, AWS Health and elsewhere to start building a community aimed at using data for the advancement of pediatric medicine.

“AI is the single greatest tool for improving equity and access to health care,” said symposium host Marius George Linguraru, D.Phil., M.A., M.Sc., principal investigator at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. “As a population, kids are vastly underrepresented in scientific research and resulting treatments, but pediatric specialties can use AI to provide medical care to kids more efficiently, more quickly and more effectively.”

What they’re saying

Scientists shared their progress in building digital twins to predict surgical outcomes, enhancing visualization to increase the precision of delicate interventions, establishing data command centers to anticipate risks for fragile patients and more. Over two dozen speakers shared their vision for the future of medicine, augmented by the power of AI:

  • Keynote speaker Subha Madhavan, Ph.D., vice president and head of AI and machine learning at Pfizer, discussed various use cases and the potential to bring drugs to market faster using real-world evidence and AI. She saw promise for pediatrics. “This is probably the most engaging mission: children’s health and rare diseases,” she said. “It’s hard to find another mission that’s as compelling.”
  • Brandon J. Nelson, Ph.D., staff fellow in the Division of Imaging, Diagnostics and Software Reliability at the Food and Drug Administration, shared ways AI will improve diagnostic imaging and reduce radiation exposure to patients, using more advanced image reconstruction and denoising techniques. “That is really our key take-home message,” he said. “We can get what … appear as higher dose images, but with less dose.”
  • Daniel Donoho, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Children’s National, introduced the audience to the potential of “Smart ORs”: operating rooms where systems can ingest surgery video and provide feedback and skill assessments. “We have to transform the art of surgery into a measurable and improvable scientific practice,” he said.
  • Debra Regier, M.D., chief of Genetics and Metabolism at Children’s National, discussed how AI could be used to diagnose and treat rare diseases by conducting deep dives into genetics and studying dysmorphisms in patients’ faces. Already, Children’s National has designed an app – mGene – that measures facial features and provides a risk score to help anyone in general practice determine if a child has a genetic condition. “The untrained eye can stay the untrained eye, and the family can continue to have faith in their provider,” she said.

What’s next

Linguraru and others stressed the need to design AI for kids, rather than borrow it from adults, to ensure medicine meets their unique needs. He noted that scientists will need to solve challenges, such as the lack of data inherent in rare pediatric disorders and the simple fact that children grow. “Children are not mini-adults,” Linguraru said. “There are big changes in a child’s life.”

The landscape will require thoughtfulness. Naren Ramakrishnan, Ph.D., director of the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence & Analytics at Virginia Tech and symposium co-host, said that scientists are heading into an era with a new incarnation of public-private partnerships, but many questions remain about how data will be shared and organizations will connect. “It is not going to be business as usual, but what is this new business?” he asked.

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


PAS Logo

Children’s National Hospital at the 2023 Pediatric Academic Societies meeting

PAS LogoA remarkable number of Children’s National Hospital-affiliated participants will present at this year’s Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. The meeting will take place in Washington, D.C., from April 27-May 1, 2023. For information on the over 200 presentations, please refer to this chart.

William Sheehan

Allergist taps into biologics to treat asthma

6th Annual Children’s National Hospital – NIAID Symposium
Promoting Child Health: From Environmental Challenges to Pandemic
April 27 – 28, 2023 | Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus | 7144 13th Pl NW, Washington, DC 20012


William SheehanWilliam Sheehan, M.D., joined Children’s National Hospital in 2017 as a board-certified allergist and immunologist with a passion for helping patients with asthma, allergies, eczema and immunodeficiency. During his fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Boston, he investigated the impact of inner-city and school environments on children’s asthma, and he found reward in helping children breathe easier. Dr. Sheehan will be discussing the impact of the environment on childhood asthma at the upcoming CNH-NIAID Symposium on Promoting Child Health: From Environmental Challenges to Pandemic. He shared with Innovation District an overview of his research and his hope for using biologics to treat asthma.

Q: Could you talk about the research you have been involved in?

A: Since my fellowship, my work has been specifically targeting the interaction between environmental exposures in school and asthma. By intervening in the school environment, we could help dozens of children with asthma. In recent years and here at Children’s National, I have become interested in research regarding using biological medicines to treat inner-city children with asthma. These antibody medications, given by injection, target cells that cause inflammation and are used in children who have severe asthma that is not responding to conventional therapies.

Q: What is new about biologics for treating childhood asthma? How are researchers at Children’s National contributing to the field?

A: The first biologic medicine for treating asthma, called Omalizumab, was approved in 2003. In the last five years, four more biologics have been approved for treating childhood asthma, with more in the pipeline. At Children’s National, we have been trying to identify which biologic therapy is most effective for a particular child with asthma by looking at specific biomarkers. We also are examining new biomarkers that may be beneficial. Specifically, we are looking at the levels of regulatory B cells, an immune cell that acts as a brake to control allergic inflammation.  We have shown that these cells are lacking in children with severe asthma and may make these children better candidates for biologic therapies.

Q: How prevalent are young patients in the asthma population in D.C., and do you believe environmental factors associated with living in a city contribute to the higher incidence of asthma in this population?

A: D.C. is a challenging city for pediatric asthma. Not only is asthma prevalence higher here, but we also see higher rates of severe asthma requiring emergency visits, hospitalizations and even admissions to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

While environmental factors such as pollution, second-hand smoke and exposure to mice and cockroaches can contribute to childhood asthma, I don’t think it’s the sole factor in D.C. There might be multiple factors at play, including social structures that make it difficult for families to access and maintain asthma care and medications. Additionally, there seems to be a genetic component as Black and Hispanic children tend to suffer from worse asthma than white children, regardless of the environment.

Q: What specific research areas or topics interest you for future study?

A: We have made significant progress in controlling asthma with biologics, but prevention is the next frontier. Current studies are focusing on treating vulnerable children at a very young age with the goal of preventing the development of asthma later in childhood. If we can’t prevent asthma, we should strive to achieve asthma “remission” through the use current medications and biologic therapies. The goal would be for individuals to go through their year without any symptoms or exacerbations, essentially living as though they don’t have asthma at all.

images of baby's legs and casts

Innovation in clubfoot management using 3D anatomical mapping

Idiopathic clubfoot is one the most common congenital deformities of the lower extremity. Its incidence is reported to be 1-2 cases per 1000 live births.

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. The study, presented at the SPIE Medical Imaging Conference 2022, uses a novel photogrammetry method to gather 3D surface images of infant clubfoot anatomy and assess the foot position and correction.

Even better, this approach captures the images without additional radiation exposure.

“We’re not changing the gold standard of Ponseti casting, we’re adding to it,” says Sean Tabaie, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon at Children’s National and one of the study’s authors. “The more families we have in this study the greater the potential to move this field forward.”

Read more about the study, Development of a novel photogrammetry method for acquiring 3D surface models of infant clubfoot anatomy.

Bear Institute PACK logo

Bear Institute Pediatric Accelerator Challenge for Kids winners announced

Bear Institute PACK logoIn December 2022, the Bear Institute, along with Children’s National Hospital and Oracle Health, hosted the second annual Bear Institute PACK (Pediatric Accelerator Challenge for Kids), a start-up competition aimed to foster pediatric digital health innovation.

Bear Institute PACK is inclusive of the entire pediatric health care community and addresses the large disparity in digital health innovation funding dedicated to children versus the rest of the population. “We have to do more for children, a population that can’t advocate for itself,” says Matt Macvey, M.B.A., MS, executive vice president and chief information officer at Children’s National Hospital. “Bear Institute PACK is an all-hands effort to provide increased support to those start-ups trying to bring new solutions to market for kids.”

Start-ups share their innovations and receive valuable feedback from expert judges while competing for a chance to win an on-site pilot and software development support. The competition features three rounds of judging: an initial review of applications from the Bear Institute PACK team, judging from participating pediatric healthcare providers and administrators and review from an expert panel of judges during finalist start-ups’ live pitches. This year’s start-up participants competed across four innovation tracks in the following areas of development: Early-Stage Innovation, Concept Validation, Early Commercialization and Growth Trajectory.

This 2022 winners, in four innovation tracks, are:

  • Early-Stage Innovation (“Even the biggest ideas start small”) Winner: PigPug Health
    Its solution uses neurofeedback, a non-invasive approach to treating brain-related conditions, and artificial intelligence to help children with ADHD and autism become more socialized.
  • Concept Validation (“Now it’s time to test it”) Winner: Global Continence, Inc.
    Its Soluu™, Bedwetting Mitigation Device, helps rapidly and permanently mitigate bedwetting with a neuromodulation process.
  • Early Commercialization (“Countdown to launch”) Winner: PyrAmes Inc.
    Its solution Boppli™ provides continuous, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring and streams data via Bluetooth to a mobile device.
  • Growth Trajectory (“The investment is growing”) Winner: maro
    Its full stack child development kit equips a child’s caretakers (at home, school and clinic) with easy access to tools and data needed to help them navigate tough conversations including mental health, diversity, empathy, and puberty and helps identify mental health at-risk students in schools.

“I was very impressed with this year’s start-up participants and their caliber of talent and passion for what they do. The finalist judges were tasked with selecting one winner in each innovation track, but the work each participant is doing for kids makes them all winners,” says Rebecca Laborde, Ph.D., chief scientist, vice president of Health Innovation and Scientific Advisory, Oracle Health. “Thank you to the entire pediatric healthcare community that comes together to help make this event a success. We believe that by bringing together like-minded individuals with the same goals, we can make a real difference in pediatric healthcare.”

More information on this year’s winners can be found on the Bear Institute PACK website.

Societies for Pediatric Urology logo

Children’s National at the Societies for Pediatric Urology Fall Congress

Providers from the Department of Urology at Children’s National Hospital attended the Societies for Pediatric Urology Fall Congress in October 2022 and shared a series of abstracts.

The abstracts look at unplanned healthcare use and missed visits among children with spina bifida, as well as factors associated with these outcomes. The team collected data from chart review and patient interviews to complete these projects. They considered clinical information, as well as demographic information and the childhood opportunity index, which is a composite measure that proxies social determinants of health, while accounting for how far a family lives from the emergency department.

Clinically, patients with more complex spina bifida (e.g., ventricular shunt or wheelchair use) were more likely to use the emergency department. Genitourinary and gastrointestinal problems were the most common reasons for emergency department use. Within the Spina Bifida Program at Children’s National, our providers are aggressively trying to reduce gastrointestinal complaints with a nurse practitioner dedicated to bowel management and working collaboratively with the Division of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction.

A sobering finding from this research was that non-white patients with spina bifida at Children’s National were more likely to have had an emergency department visit between 2016-2020 after accounting for all other variables. This indicates a clear need for improving access, communication and quality of care for minority patients with spina bifida. We are increasingly developing our community partnerships with pediatricians and school nurses, and we are accessible by a direct phone line and email to allow for prompt support. We have also established clinics in Prince George’s County in Maryland which will bring the program closer to some minority communities.

The team also found that families of children with spina bifida scheduled for telemedicine visits were much more likely to miss a visit than a child without spina bifida or if the visit was in-person. This has led to changes in how we deploy telemedicine in this population, while still remaining nimble with the option of telemedicine or in-person visits. By screening the family’s ability and desire to use this modality, we hope to reduce missed visits overall.

View the abstracts

poster conclusions