October 2018 NewsletterDepartment of Pediatrics Oct 9, 2018
A Thriving State of the Department
Thanks to everyone who attended the annual Pediatrician-in-Chief Update on the Department of Pediatrics on September 28. Highlights of the presentation included recognition of our recently promoted faculty, the unveiling of a new Department initiative to support research intensive faculty, and a discussion of the findings of a comprehensive gender equity faculty salary review. The event also included the awarding of the Senior Instructor of Distinction Award, the Dalice Miller Hertzberg Award, and the Barbara A. Quarantillo Award.
The Senior Instructor of Distinction Award was awarded to Tami Kephart, CPNP (Senior Instructor, Section of Hematology, Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplantation) and Naomi Miyazawa, PA-C (Senior Instructor, Section of Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine). Kephart and Dr. Miyazawa were recognized for service and dedication to the Department of Pediatrics as clinicians, teachers, and leaders.
The Hertzberg Award, which recognizes a Senior Instructor for contributions to community outreach and community support in volunteer capacities outside of the work place, was awarded to Suzanne Paul, MSN, FNP-C (Senior Instructor, Section of Infectious Diseases).
The Quarantillo Award, which honors an outstanding Senior Instructor with five or more years of service for contributions and recognition in their field, was awarded to Maria Frid, PhD (Senior Instructor, Section of Critical Care) and Mary Gabriel, MSN, PNP (Senior Instructor, Section of General Pediatrics).
Congratulations to our Senior Instructor awardees for their accomplishments and well-earned recognition!
Fry Secures Cancer Moonshot Initiative Funding
Terry Fry, MD (Professor of Pediatrics, Hematology and Immunology, Co-Director, Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative), has been awarded a 5-year, $4 million Research Project Cooperative Agreement (U01) award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The funding for Dr. Fry and his colleagues is part of the NCI Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network. The Network is associated with the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative that is intended to accelerate cancer research. Its goal is to identify and advance research opportunities for translating immunotherapy concepts for children and adolescents with cancer toward clinical applications.
Dr. Fry aims to advance chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy in high-risk pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Pediatric leukemia is often characterized by overexpression of receptors for cytokines, that are critical for leukemia aggressiveness and progression. The overall goal of these studies is to identify successful combinatorial immunotherapeutic approaches to mitigate now-known resistance mechanisms of kinase signaling and antigen escape that are translatable to the clinic for early-phase testing in children with high-risk acute leukemia.
Highest Quality Care for the Most Vulnerable Patients
Virtual Pediatric Systems (VPS) is an international database of pediatric critical care units that collect clinical data for purposes of improving quality, benchmarking with peers and establishing best practices. In partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association, the VPS community includes over 135 participating hospitals and access to over one-million PICU cases. On the most recent VPS Comparative Effectiveness and Operations Report, evaluating data for the 2-year period April 2016 to March 2018, the Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) was once again among the best in the nation.
When considering risk-adjusted mortality (effectiveness) and risk-adjusted length of stay (efficiency), our PICU team results demonstrated better patient survival at a lower cost than expected given the complexity of this severely ill patient population. On one key metric, the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) which compares predicted to actual mortality, the CHCO PICU ranks first among its entire peer group. In other words, “CHCO PICU patients are sicker but survive at a higher rate than most of our peers,” per Todd Carpenter, MD (Professor, Section of Critical Care Medicine and PICU Medical Director).
These tremendous results demonstrate the dedication to quality and safety among the entire PICU team in caring for some of our most vulnerable patients.
New NIH Award Focuses on Childhood Obesity
Congratulations to Karim El Kasmi, MD, PhD and Jacob Friedman, PhD (Professor, Section of Neonatology) for their new award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) titled, “Discerning the influence of maternal obesity, weight gain, and diet on the infant microbiota and programming of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.”
This $300,000 award will further research on maternal obesity and the increased risk for childhood obesity and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Their study seeks to determine how the unique infant microbiome composition found in infants born to mothers with maternal obesity, excess gestational weight gain, or gestational diabetes mellitus may promote weight gain and the early onset of the chronic low-grade inflammation including NAFLD. The study will further evaluate whether a dietary intervention during pregnancy can promote healthier outcomes in children.
Cystic Fibrosis Center Recognized for Comprehensive, High Quality Care
According to Scott Sagel, MD, PhD (Professor, Section of Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine of Pediatrics, Director, Cystic Fibrosis Center), the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado has been granted continued accreditation from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Center Committee.
A rigorous review process that includes a peer site visit, accreditation insures that the Center provides a consistently high standard of care, combining clinical research with medical care best practices. As part of the accreditation review process, the Foundation has recommended the CHCO Cystic Fibrosis Center for a Quality Care Award. These awards recognize accredited care centers that have continuously demonstrated a commitment to improving the quality of care they provide to people with cystic fibrosis. To receive this honor, Centers must excel at several quality improvement performance standards including, actively involving patients and families in identifying, designing, or implementing improvement efforts, employing innovative strategies to improve care processes and outcomes, and implementing system changes that result in high reliability of care processes.
Congratulations to the Cystic Fibrosis Center team on achieving continued accreditation and for their outstanding efforts to improve care for individuals with Cystic Fibrosis.
Advocacy for Child Health
A cornerstone of the shared mission between the Department and Children’s Hospital Colorado is advocacy to improve the health of children. In a recent guest editorial in the Denver Post, Meghan Treitz, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of General Pediatrics) makes the compelling case for maintaining access to child health financial assistance programs such as Colorado Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) regardless of immigration status.
As President of the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Treitz is a leading advocate for public health programs that give every child the opportunity for a healthy, successful life.
Faculty Interest Group Updates
On Friday, September 21, the Junior Faculty Interest Group (JFIG) held their Biannual Retreat at the Denver Zoo. Twenty-seven junior faculty attended the half-day event, learning about Department finances, promotions, mentoring, diversity on campus and more. Thank you to the JFIG leadership team and all of the junior faculty who attended this event.
In case you missed the Personal Finance 101 lecture session, the event was recorded and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/Oln7bdOS8zk.
For information on future JFIG and PhDIG events and meetings, please contact Rhonda Buckner in the Office Academic Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As always, for these and other exciting Department of Pediatrics news stories, please visit our Pediatrics News web page.
Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Pediatrics | University of Colorado School of Medicine
Pediatrician-in-Chief | Children’s Hospital Colorado