Symposium to Discuss Neonatal Palliative Care

Recognizing that caring for neonates with life-threatening conditions should be an integral part of education for all health professionals, CHOC Children’s will host the second annual Neonatal Palliative Care Educational Symposium on Oct. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

father touching head of a premature baby in a incubator at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in hospital

Designed for neonatologists, critical care specialists, pediatricians, pediatric subspecialists, registered nurses and interdisciplinary team, the conference has a comprehensive curriculum that combines interactive panel discussions, role playing, family interviews and formal didactics.

Decisions pertaining to life-sustaining treatment in children with life-threatening illnesses may still prove contentious, difficult and emotive. To that end, the symposium has a handful of goals for attendees:

  • to improve understanding of the needs of infants and neonates with life-threatening conditions and their families;
  • to help develop an approach that will be appropriate across different communities;
  • to provide care that responds adequately to suffering;
  • to advance strategies that support caregivers and health-care providers; and
  • to promote needed change by cultivating educational programs.

Acknowledging that end-of-life counseling is an essential component of informed consent and comprehensive communication, Medicare supports plans to reimburse doctors for this service in 2016. This will also entail accountability for education and training, so this conference can help doctors meet any new requirements.

California-licensed physicians are required to take, as a one-time requirement, 12 hours of continuing medical education on pain management and the appropriate care and treatment of the terminally ill. This conference can help new pediatricians to claim this credit in one of the few real-time educational sessions in pediatric palliative care on the West Coast.

Learn more about this conference, including tuition, presenting faculty and other topics to be discussed.

CHOC Children’s Participates in California Kids Cancer Comparison Initiative

Dr-Sender-and-Patient
Dr. Leonard Sender with patient at CHOC Children’s

The Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s, under the direction of Dr. Leonard Sender, is a proud partner in the California Kids Cancer Comparison Initiative (CKCC), one of two demonstration projects recently selected by the new California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, a public-private effort launched by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. CHOC patients will become the first in the state to benefit from big data bioinformatics.

CKCC will give cancer clinicians access to a much broader pool of genetic data than has been readily available, including tumor sequencing data from children and adults around the world. Through the use of a social media platform that maintains the privacy and security of patients’ data, clinicians and patients can upload, analyze and communicate genomic information and associated data. In addition to CHOC, the project includes investigators from UC Irvine, UC San Francisco, Stanford University, USC, the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, including UCLA and UC San Diego, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

CHOC’s key contribution to CKCC centers on the clinical trial “Pilot project: Molecular Profiles of Refractory and Recurrent Childhood, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer.” Patients, whose cancer is either recurrent (returned after treatment) or refractory (not responding to treatment), have tumor and non-tumor specimens collected and sequenced to identify their molecular profiles. The information helps the care team personalize treatment plans, in addition to providing insight on why some cancers respond to therapy or recur despite treatment. As a result of CHOC’s participation in CKCC, these patients will become the first in California to benefit from big data comparisons based on the large cancer genomic datasets gathered and shared by the participating sites.

“The Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC made a commitment 10 years ago to invest time and resources in building a strong infrastructure that supports innovative genomic medicine techniques, and we’ve made tremendous progress. The era of precision medicine is here, and we cannot work in isolation. The richer the data, the richer our insight, helping advance clinical leads and new hope for patients and their families,” says Dr. Sender.

Bringing Fertility Preservation to the Forefront of Cancer Treatment

Efforts by the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s to ensure fertility preservation is top of Oncofertilitymind for adolescent and young adult oncology patients, as well as their care providers, were recently profiled by The Huffington Post.

“It is a fundamental right of any individual to be offered fertility preservation,” Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the Cancer Institute told the online news site. “If we, as a society, believe in cancer survivorship, then what we need is for people to have a choice as to if they want to have children or not.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Sender co-hosted a workshop on oncofertility at Stupid Cancer’s CancerCon. The goal was to bring together leading experts on fertility preservation to discuss the need and path forward to make fertility preservation a topic of conversation with every AYA oncology patient undergoing treatment at every pediatric hospital in the country.

Read the full article in The Huffington Post.

2015 CHOC Children’s – UC Irvine Child Health Research Awards

We are pleased to announce that we just completed another round of the CHOC Children’s – UC Irvine Child Health Research Awards, our annual call for proposals that enhance research collaborations between CHOC and UC Irvine and further the Mission, Vision and strategic aims of the CHOC-UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan. Intended to support research and collaboration in targeted areas of research excellence that align research strengths for focused growth and maximal translational impact, our call this year specifically solicited applications for two funding mechanisms, Pilot Collaborative Research Awards and Clinician Investigator Awards.

Child Health Research Award - UC Irvine Infographic

Pilot Collaborative Research Awards are intended to provide funds for collaborative projects in need of initial start-up funding to enable procurement of other independent support. These awards are designed to promote novel, translational research efforts that coalesce talented clinicians and researchers from CHOC and UC Irvine. Projects bring investigators from multiple disciplines from CHOC and UC Irvine together to identify targets for improved diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of a pediatric health problem relevant to the goals of the CHOC-UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan.

Clinician Investigator Awards are intended to provide funds for clinician-investigator initiated projects in need of funding to advance study into a clinically relevant and important topic that has a high likelihood of impacting clinical practice and the positive experience of pediatric/ adolescent patients and their families. Priorities are given to proposals that are closely aligned with the research themes identified in the CHOC – UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan. Projects identify targets for improved diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of a pediatric health problem relevant to the goals of the CHOC-UCI Child Health Research Strategic Plan. Collaborations between CHOC and UCI faculty are strongly encouraged, but not required.

This year we received 18 proposals, an increase of 13% over last year, covering a wide range of topics and specialties. After external academic peer reviews and committee discussions, we decided to fund 6 projects, 3 Pilot Collaborative Research Awards and 3 Clinician Investigator Awards.

Congratulations to the well-deserving recipients of the 2015 awards! They are listed below, in order of award type and Principle Investigator’s last name.

 

Pilot Collaborative Research Awards.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gurpreet Ahuja

Collaborators: Drs. Nguyen PhamKevin Huoh, Naveen Bhandarkar, Carolyn Coughlan, Joon You

Project Title: NIR Imaging of Pediatric Sinuses

 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Tami John

Collaborators: Drs. Lilibeth Torno, Daniela Bota, Grace Mucci, Mary Zupanc, Jack Lin

Project Title: Cognitive Training to Promote Neuroplasticity and Neural Re-circuitry in Chemotherapy

Associated Cognitive Impairment

 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Calvin Li

Collaborators: Drs. John Weiss, Hong Yin, William Loudon

Project Title: A Tunable Engineered Tissue Graft Model for Repair of Traumatic Brain Injury

 

Clinician Investigator Awards

Principal Investigator: Dr. Antonio Arrieta

Collaborators: Drs. Katrine Whiteson, David Michalik

Project Title: Addressing the Fear Factor in Neonatal Serious Bacterial Infections: Distinguishing E Coli From Bacteremia, Urinary Tract Infection, and Bacteremic Urinary Tract Infection in Infants <28 Days vs. >28 Days to 90 Days Old by Pairing E. Coli Genome Analysis with Clinical Data

 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Joanne Starr

Collaborators: Drs. Richard Gates, Sharief Taraman, Mary Zupanc, Paul Yost, Michele Domico, Juliette Hunt, Tammy Yoon, Kimberley Lakes

Project Title: Seizures and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Mild Hypothermic Cardiopulmonary Bypass

 

Principal Investigators: Dr. Sharief Taraman and Ruth McCarty

Collaborators: Drs. William Loudon, Frank Hsu

Project Title: The Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a Complementary Treatment of Pediatric and Young Adults with Post-Concussive Syndrome

CHOC’s PICU Earns Gold Beacon Award for Exceptional Patient Care

CHOC Children's Earns Beacon Award for ExcellenceDid you hear our good news? The dedicated physicians, nurses and staff in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at CHOC Children’s Hospital have earned a gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)!

The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award with gold, silver or bronze designations meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

“The entire team in our pediatric intensive care unit is dedicated to the highest standards of patient safety and care. We are entrusted with caring for some of the sickest and most medically fragile patients, and our goal is to deliver the best possible outcomes for them and their families,” says Melanie Patterson, DNP, MHA, RN, vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer, CHOC Children’s Hospital. “While getting our patients better is our greatest reward, we are truly honored to receive this high distinction from AACN.”

CHOC’s PICU earned a gold award, the highest designation, by meeting the following evidence-based Beacon Award for Excellence criteria: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement.