About Dr. Feaster

Bill Feaster, M.D.
Bill Feaster, M.D.

First, I want to thank everyone I have met during my first few weeks here at CHOC for all of their help getting me “up to speed” on everything going on in this wonderful institution.  I meet new physician colleagues every day and hope to meet as many of you as possible in the coming months.  I won’t be working clinically yet at CHOC until our new ORs open, but will be back at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH), working a couple days a month.  Prior to becoming the CMIO here at CHOC, I was actively practicing pediatric anesthesia at LPCH, and responsible for their perioperative information systems (Surginet).   As additional background, I am boarded in Pediatrics and Pediatric Critical Care (now expired) and spent the first half of my career as an intensivist, so I’m pretty familiar with the clinical activity in a children’s hospital.  I’ve met several of you in my prior roles, and even started my critical care practice in the pulmonary group at Children’s Hospital Oakland with Dr. Nickerson. (Way too many years ago to state!)  In addition, much of my career has be focused on IT, helping implement clinical and administrative systems at several institutions.  I have a great deal of experience with Cerner, and have served as a consultant for them in their perioperative business unit.   Enough about me…now for a brief update…

Next week, we will present you with yet another upgrade of our Cerner EHR (CUBS).  Recently, the look and navigation changed somewhat with the implementation of “Enhanced View” within Powerchart.  That was the prerequisite for moving to the latest code level (2012).  Jumping to this new code was necessary to enable a move to ICD-10 in the near future.  It has some potential new functionality we haven’t yet implemented, so about all you will notice now is a change in color scheme.  If you’re not partial to blue, you may not be thrilled with the change!  Please let me or the CI docs (Drs. Andreef, Chang, Grant and Taraman) know if you have any issues with the new code.  For any significant problems you find, please fill out a help desk ticket.

As we move forward the next few months, 4 new “Nets” will go live to support operations in the new tower.  Stabilizing the existing system before copying in all of the new Nets will require that we severely limit changes to the system.  If you have been eagerly awaiting that specific enhancement you’ve requested, you’ll have to be patient.  We can’t do the testing we need to do and assure that everything is working properly if we keep changing things in our current system.

I hope that I can soon move my focus from operations and opening the tower to future IT development initiatives at CHOC.  The technology world around us is moving to mobile devices, social networking, cloud based computing and the like faster than the medical field and we need to keep pace.  Our patients are getting more web-savvy and are looking for more direct access, we have needs to share information across institutions, we have to continue to improve the care we provide to stay competitive, we need to support research and advance the knowledge in our specialties, etc.  We also need to improve the usability of all the systems we have put into place so that they just facilitate care, not make care more difficult.  The plate will continue to be full as we continue our development in IT, but it will be truely exciting times!  I hope you can enjoy them with me.

My current location is the 8th floor of Centrum in Suite 88O (ISD).  My email is wfeaster@choc.org.  My cell is 714-403-1692.  Feel free to contact me.  Bill Feaster



CHOC ranked as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals

US NewsCHOC has been ranked as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, available today at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals.  CHOC ranked in the following specialties: Cancer; Diabetes & Endocrinology; Gastroenterology; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Orthopedics; and Urology.

“CHOC deserves high praise for its accomplishments,” said Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “CHOC has a reservoir of dedication and expertise that helps the sickest kids.  Our goal at U.S. News is to identify and call attention to pediatric centers like this one.”

For more about this recognition, click here.

The U.S. News honor adds to a growing list of recent accomplishments for CHOC, including:

  • Recognition by the state as a leader in performance excellence with the Gold Level CAPE Award
  • Distinction as the only pediatric hospital on the West Coast to earn the Gold Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence
  • National recognition of CHOC Comprehensive Epilepsy Program as a Level 4 epilepsy center
  • Acknowledgement by the Children’s Hospital Association for improvements in medication safety – the only children’s hospital on the West Coast to be recognized
  • Distinction of earning a $5.5 million research grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Genomic Cancer Research Comes to CHOC

A $10 million donation to CHOC from Hyundai Motor America, the largest corporate gift in the hospital’s history, will be used to fund ground-breaking pediatric cancer research, including the latest advances in genomic medicine. Kim Cripe, CHOC president and CEO, Oscar Leeser, Chairman of the Hyundai Hope on Wheels Foundation, Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC, and John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, gathered for the check presentation in May 2011.

The Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC has enrolled the first patients in a pilot study designed to determine the individual genome profile of a range of pediatric and young adult cancers in the hope of advancing new and more effective treatments for recurrent or refractory disease in this patient population. The commercial availability of cost-effective, whole genome and RNA sequencing technology is making possible the development of individual molecular profiles that one day will allow physicians to “personalize” treatment regimens to target a patient’s specific cancer. Both germ-line and tumor samples from individual patients will be studied.

The results of this pilot study may not have a direct clinical impact, yet genomic medicine promises to take the concept of personalized oncology treatment to unprecedented levels. Molecular profile analysis may ultimately identify oncogenic pathways for which a chemotherapeutic agent already exists or for new ones to be developed.

Phase I Trial for DFMO and Neuroblastoma
Genomic research is just one type of the exciting pediatric cancer studies taking place at CHOC. We are also the only California hospital participating in a four-center, Phase I clinical trial investigating the potential role of alpha–difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) as a chemoprevention agent for refractory or recurrent neuroblastoma. DFMO, a watersoluable drug associated with low toxicity, has already been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. The Phase I study is further assessing toxicity to determine the maximal tolerated dose.

It is essentially a new look at a decades-old drug, which was approved in the 1970s for treating African trypanosomiasis or “sleeping sickness.” But in 2008, research conducted by Frank Meyskens, M.D., director of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Irvine, showed DFMO reduced the risk of recurrent colorectal adenomas by up to 95 percent—and with less toxicity than conventional chemotherapy. In fact, an analysis of side effects and toxicity found no difference between the DFMO and placebo groups.

The current Phase 1 study is testing DFMO as a single agent and in combination with etoposide, a semisynthetic podophyllotoxin-derived antineoplastic agent. According to Leonard Sender, M.D., medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC, DFMO specifically targets ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), a protein found in high levels in neuroblastoma tumor cell lines associated with poor outcomes. Previous studies involving both cell lines and mouse models have shown that DFMO can inhibit ODC levels. The other centers participating in this Phase I study are the University of Hawaii, University of Arizona and the Van Andel Institute.

“We are very proud to be part of this study, working with one of the premiere researchers, and bringing the best of basic science to the bedside of our patients,” Dr. Sender said. “Neuroblastoma is very aggressive. That DFMO may potentially have a role in treating neuroblastoma is very exciting. It would be fantastic to have a drug with a low toxicity profile.”

For more information about cancer research at CHOC, please visit www.choc.org.

In the Spotlight: Burton Willis, M.D. & Harry Pellman, M.D.

About 28 years ago, Fountain Valley pediatricians Burton Willis, M.D., and Harry Pellman, M.D., and others saw the need for local representation at the national level. They petitioned the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to form a new chapter in Orange County, separate from the Los Angeles Chapter.

Their efforts led to the formation of California Chapter 4 in 1986. Still the youngest AAP chapter, this strong, local organization provides evidence-based education, practice support and advocacy on the local, state and national level.

After nurturing the chapter’s development, Dr. Pellman and Dr. Willis remained involved. Among their many notable successes are the consistently high-quality continuing medical education programs offered by the chapter. In October, they once again chaired “Advances in Pediatrics,” an annual program held in conjunction with CHOC and the University of California, Irvine, that is attended by more than 200 physicians.

Improving The Practice of Pediatrics
Dr. Willis and Dr. Pellman met during medical training at the University of Illinois. Years later, they reconnected at a medical conference, and Dr. Pellman joined Dr. Willis at Edinger Medical Group in 1972.

Forty years ago, the Orange County medical landscape was much different. Office visits cost $8, and there usually was no insurance. Dr. Pellman and Dr. Willis were on-call for afterhours neonatal care and emergency room visits. And at that time, CHOC and UC Irvine Medical Center had the only children’s wards and NICUs in Orange County.

In 1973, Dr. Pellman and Dr. Willis helped develop a pediatric service at Fountain Valley Community Hospital, a newly opened hospital near their practice. Next, they were instrumental in starting the first community NICU in the county. They also joined the teaching faculty at UC Irvine, and became involved with CHOC.

“A lot of our friends asked why we were doing all this,” Dr. Pellman said. “We felt for our own education, as well as for the quality in the community, a university affiliation and a children’s hospital were important.”

Dr. Pellman and Dr. Willis have made lasting contributions to the quality of pediatric care provided in Orange County today. So the next time you receive a mailing from California Chapter 4 of the American Academy of Pediatrics, think about them—and think about getting involved.

Pediatricians Harry Pellman, M.D., and Burton Willis, M.D., are in practice at Edinger Medical Group, which has offices in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach. For more information, please call 714-965-2500.

Burton Willis, M.D.
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics

Past President, American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 4

Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UC Irvine

National AAP Involvement: Committee on Development

District IX, AAP Involvement: Past District Chair

Harry Pellman, M.D.
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics

Past President, American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 4

Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UC Irvine

National AAP Involvement: Chapter Coordinator Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) and Chapter Breast Feeding Coordinator. Member of both Infectious Disease and Breastfeeding Sections

Distict IX, AAP Involvement: CME Co-Chairman Chapter Involvement: CME Chairman, Board Member

UCLA, Stanford Gastroenterologists Join CHOC

Anup Patel, M.D. & Jeffrey Ho, D.O.

Two fellowship-trained pediatric gastroenterologists with special interests in hepatology and eosinophil-associated gastrointestinal disorders have joined the CHOC medical staff. Jeffrey Ho, D.O., and Anup Patel, M.D., who trained at the University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University, respectively, provide a full range of pediatric gastroenterology procedures.

Additionally, both physicians have extensive training in liver transplantation. During his fellowship at UCLA, Dr. Ho participated in research identifying the prevalence, risk factors and co-morbidities for obesity in pediatric liver transplant recipients. He is currently interested in bringing Video Capsule Endoscopy to CHOC.

Dr. Patel was a research fellow at the Stanford University Nadeau Lab and continues to have strong interests in eosinophilic esophagitis. During his fellowship, he received the university’s Transplant and Tissue Engineering Endowment and was the Alan M. Krensky Endowed Clinical Fellow.

Appointments are available at CHOC Hospital, CHOC at Mission Hospital and the CHOC Specialty Center at Hoag Health Center.

For more information or to arrange a referral, please call 714-289-4099.

Anup Patel, M.D.
Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Fellowship: Stanford University

Pediatric Residency: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Medical School: Albany Medical College, New York

Board-Eligible: Pediatric Gastroenterology

Board-Certified: Pediatrics

Jeffrey Ho, D.O.
Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Fellowship: University of California, Los Angeles

Pediatric Residency: University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas

Medical School: Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Vallejo

Board Eligible: Pediatric Gastroenterology

Board-Certified: Pediatrics

CHOC Welcomes New Chief Strategy Officer – Elaine Bauer

She began her professional life as a hospital-based medical technologist performing immunopathology research, and advanced into strategic planning and development for three major health systems. Most recently, Elaine Bauer was vice president of strategic initiatives for the Catholic Health Association of the United States, and worked in Washington, D.C., during the healthcare legislation creation process. In becoming CHOC first chief strategy officer, her career has come full circle.

“I wanted to work once again with healthcare delivery at the provider level and join an organization I could help move from ‘good’ to ‘great,’” Bauer said. “My goal is to help ensure CHOC’s future in light of reimbursement and healthcare delivery changes, and the next phase of the pending legislation that is likely to happen.”

Bauer also led strategic planning for Catholic Health East, in Pennsylvania; Sutter Health, in Sacramento; and Sisters of Mercy Health System, in St. Louis. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and has master’s degrees in finance and healthcare management from Webster University, in St. Louis. Her professional activities include teaching and research. She has been an adjunct professor at Immaculata University, near Philadelphia; Golden Gate University, Sacramento; and served as preceptor for administrative fellows and residents from the University of Minnesota, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Southern California.

“Strategic planning has to be a partnership between the physicians and the administrative suite. Physician input is very important—we walk this road together.”

“With the new building project and the recent affiliation with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC is poised to becoming great,” Bauer said. “I am thrilled to be a member of the team that pushes through that last mile.”

Meet Our Chief Residents

Jacqueline Chak, M.D., Georgie Joven Pechulis, M.D., & Geoffrey Kenyota, M.D.

CHOC Chief Residents

Jacqueline Chak, M.D.
Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley
Medical School: Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Future Interests: Hospitalist medicine or general pediatrics and medical missions

Georgie Joven Pechulis, M.D.
Undergraduate: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Medical School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Future Interests: Hospitalist within an academic center

UC Irvine/CHOC Chief Resident

Geoffrey Kenyota, M.D.
Undergraduate: Northwestern University, Chicago
Medical School: SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Future Interests: Hospitalist and resident teaching opportunities

To contact either Dr. Chak and Dr. Pechulis, please call the CHOC chief residency office at 714-532-8547. For Dr. Kenyota, please call the UC Irvine/CHOC residency office at 714-456-5631.

Dr. Waffarn Retires From Clinical Practice

A pioneer in neonatal medicine, Feizal Waffarn, M.D., came to Orange County in 1980, shortly after completing fellowship training at the University of Southern California. At the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Waffarn worked with neonatologist Louis Gluck, M.D., in analyzing the efficacy of surfactant therapy for premature infants with lung disease and helped build that hospital’s NICU into a Level III referral center. In 2001, he became chair of the UC Irvine department of pediatrics and pursued the successful affiliation with CHOC.

Career highlights also include Dr. Waffarn’s work with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County and the NI H National Children’s Study. He is a founding member of the California Association of Neonatologists and represents the perinatal medicine section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 4. Dr. Waffarn has published more than 40 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals.

“Of Dr. Waffarn’s many accomplishments over the past 30 years, perhaps the most enduring legacy will be the CHOC and UC Irvine affiliation,” said Nick Anas, M.D., CHOC Pediatrician-in-Chief. “Dr. Waffarn has also been instrumental in establishing a vision for research and developed a renowned research faculty.”

Dr. Waffarn plans to continue teaching at UC Irvine and abroad. Additionally, he will serve as co-investigator for three NIH research studies and remain involved with global health initiatives for developing countries, including the Southeast Asia Regional Organization, a subsidiary of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Waffarn has played a pivotal role in improving health access and outcomes for the children of Orange County. On behalf of CHOC, we thank him for his tireless dedication and wish him the best in all his future endeavors.

UC Irvine Names Acting Pediatric Chair

Noted pediatric pulmonologist Dan M. Cooper, M.D., is acting chair of the University of California, Irvine, Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Cooper is the founder and director of the UC Irvine Institute for Clinical & Translational Science, which was recently awarded a $20 million Clinical & Translational Science Award from the NIH. This prestigious award will support multidisciplinary research in a wide range of fields, including pediatrics, speeding the transformation of scientific discoveries into medical advances for patients.

Dr. Cooper is also founder and director of the UC Irvine Pediatric Exercise Research Center, which is studying how exercise may help prevent childhood asthma and obesity, and benefit children with chronic asthma, cystic fibrosis, heart disease and diabetes.

Board-certified in pediatric pulmonology, Dr. Cooper is a professor of pediatrics and bioengineering, and associate dean for clinical translational sciences at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. He also serves as a board member of the CHOC Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty.

Message from the Pediatrician in Chief, Nick Anas, MD, Medical Director, CHOC PICU

Nick Anas, PIC

Dear Colleagues,

Nineteen months ago, I was appointed Pediatrician in Chief (PIC) by the CHOC Board of Directors and Executive Management Team. I accepted this responsibility with great pride and with a great sense of purpose. From the onset, I regarded my primary role to strengthen the partnership between CHOC physicians and CHOC Administration.

An important means of achieving this objective was through the creation of the Clinical Leadership Council (CLC). With the responsibility for developing the clinical vision for CHOC, the CLC is rapidly gaining purpose and momentum.

As we prepare for the opening of Tower II in 2013, my responsibility as the PIC is to work with the medical staff and the administration in the enhancement and growth of clinical programs as we continue on the path to becoming a nationally recognized premier children’s hospital.

This blog will keep you informed related to the key initiatives undertaken by both the CLC and by me in my role as PIC.