DCH News

Physician Recognition

Driscoll surgeon addresses causes of obesity, offers weight-loss strategies in new book

October 29, 2013
Emran
Emran
CORPUS CHRISTI - Mohammad A. Emran, MD, board-certified general and pediatric surgeon at Driscoll Children's Hospital, recently authored a book to help his patients and their families in their everyday battle against obesity. In "Fast-Track Your Health," Dr. Emran offers advice and insight to those who've had unsuccessful weight-loss attempts or are looking for the knowledge that can lead them to success.

"Obesity is one of the biggest healthcare problems in this country, and it affects every system in the body," Dr. Emran said. "There are a lot of myths and bad influences out there that are working against people trying to live healthier lives. My book focuses on what causes obesity and offers strategies so people can succeed."

Dr. Emran's book, to be released in November, details his personal experiences with patients and with his own family to illustrate the techniques for effective weight loss. They include:

Identifying the common factors shared by people who have succeeded in losing weight.
Avoiding the common difficulties that can prevent weight loss.
Discovering why it's best not to focus on any specific diet or type of exercise.
Organizing their process of weight loss and weight maintenance.
Maintaining hope despite the problems they might have previously experienced.

Dr. Emran is the director of Driscoll Children's Hospital's Adolescent Weight Management Program. He is also the founder of the not-for-profit SpringCure Foundation (www.springcurefoundation.com), which is committed to eliminating childhood obesity and improving childhood nutrition and fitness. Dr. Emran has years of experience addressing the challenges of excess weight and the common failure of weight-loss efforts, and he has helped many patients by teaching them the essential factors that lead to lasting success.

Driscoll study on human bocavirus receives international attention

October 24, 2013
Dr. Na Liu presented the poster, 'Hospital Course and Risk Factors in South Texas Children Infected with Human Bocavirus (HBoV),' Oct. 4 in San Francisco.
Dr. Na Liu presented the poster, 'Hospital Course and Risk Factors in South Texas Children Infected with Human Bocavirus (HBoV),' Oct. 4 in San Francisco.
CORPUS CHRISTI - A study by Driscoll Children's Hospital resident physicians Na Liu, MD, and Karla Araujo, MD, laboratory managers Kevin Richman, BS, MT, and Charles Raven, BS, MT, and Infectious Diseases director Jaime Fergie, MD, was recently presented at a meeting of scientists from around the world. Dr. Liu presented "Hospital Course and Risk Factors in South Texas Children Infected with Human Bocavirus (HBoV)," on a poster Oct. 4 in San Francisco during IDWeek, a joint international meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

The study is significant because the human bocavirus in children is just beginning to be understood, said Dr. Fergie, a Fellow of the IDSA.

"The human bocavirus is a newly recognized respiratory pathogen that was discovered in 2005. It is the fifth most frequent cause of respiratory infection in children and it can cause disease throughout the year, although most infection occurs during the fall and winter. Children (in the study) developed symptoms of a common cold but some developed more severe infections such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia that required hospitalization."

Driscoll resident receives Maternal and Child Health Scholarship

October 22, 2013
Adepoju
Adepoju
CORPUS CHRISTI - Oluwarotimi "Timi" Adepoju, MD, a second-year resident physician at Driscoll Children's Hospital, is one of 23 residents chosen to receive the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2013 Maternal and Child Health Scholarship. The $500 scholarship enables Dr. Adepoju to attend the AAP's National Conference and Exhibition Oct. 26-29, 2013, in Orlando, where he will attend medical education sessions on maternal and child health issues.

Harper recognized for contributions to child abuse pediatrics

August 27, 2013
Harper
Harper
CORPUS CHRISTI - The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recognized Nancy Harper, MD, FAAP, medical director of the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital, for her participation as a member of the planning group for PREP®: CAP An Update of Child Abuse Pediatrics, held in Norfolk, Va., July 11-14, 2013.

A continuing medical education activity, PREP®: CAP is a comprehensive update of child abuse pediatrics that emphasizes the process of evidence-based clinical decision-making and focuses on the scientific basis for the clinical practice of pediatric medicine. Member contributions to this educational effort are recognized as a gift to the improvement of care for infants, children and adolescents.

"The Academy is a top provider of quality Pediatric Continuing Medical Education," said Robert Perelman, MD, FAAP, director of the AAP Department of Education. "It is through the continued commitment of outstanding members, like Dr. Harper, that enables the Academy to accomplish the excellence in education that has become our goal of achievement."

Driscoll resident leads book drive for young clinic patients

May 13, 2013
At the book delivery to Amistad Community Health Center May 1 were (from left): Driscoll resident Shuya Wu, MD, PhD; Diana Chavez, Amistad receptionist; Victoria Vidaurre, certified medical assistant (CMA) at Amistad; Julie Flores, CMA at Amistad; Joe Flores, Amistad chief financial officer; Stacy Samples, CMA at Amistad; Stephanie Kanapaux, Amistad receptionist; Jamie Flores, CMA at Amistad; Rose Garcia, Amistad receptionist; Lori Anderson, MD, Amistad pediatrician; and Driscoll resident Shaye Walston, DO.
At the book delivery to Amistad Community Health Center May 1 were (from left): Driscoll resident Shuya Wu, MD, PhD; Diana Chavez, Amistad receptionist; Victoria Vidaurre, certified medical assistant (CMA) at Amistad; Julie Flores, CMA at Amistad; Joe Flores, Amistad chief financial officer; Stacy Samples, CMA at Amistad; Stephanie Kanapaux, Amistad receptionist; Jamie Flores, CMA at Amistad; Rose Garcia, Amistad receptionist; Lori Anderson, MD, Amistad pediatrician; and Driscoll resident Shaye Walston, DO.
Giving back 'is part of being a member of a community,' she said

CORPUS CHRISTI - In an effort to promote early childhood literacy, Driscoll Children's Hospital senior resident Shaye Walston, DO, recently spearheaded a project to collect children's books for patients at Amistad Community Health Center. Donations skyrocketed, and on May 1, 850 books were delivered to the clinic. They're being given to patients when they arrive for well-child checkups.

"Every book will make a big difference to the child who receives it," Dr. Walston said. "By my calculations, these should last Amistad nearly a year."

The new and gently used books were donated by Driscoll's resident physicians and members of the community, Dr. Walston said. They're suitable for kids 0-18 years old.

"We were very surprised and grateful when Dr. Walston arrived in her car loaded with boxes," said Amistad physician Lori Anderson, MD. "The kids here love to pick out a book to take home after their appointments. All of the books will be enjoyed."

The book drive is part of an advocacy campaign titled "Read, Lead, Succeed" that is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Medical Students, Residents, and Fellowship Trainees (SOMSRFT). Dr. Walston is the outgoing AAP delegate for Driscoll's residency program.

According to the AAP website, "When researching for projects, SOMSRFT executive committee
members learned that one-third of 4th graders read so poorly they cannot complete their schoolwork
successfully and children who are read to regularly are 3-4 times less likely to drop out of school. Statistics like this coupled with recent budget cuts to important programs stood out to the group and inspired everyone to try and make changes."

Dr. Walston, who plans to remain in Corpus Christi and practice as a general pediatrician after graduating from Driscoll's residency program next month, hopes to help future Driscoll residents give back to the community through annual donation drives.

"I think giving back is part of being a member of a community," she said. "Growing up, my parents encouraged us to educate ourselves, and reading was one of the best ways to pass time. To be able to give children a chance to further themselves and find a book to lose themselves in is just a small way to open doors for their future."

Dr. Walston has entered the book drive in a contest among residency programs for their advocacy projects sponsored by the Boston-based organization Reach Out & Read. Projects are graded on a variety of factors and the winning residency program, to be chosen this summer, will receive hundreds of books for the clinic of their choice, she said.


Three Driscoll physicians included on Top Doctors list

February 21, 2013
Samhar Al-Akash, MD, Stephen Almond, MD and Jaime Fergie, MD
Samhar Al-Akash, MD, Stephen Almond, MD and Jaime Fergie, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Three Driscoll Children's Hospital physicians have been included on U.S. News & World Report's list of Top Doctors. Samhar Al-Akash, MD, Stephen Almond, MD and Jaime Fergie, MD were nominated by fellow physicians to be on the list (http://health.usnews.com/top-doctors), which is designed to be a reliable resource for patients and referring physicians.

"First, we want to help consumers find the doctors who can best address their needs," the U.S. News website states. "Second, we want to enlist doctors across the country in sharing their awareness of who among their peers are the most worthy of referral."

Physicians on the Top Doctors list are identified by name, location, hospital affiliation and specialty. Specialties span more than 2,000 diseases, medical issues and procedures.

"I think inclusion on the list is a big positive for Driscoll Children's Hospital as well as myself," said Dr. Almond, a pediatric surgeon who, with Dr. Al-Akash and others, helped launch Driscoll's Kidney Transplant Program in 2007. More than 60 kidney transplants have since been performed at Driscoll.

"It's a reflection of the hospital's administration and governing board because they had the foresight to start the transplant program."

U.S. News determines which physicians qualify as Top Doctors in collaboration with New York City-based Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. Physicians are chosen based on nominations from other doctors and reviews by Castle Connolly's physician-led research team. Any physician may nominate one or more peers, but doctors can't nominate themselves. Physicians can't pay U.S. News or Castle Connolly to be selected as Top Doctors. Hospitals or group practices also can't pay to have their doctors selected.

"It's an honor to be included on this list," said Dr. Fergie, Driscoll's director of Infectious Diseases. "I'm grateful to my colleagues who nominated me and to all those who have supported the research program in Infectious Diseases at Driscoll Children's Hospital. This encourages me to continue serving the children of South Texas."

Harper co-authors article that can help in detection of child abuse

February 05, 2013
Harper
Harper
CORPUS CHRISTI - Nancy Harper, MD, medical director of the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital, co-authored an article in the January 2013 issue of the journal Pediatric Emergency Care that could ultimately help save the lives of abused children. Through an analysis of data collected from examinations of more than 2,000 children, Dr. Harper and her co-authors established that certain X-rays of the hands, feet, spine and pelvis can reveal otherwise hidden abusive injuries and, in turn, lead to the prevention of future injuries. It had been suggested previously that some views of the hands, feet, spine and pelvis should be omitted from routine skeletal examinations, called skeletal surveys, because fractures are rarely found.

"We determined that if special views of these areas had been omitted, a significant number of occult, or hidden, abusive fractures would have been missed," Dr. Harper said. "Missing abusive injuries may place a child at risk for further abusive injury and death."

The article by Dr. Harper and her colleagues, titled "Prevalence of Abusive Fractures of the Hands, Feet, Spine, or Pelvis on Skeletal Survey: Perhaps 'Uncommon' Is More Common Than Suggested," can be found at www.pec-online.com. The group's conclusions came after they analyzed data collected from the Examining Siblings To Recognize Abuse (ExSTRA) research network. The data, based on skeletal surveys from 2,049 children, showed that 23 percent of them had at least one previously unknown fracture in the initial skeletal survey. When fractures are found, the survey is referred to as a positive skeletal survey. Of the children with positive skeletal surveys, 10.4 percent had a fracture to the hands, feet, spine or pelvis.

The surveyed children came from a group of nearly 3,000 who were part of a study by the ExSTRA network between January 2010 and April 2011, Dr. Harper said. They were evaluated by 20 child abuse teams in the United States, including the CARE Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Dr. Harper served as the principle center investigator at Driscoll and Sonja Eddleman, RN, CFN was the center coordinator.

Dr. Harper hopes her research provides guidance to physicians and radiologists in evaluating children for suspected child abuse.

"The detection of occult, or hidden, abusive fractures will likely prevent additional serious or fatal inflicted injury in children," she said.

Dr. Harper co-authored another article on the subject that will be published Feb. 11 on the web site of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/).

In pursuit of excellence, Driscoll residents far outpace total pass rate for American Board of Pediatrics certification

December 20, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital is proud to announce that all of its graduating residents who took the latest American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) certification exam in general pediatrics passed on their first attempt, continuing a trend that surpasses the total annual pass rate. Certification through the exam, administered once a year in October, has one objective - to promote excellence in medical care for children and adolescents.

"ABP certification provides a standard of excellence by which the public can select pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists," according to the ABP. "Although certification is voluntary, nearly all qualified pediatricians seek this recognition."

The ABP certification pass rate for pediatric residents at Driscoll Children's Hospital for the past three years has been 98 percent, ranking them in the top 5 percent of the more than 200 pediatric residency programs in the country, said William Dirksen, MD, Driscoll chief of staff. In contrast, the total pass rate for candidates taking the ABP general pediatrics exam in 2009, 2010 and 2011 was 79.1 percent, 76.1 percent and 75.7 percent, respectively, according to the ABP.

The ABP certification exam is a one-day test given to physicians who have finished three years of pediatric residency training. Physicians must have a valid, unrestricted, permanent medical license to be eligible to sit for the test. Certification is valid for seven years after which physicians must recertify by taking the ABP's Program for Maintenance of Certification in Pediatrics recertification exam.

Here are some additional facts from the ABP:

The ABP has certified 77,328 diplomates in general pediatrics and 14,707 in pediatric subspecialties.

Among the pediatricians who take the ABP test, 66 percent go into general pediatric practice and 24 percent go into pediatric subspecialties.

An average of 3,007 pediatricians take the ABP exam every year. Of these, American medical graduates accounted for 82.5 percent and international medical graduates accounted for 17.5 percent. Gender-wise, 40 percent were males and 60 percent were females.

The total number of pediatric residents currently in training programs in the United States is 9,731.

The average age at the time of ABP certification for pediatricians is 32 years for American medical graduates and about 36 years for international medical graduates.

The success of Driscoll's residency program can be attributed largely to the hospital's governing board, administration, faculty and staff, all of whom are dedicated to fostering excellent pediatricians.

"I have been blessed to have the necessary support to create an environment where aspiring physicians can be trained to become the best pediatricians in the world," Dr. Dirksen said. "Driscoll faculty has been outstanding in their commitment to the teaching and mentoring of our residents."

Hopkins shares facial reconstruction knowledge at conference

October 17, 2012
Hopkins
Hopkins
CORPUS CHRISTI - Kevin S. Hopkins, MD, FACS, Craniofacial/Plastic Surgeon at Driscoll Children's Hospital, was a session moderator and speaker Oct. 5-7 at the 10th Annual International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics and Science (IFATS) 2012 Conference in Quebec City, Canada. The conference focused on scientific studies involving fat and fat-derived stem cells for cutting-edge clinical applications and tissue engineering. Dr. Hopkins presented a clinical paper on his experience using a patient's own fat for reconstructive procedures he has performed on children with congenital craniofacial, cleft lip/palate, burns and traumatic deformities. Dr. Hopkins has been practicing at Driscoll Children's Hospital since 2001.

Almond named president-elect of Transplantation Society

September 21, 2012
Almond
Almond
CORPUS CHRISTI - Stephen Almond, MD, chief of Pediatric Surgery, Urology and Transplantation at Driscoll Children's Hospital, was recently named president-elect of the Texas Transplantation Society (TTS) at their annual meeting in Galveston. The TTS is a professional association founded in 1987 to facilitate transplantation within the state of Texas. Their mission is to advance transplantation and organ donation through education and advocacy with a unified and authoritative voice.