Christopher Pruitt, M.D., Pediatric Emergency Medicine, has been elected to a second two-year term to the Southern Society for Pediatric Research (SSPR) Executive Council. Dr. Pruitt will serve on the council until February 2019. His responsibilities include mentorship of trainee research, judging for trainee research awards, and conference organization.
UAB will partner with Proton International to bring proton therapy, one of the most technically advanced forms of cancer-killing radiation, to Alabama. Proton therapy delivers a more precise dose of radiation to a tumor and can avoid damage to healthy surrounding tissue better than conventional X-ray radiation. 

“Proton therapy is particularly beneficial for children, as they are especially vulnerable to damage from radiation,” said Alyssa Reddy, M.D., professor of hematology/oncology in the UAB Department of Pediatrics. “Conventional radiation can help cure a child’s cancer, but it carries an increased risk of damage to surrounding tissue. In children, tissue damage, particularly in still-developing organs such as the brain, can leave the child susceptible to myriad health issues that may not emerge for years. Proton therapy offers the opportunity to successfully treat pediatric tumors and minimize the risk for side effects later in life. This will improve the health and quality of life of pediatric cancer survivors, most of whom we expect to live long and productive lives.”

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Daniel Feig, M.D., Ph.D., Pediatric Nephrology, was elected Pediatric Nephrology Subboard Chair of the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). Dr. Feig will serve in this role beginning January 2018 – December 2019, and will serve as immediate past chair from January 2020 – December 2021.

The subboard is responsible for the development of the certifying exams and their analysis. In addition, they will be overhauling the content specification for the exam, which is done in concert with the ACGME and ASPN (American Society of Pediatric Nephrology) Committee of Training Program Directors. Over the next couple of years, the subboard will also be tasked to develop the transition from secured exams to the MOCA program, which includes short quarterly sets of questions with the associated educational material, a program being rolled out for General Pediatrics in 2018.
Due to a heavy increase in respiratory viral illnesses throughout Alabama and the country, Children’s of Alabama has modified its visitation policies for its critical care units till April 1.

Beginning Feb. 16, visitors to the hospital’s critical care units must be at least 12 years of age and symptom-free to visit. This policy includes Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

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The Southern Society for Pediatric Research (SSPR) held its annual conference in New Orleans, LA on Feb. 11-13. Two fellows from our department brought home the two Young Investigators’ Awards. ​Colm Travers, M.D. received the SSPR Clinical Science Young Investigator Award. Aaron Yee, M.D. received the SSPR Basic Science Young Investigator Award.

For more information about these awards, click here.
Children’s of Alabama and UAB have announced the creation, upon University of Alabama System Board of Trustees’ approval, of the Sarah Katherine Bateh Endowed Professorship in Rett Syndrome as a result of a unique collaboration with the family and friends of a young patient battling this neurological condition. Marie and Brian Bateh of Hoover, parents of 7-year-old Sarah Katherine “Suki” Bateh, raised $500,000 to create the first endowed professorship for Rett syndrome at UAB. These funds have been matched by Children’s and UAB to support the future holder of this new position.
Alan Percy, M.D., professor and director of UAB’s Rett syndrome clinic at Children’s, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on this unique developmental disorder that affects one in every 10,000 female births worldwide. Rett syndrome causes severe cognitive impairment, including loss of communication and motor skills, reduced growth and unusual breathing patterns. Percy is also a national leader in pediatric neurology and genetics, and highly regarded as a clinician and research scientist. Working with genetic researcher Huda Y. Zogbhi, M.D., Percy diagnosed the first confirmed case of Rett syndrome in the United States in 1983.

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The Regional Poison Control Center (RPCC) at Children’s of Alabama has launched Poison Perils, a free app that helps identify potentially dangerous plants, snakes, insects and common household items.“Alabama has a rich array of biodiversity, and this app gives parents, grandparents, and caregivers critical information about Alabama’s toxic and poisonous flora and fauna landscape,” said Ann Slattery, managing director of the RPCC at Children’s.

Poison Perils provides users with a detailed description of each insect, animal and plant, as well as the most common household items the RPCC receives calls about, accompanied by a photo of each. Users can also quickly connect to a specialist in poison information in the RPCC in the event of an emergency with just the touch of a button. Poison Perils is available for both Apple and Android devices.

“In an emergency, time is precious, and with this app, parents and caregivers can have information at their fingertips,” Slattery said.

The RPCC handles more than 50,000 poison calls per year, plus an additional 60,000 follow-up calls. The app was developed with support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, UAB and Children’s.

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Children’s of Alabama and the Kaul Pediatric Research Institute (KPRI) are pleased to announce the 2017 awards. The major goal of the KPRI grant program is to allow investigators to obtain data that will advantage applications for additional extramural funding. This will bring new knowledge to the care of children, leverage the investment of the KPRI, and allow projects to be competitive for the very best science on the national stage. A second, but important, goal is to ensure that a dedicated funding source is available to unique segments of the pediatric research, education, and quality improvement enterprise.

This year three categories of grants were funded: New Investigator Awards, Established Investigator Awards, and Quality/Safety/Educational Awards. All funded applications are directed toward the improvement of child health care. Thank you to all who submitted applications! Congratulations to the following awardees. 

New Investigator Awards:

Matthew Alexander, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Pediatric Neurology
“Genetic modifiers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy via genome sequencing of discordant siblings”

Margaux Barnes, Ph.D.Assistant Professor
Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition
“Mediational Analysis of Diet, Physical Activity, and Lean Mass in Youth with IBD”


Jegen Kandasamy, M.D.
Assistant Professor

“Mitochondrial Genetic Contribution to Hyperoxia Induced Lung Injury”

Charitharth (Vivek) Lal, M.D.Assistant Professor
“The Role of Microbiome Induced Ac-PGP in Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia”

Colin Martin, M.D.Assistant Professor
Pediatric Surgery
“Maternal and Environmental Influence on Early Neonatal Immunity”


Michael Seifert, M.D.Assistant Professor
Pediatric Nephrology
“Maternal and Environmental Influence on Early Neonatal Immunity"

Established Investigator Awards:

Elizabeth Beierle, M.D.
Pediatric Surgery
“Role of PIM kinase in maintaining hepatoblastoma tumor initiating cell population”

Karen Fowler, Ph.D.
Pediatric Infectious Diseases
“Racial & ethnic disparities in congenital CMV infection: role of maternal CMV”

Quality/Safety/Educational Awards:

David Galloway, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition
“Improving Care for Pediatric Constipation: A joint effort between pediatricians and gastroenterologists” 

Chrystal Rutledge, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Pediatric Critical Care 
“Development of a Novel Nursing-Focused Pediatric Advanced Life Support Training Program”

In observance of Rare Disease Day, YOU’RE INVITED to an art exhibit reception! "Beyond the Diagnosis" will take place Thursday, March 2 from 5 - 7 p.m. in the Bradley Lecture Center. Please drop by at any time. Click here for the art exhibit invitation

Please also join us on the following day, Friday, March 3, for the Fourth Annual Rare Disease Genomics Symposium. Register here for the symposium:
New research from the UAB Department of Pediatrics (Drs. Smita Bhatia and Wendy Landier) suggests that young patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and their parents are likely to report to their physician that they took more of their anti-cancer medication than they actually did. The study was published online this week in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

“Because this therapy is administered orally every day, we cannot supervise our patients to make sure they are taking their pills,” said senior study author Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., Pediatric Hematology & Oncology.  “Findings from this study suggest that we need better ways to monitor intake of medications as prescribed.”

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