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Alberto Peña, MD, Earns American Academy of Pediatrics Ladd Medal


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Alberto Peña, MD, director of the Colorectal Center for Children at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, has received the 2008 William E. Ladd Medal from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Ladd Medal represents the highest honor that the AAP’s Section on Surgery bestows on a physician in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of pediatric surgery.

The AAP presented the medal to Dr. Peña at its annual meeting October 10-12, 2008, in Boston.

The Colorectal Center for Children at Cincinnati Children's, which Dr. Peña founded, is the first and only pediatric colorectal center in the world.
"The Ladd Medal is the highest honor given in pediatric surgery in the United States, and Dr. Peña is most deserving,” says Marc Levitt, MD, who trained under Dr. Peña, has worked with him for the past 16 years and now serves as associate director of the Colorectal Center for Children. “The award showcases his commitment to impeccable and innovative surgical technique, incredible devotion to patients and their families, and tireless concern for the education of surgeons, medical doctors, nurses and medical students. He is a true pioneer whose efforts have impacted thousands of lives from all corners of the globe."

Dr. Peña received his medical degree at the Military Medical School in Mexico City in 1962. He trained in general surgery and medical pediatrics at the Central Military Hospital, finishing in 1968. From 1969 until December 1971, he completed a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Boston Children's Hospital with Robert Gross, M.D., a trainee of Dr. Ladd. Dr. Peña moved back to Mexico City as the surgeon-in-chief of the National Institute of Pediatrics from January 1972 until June 1985.

It was there, in 1980, that Dr. Peña described a new approach for the surgical management of anorectal malformations – the Posterior Sagittal Anosplasty, also known as the Pull-Through Procedure. Over the last 25 years, Dr. Peña's approach has become the internationally accepted surgical standard for anorectal malformations. Since then, Dr. Peña has traveled the world, lecturing and operating on children affected by this particular malformation.

Dr. Peña left Mexico City in 1985, joining the full-time staff at Schneider Children's Hospital in New York, becoming chief of pediatric surgery and professor of surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Surgeons. In 2005 he came to Cincinnati Children’s, where he and Dr. Levitt established the Colorectal Center for Children.

Dr. Peña dedicates his time to the treatment of colorectal problems in children. Seventy percent of the patients on which he operates at Cincinnati Children's come from other states and from around the world. He and Dr. Levitt have operated on and follow patients from 79 countries around the world, as well as patients from 48 states and Washington, D.C.

Pediatric surgery, as we know it today, began with Dr. William E. Ladd, who also at one time practiced gynecology. During World War I, an explosion of an ammunition ship occurred in Halifax Harbor, and many children were injured. Dr. Laddwas among the volunteer surgeons who went to Halifax. It was there that he made the decision to practice only pediatric surgery, having been involved in the care of many of those injured children.

Dr. Ladd studied the various surgical problems of infants and children and meticulously analyzed the results of their treatment. In 1941he emphasized that children should not be treated as little adults,that their problems are different and that the best care for children is given by those who make it their life's work. He is viewed as the father of pediatric surgery in the United States.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of America’s top three children’s hospitals for general pediatrics and is highly ranked for its expertise in digestive diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care and neurosurgery, according to the annual ranking of best children's hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. One of the three largest children’s hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children’s is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

For its achievements in transforming healthcare, Cincinnati Children's is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases, so that children with the most difficult-to-treat diseases and conditions receive the most advanced care leading to better outcomes.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656, jim.feuer@cchmc.org