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Research Achievement Award
In just three years since joining our faculty, Saima Riazuddin, PhD, MPH, MBA, has established a new research program, obtained two R01 grants from the NIH and published 23 papers. Her research into deafness and hearing loss are at the forefront of her field, with projects ranging from zebrafish studies to human molecular analysis. Riazuddin’s most recent work has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics and she has been invited to speak nationally and internationally. Riazuddin has been honored by the American Society of Human Genetics and Islamic World Academy. She also participates in NIH study sections, serves on the editorial board for the Conference Papers in Molecular Biology and is the editor of a book to be published this year on inner ear development and hearing loss. With an already impressive list of significant research findings, publications and funding, Riazuddin promises to make important and lasting contributions to the understanding of childhood hearing loss.
Our understanding of the incredibly complex processes at work in human development has been greatly advanced by the outstanding career of Christopher Wylie, PhD. His contributions over nearly 40 years include landmark discoveries about howthe germ layer forms and how germ cells migrate; how cell shape and rigidity can direct tissue and organ development; and how the body repairs vertebrae and tendons. Wylie has authored more than 170 peer-reviewed papers and founded the journal Development. He sits on several scientific councils and has served as president of the Society for Developmental Biology. But Wylie’s achievements go well beyond his own research contributions. He has recruited and mentored a remarkable group of scientists who have become internationally recognized in their own right. Wylie’s collegial leadership style and vision of linking basic science to clinical applications has led to strong collaborations between the Developmental Biology team and Cincinnati Children’s surgeons and clinicians.
Mentoring Achievement Award
If the success of a mentor is best measured through the achievements of those they guide, Melissa Klein, MD, MEd, has been an “off the charts” success. Klein has guided and advised faculty, fellows and residents during her career at Cincinnati Children’s. She currently serves as the primary residency and career mentor for 20 residents a year. The students she advises have assumed leadership roles in hospital medicine at Cincinnati Children’s, secured multi-million-dollar grants for the medical center, developed programs to improve care for underserved children and have co-authored a number of peer-reviewed publications. Klein has served as a mentor in the Academic Pediatric Association’s Educational Scholarship Program, has authored or co-authored 10 publications about graduate medical education and was a driving force in launching the new General Pediatric Master Educator fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s. She serves as an ideal role model for young physicians learning to balance career and family life. Her guidance and support have helped many residents go on to successful careers in academics, subspecialty training and private practice.
From high school summer interns to scientists at all stages of their careers, Sandra Degen, PhD, has been an outstanding mentor to a generation of faculty and trainees. Since 1998, Degen has served as Associate Chair for Academic Affairs, a role in which she oversees the reappointment, promotion and tenure process for 650 faculty members of the Department of Pediatrics. She also mentors new division directors, junior faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students. Degen has long championed the role of women in academic medicine. She founded the Schmidlapp Women’s Scholars Program in 1998, which provides early funding for the research of some of Cincinnati Children’s most promising faculty. Each year, she identifies candidates for the national Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, which trains women for leadership roles; Degen herself was one of the first fellows in this program. Degen has long worked to maintain a strong relationship between Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati (UC). Among her roles, she served as UC’s vice president of research from 2004 to 2011 and currently serves as interim chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology. Her dedication to the pursuit of science and to guiding others along the way has helped shape the successful research careers of countless individuals in Cincinnati and around the world.
Educational Achievement Award
With new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) standards limiting duty hours for medical residents, the art of handing a patient off to a fresh shift of doctors and nurses soon needs to become a science. Jennifer O’Toole, MD, MEd, has been a leading force in adapting to these new standards, at Cincinnati Children’s and nationwide. She serves as the site principal investigator for the I-PASS study, evaluating handoff procedures among more than 600 residents in 10 programs nationwide. In the past year, O’Toole has trained more than 185 residents, 30 faculty and 20 nurse practitioners in the I-PASS program. The educational materials she has developed for the program have been requested by more than 200 healthcare centers. O’Toole also leads a six-center study that will track the impact I-PASS training has upon adverse events. In addition to her high-impact work with I-PASS, O’Toole serves as lead inpatient education mentor for the new Master Educator fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s.
Hundreds of pediatricians around the world — and the thousands of children each has served — have benefitted from the guiding hand of Javier Gonzalez del Rey, MD, MEd. Those who have trained with him know Gonzalez del Rey as an enthusiastic mentor, innovative educator and consummate role model. In his 12 years as Director of the Residency Program, he has forged one of the nation’s most sought-after pediatric residencies. Gonzalez del Rey has received numerous awards for his efforts, including multiple Golden Apples from the University of Cincinnati and the 2007 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” Award. He has held several national leadership roles and currently serves on the board of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors and the executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Gonzalez del Rey also has promoted Cincinnati Children’s educational mission internationally, recruiting residents from Spain, the Dominican Republic and several nations in South America.
The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati has long been vital to recruiting and training outstanding physician scientists at our institutions. When the program began to falter, Gurjit K. Khurana Hershey, MD, PhD, stepped up to restructure and to breathe new life into this important graduate education program for our MD/PhD students. Hershey assumed leadership, restored collaborative relations with the University of Cincinnati and gained renewed faculty support from multiple departments to support the program. She led the rewriting of a grant application to the NIH to re-establish funding for the program. Although the grant proposal is still pending, Hershey’s work has reenergized an important part of our graduate education mission. Beyond her work with the MSTP, Hershey has been a leader in promoting the understanding of asthma, allergy and environmental health in our community. She engages policy makers, industry and parents in these efforts, educating them about the impact of air pollution, mold and other allergens on children’s health, especially in inner-city environments.
Clinical Care Achievement Award
If it is late in the evening and you see a busy surgeon patiently answering every question worried parents might have about their child, that surgeon is likely to be Junichi Tamai, MD. Since joining Cincinnati Children’s as an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in surgery of the hip and lower extremities, Tamai has demonstrated an exceptional dedication to patients and parents, despite a consistently high volume of cases. Tamai was instrumental in developing an orthopaedic team service to ensure the best care for patients. Colleagues say that when they travel out of town, they have no concerns when Tamai is covering their cases. In fact, they often return to case notes so complete that they include a child’s hobbies, personal likes and dislikes. Needless to say, families whose children are fortunate enough to have Tamai as their surgeon cannot say enough good things about him. Junichi Tamai embodies the principles of exceptional clinical care with the family at the center of the care plan.
The emergence of Cincinnati Children’s as one of the nation’s leading centers for pediatric liver transplants can be traced to the vision, leadership and skills of Frederick Ryckman, MD, who co-founded the program in 1986 with William Balistreri, MD, and performed the program’s first 100 transplants. Ryckman performed our first living-donor transplant and made Cincinnati Children’s the nation’s second center to perform a reduced-size liver transplant. Since 1986, the liver transplant program has grown into a team of outstanding surgeons and clinicians who have performed more than 530 transplants. In addition to these accomplishments, Ryckman introduced the ECMO program at Cincinnati Children’s, which saved the lives of hundreds of infants with complex pulmonary and cardiac problems. For the past nine years, Ryckman also has been the driving force in making Cincinnati Children’s an international leader in safety improvement. Countless surgical and medical errors have been averted, and untold millions of dollars saved, thanks to his emphasis on situational awareness. His expert surgical skills, understanding of systems management and dedication to training have earned Ryckman the respect and admiration of all who know him.
Service & Advocacy Award
Children worldwide have Marilyn Goske, MD, to thank for reducing their exposure to radiation during X-rays and other imaging procedures. In 2007, during her tenure as president of the Society for Pediatric Radiology, Goske founded the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging. She worked with the Alliance to launch the worldwide “Image Gently” campaign, a movement to ensure safer, child-size doses of radiation when performing imaging procedures with children. The Alliance has grown to include 71 member organizations and nearly 18,000 healthcare providers have pledged to “image gently.” The minimal-dose guidelines that Goske helped create have been translated into 16 languages. Her tireless advocacy also pushed equipment manufacturers to begin providing more reliable dosing measures for pediatric imaging. Goske’s involvement in and work on behalf of “Image Gently” has helped speed the adoption of safer imaging guidelines and spared countless children the risk of exposure to unnecessarily high doses of radiation.
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
As Cincinnati Children’s leads the way in urging radiologists to “Image Gently” by reducing radiation exposure when imaging children, David Larson, MD, MBA, has developed the technology to help achieve this important goal. Larson is the principal architect of “Guidance,” a system that monitors CT scans slice-by-slice to achieve high image quality at the lowest, safest, patient-sized radiation dose. This impressive system, already in place at Cincinnati Children’s, can monitor all CT scanners in a hospital or practice network regardless of the scanners’ manufacturer. No similar product exists on the market. Working with our Center for Technology Commercialization, Larson has obtained patent protection for “Guidance” and has licensed further development to Toronto-based Radimetrics. The company will premiere the product at the next meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Larson’s foresight in identifying a need and developing an innovative solution with such a wide-scale potential impact embodies the spirit of medical entrepreneurship here at Cincinnati Children’s.
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
Few scientists at Cincinnati Children’s embody the entrepreneurial spirit better than Prasad Devarajan, MD. His innovative research and institutional leadership have contributed greatly to the medical center’s financial health. Devarajan’s discovery that the protein neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is an early biomarker of acute kidney injury has resulted in eight US patents so far and more than $450,000 in licensing and royalty income. His leadership helped Cincinnati Children’s become an NIH Center of Excellence in Nephrology in 2012, providing $4 million over five years to support an expansion of research and clinical work in three major areas of kidney disease. Because of Dr. Devarajan’s leadership, two laboratories have emerged as important resources for the community and the medical center. The Nephrology Clinical Laboratory has become a national leader in performing tests for kidney injury and kidney disease, generating $1.5 million in annual income. Our expanded Biomarker Core Lab performs 30,000 assays a year and now generates $250,000 in net income. Devarajan’s innovative thinking and collaborative leadership style have helped create one of the nation’s leading centers for treating pediatric kidney disease.
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