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Advanced neonatal intensive care. Landmark research. International leadership in improving newborn care.
These are just some of the factors that help make the neonatology program at Cincinnati Children’s the highest-rated in the country, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report.
“We have a remarkable clinical program complemented by a remarkable research program. Both are equally and highly valued,” says James Greenberg, MD, director, Division of Neonatology and co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s.
Our neonatology program is part of the Perinatal Institute, which also includes our Divisions of Perinatal Biology, Reproductive Sciences, Pulmonary Biology, Developmental Biology and the Fetal Care Center of Cincinnati.
The neonatology program has grown dramatically in the past two decades.
When Greenberg joined Cincinnati Children’s in 1991, the medical center had about a dozen neonatologists on staff. The team managed newborn care only at Cincinnati Children’s and University Hospital. Now, the program includes more than 60 physicians who oversee newborn care at 10 area hospitals and three NICUs – expected to grow to 13 hospitals and four NICUs before year’s end.
Today, the neonatology program provides care to more than 18,000 newborns a year, including about 800 critically ill infants that require intensive care.
This unique region-wide network allows Cincinnati Children’s to assure consistent, high-level care for newborns no matter where they are delivered. The large number of families served also offers a powerful and diverse source of medical data for research, Greenberg says.
For the sickest infants, our Level IV Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides around-the-clock care for critically ill newborns and premature infants − some weighing less than a pound. Newborns with rare and complex conditions also arrive here from other states and sometimes other nations to receive advanced surgery and other specialized care. Experts at the Fetal Care Center treat some babies while still in the womb.
The care team also includes highly experienced nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists and other specialty staff.
“Our nurses have vast experience working with even the rarest conditions. That translates into better outcomes,” Greenberg says.
Clinical care and research walk hand-in-hand in our neonatology program. Our scientists are working to uncover the root causes of prematurity, developing new medications to improve survival, and studying ways to assure healthy development.
Greenberg credits Jeffrey Whitsett, MD, co-director of the Perinatal Institute, as the force behind the program’s growth. Whitsett has devoted decades to advancing neonatology and pulmonary medicine as a clinician and a researcher.
“Dr. Whitsett has an extraordinary reputation as a scientist,” Greenberg says. “And few other researchers also demonstrate such a high concurrent commitment to excellent clinical care.”
Three Cincinnati Children’s neonatologists have been named members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences – Whitsett, Alan Jobe, MD, PhD and Uma Kotagal, MBBS, MSc. That’s more than any other center.
Our faculty write chapters for leading textbooks, publish hundreds of research papers, and travel the globe to lecture and consult. The National Institutes of Health invested more than $8 million in neonatal research here in the past year – more than any other neonatology program in the US.
In addition to patient care and research, our program is a leading center for training neonatology specialists who go on to practice at other medical centers worldwide.
Clinical guidelines established at Cincinnati Children’s for treating common neonatal conditions such as necrotizing enterocolitis and neonatal hypoglycemia are widely used in the US. Neonatologists here work with the World Health Organization and NIH-sponsored national and international research networks. Our faculty members sit on a wide variety of national medical boards.
No single factor explains the success of the neonatology program at Cincinnati Children’s. Our high score in the U.S. News rankings more likely reflects the cumulative effect of years of growth, high-quality care and contributions to the field.
“It is the collective experience and expertise of the entire institution that makes the No. 1 rating for neonatology possible,” Greenberg says.
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