News & Events

  • American Family Children's Hospital Turns 10

    In August 2017, American Family Children's Hospital – a place that has played a key role in the lives of thousands of children - joined the 10-year-old birthday club.

    Incredibly, a decade has passed since about 50 hospitalized kids were transported from the old University of Wisconsin Children's Hospital (located inside University Hospital) to a modern, state-of-the-art facility made possible through much persistence and an unbelievably generous amount of community support.

    Quality pediatric care has always been a hallmark of UW Health, but it wasn't very long ago that its children's hospital left something to be desired in terms of space and amenities. Prior to the 2007 opening of American Family Children's Hospital, UW's 61 pediatric inpatient rooms were private but cramped – about the size of a nice walk-in closet. Parents typically slept in reclining chairs or cots, while "special touch" amenities to help make life in the hospital a little easier were sparse.

    After some collaborative discussions, Madison-based American Family Insurance in 2003 provided the catalyst to turn what seemed like a distant hope into reality by announcing a $10 million naming gift to build a world-class children's hospital that would be separate from - but connected to - University Hospital in Madison. 

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  • Study: Early Farm Exposure Mitigates Respiratory Illnesses, Allergies and Skin Rashes

    James Gern, MD
    James Gern, MD
    Christine Seroogy, MD
    Christine Seroogy, MD

    Exposure to dairy farms early in life may dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of respiratory illnesses, allergies and chronic skin rashes among young children, according to a collaborative study by Dr. Christine Seroogy, Dr. James Gern and researchers at the Marshfield Clinic.

    “Seeing decreased allergies in farm-exposed children from the Marshfield area is in agreement with similar findings in Western Europe that found farm exposure is linked to allergic disease and wheezing illnesses,” said Seroogy. “But this is the first study to show an association between farm exposure and reduced medically-attended respiratory illnesses.”

    The study, published online by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was conducted in the Marshfield Epidemiologic Study Area. It compared 268 children ages five to 17 who lived on a dairy farm from birth to five years to 247 children who live in a rural area but never lived on a farm. The study included the use of questionnaires and review of electronic medical records.

    Conditions that were significantly less common in farm-exposed children were allergic rhinitis or hay fever (17 percent compared to 28 percent) and eczema (7 percent versus 19 percent). The study found children born onto dairy farms had much less severe respiratory illnesses during the first two years of life (16 percent in farm infants compared to 31 percent in non-farm infants.)

    “These findings suggest that environmental exposures or other elements of the farming lifestyle help kids to be resistant to both allergies and viral respiratory illnesses,” said Gern.

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  • American Family Children's Hospital First in Wisconsin to Offer Newly-Approved CAR-T Leukemia Therapy

    Posted: August 2017
    Christian Capitini, MD
    Christian Capitini, MD

    A unique new therapy for children and young adults with a particular form of leukemia received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval on August 30, 2017. American Family Children's Hospital will be one of a handful of certified treatment centers nationwide that offer the treatment, another example of personalized medicine.

    Known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy, Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) was approved to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that has resisted other treatment or has relapsed a second time. CAR-T cell therapy engineers a child's immune cells (called T-cells) to express a CAR to attach to and eliminate those leukemia cells that express a specific antigen on their cell surface.

    The extracted T-cells are sent to a processing center where they are reprogrammed to express the receptor, and then shipped back to American Family Children's Hospital for infusion into the child with relapsed leukemia. The collection of the patient’s T-cells and the infusion of the CAR-T cells are both outpatient procedures.

    American Family Children's Hospital was one of a small number of sites that conducted clinical trials for CAR-T cell therapy. One patient has been in "deep remission" for several months, according to site principal investigator Dr. Christian Capitini.

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  • Dr. Elizabeth Cox, Collaborators Receive PCORI Funding to Improve Intimate Partner Violence Screening

    Posted: August 2017
    Elizabeth Cox, MD, PhD
    Elizabeth Cox, MD, PhD

    Elizabeth Cox, MD, PhD, in collaboration with partners from the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence and West Virginia University, recently received approval for a Pipeline to Proposal Tier II award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

    This award through PCORI’s Pipeline to Proposal Awards program will support the West Virginia Asking Women About Relationship Experiences (AWARE) Collaborative for Intimate Partner Violence Screening.

    Although 7 million U.S. women experience intimate partner violence (IPV), only 3-10% of IPV victims are identified by healthcare professionals due to low screening rates. These rates are especially low in underserved rural areas due to geographic and social isolation.

    The West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence will lead this project to transform the healthcare system’s response to intimate partner violence.

    Read more on the Health Innovation Program website.

     
  • Dr. Christine Seroogy and Colleagues Receive UW-Madison Community-University Partnership Award

    Posted: July 2017

    In recognition of their efforts to improve the health of Plain families in Wisconsin, Christine Seroogy, MD, and colleagues on the Wisconsin Plain Community Project received a 2017 UW-Madison Community-University Partnership Award from Chancellor Rebecca Blank on June 28, 2017.

    The award recognizes the work of UW-Madison faculty, staff, students---and their community partners across Wisconsin---as they address pressing public issues in Madison and the region.

    Founded in 2012 as a collaboration between the La Farge Medical Clinic (medical director: James DeLine, MD) and Department of Pediatrics faculty, the Wisconsin Plain Community Project aims to improve access to culturally sensitive, high-quality, affordable care for Plain families.

    In 2015, Dr. DeLine founded the Center for Special Children as a dedicated space within the clinic for the care of children with genetic conditions. This achievement represented the culmination of the collaboration’s vision.

    The collaboration has continued to improve the health of Plain children in Wisconsin, and has also translated to biomedical research projects, informed approaches to medical care for all children, and improved the educational experience of students on campus.

    Dr. Seroogy and colleagues receive a UW-Madison Community-University Partnership Award

    Back row, from left: Murray Katcher, MD (UW Department of Pediatrics); Christine Seroogy, MD (UW Department of Pediatrics); Gregory Rice, MD (UW Department of Pediatrics); Jessica Scott-Schwoerer, MD (UW Department of Pediatrics); Jennifer Laffin, PhD, FACMG (UW Department of Pediatrics); Kyle Bakkum (Vernon Memorial Healthcare CEO)

    Front row, from left: Rebecca Blank (UW-Madison chancellor); Mei Baker, MD (UW Department of Pediatrics); Gretchen Spicer (LaFarge Medical Clinic, Vernon Memorial Healthcare); Ellen Wald, MD (UW Department of Pediatrics chair); James DeLine, MD (LaFarge Medical Clinic, Vernon Memorial Healthcare); Ashley Kuhl, MS, CGC (UW Department of Pediatrics); Leslie Orrantia (UW-Madison director of community relations)

    Photo by Bryce Richter, University Communications

     
  • American Family Children's Hospital Ranks Among U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals

    Posted: July 2017

    UW Health's American Family Children's Hospital ranked in the top 50 children's hospitals in six medical and surgical specialties in this year's U.S. News & World Report Best Children's Hospital rankings.

    The children's hospital was named one of the top hospitals for:


    For the first time in the hospital's history, cardiology and heart surgery is ranked among the best programs in the country.

    The rankings are based on data collected from 187 U.S. hospitals in the following categories:

    • Clinical outcomes
    • Level and quality of hospital resources
    • Technology and special services
    • Delivery of health care
    • Expert opinion among pediatric specialists


    Only 81 of the 187 surveyed hospitals were ranked in the top 50 in at least one of the 10 specialties.

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  • Drs. Hollman, Ralphe Receive UW Health Physician Excellence Awards

    Posted: July 2017
    J. Carter Ralphe, MD
    J. Carter Ralphe, MD
    Greg Hollman, MD
    Gregory Hollman, MD

    Two University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics faculty—Gregory Hollman, MD, and J. Carter Ralphe, MD—recently received UW Health Physician Excellence Awards at a ceremony held June 19, 2017, at the Health Sciences Learning Center.

    Dr. Hollman, a professor (CHS) in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care, received a Clinical Practice Physician Excellence Award for his extraordinary commitment to safety and quality patient- and family-centered care. In 1991, he developed the Pediatric Sedation Clinic to serve the needs of children who required MRIs but were unable to hold still for scans; his practice now focuses solely on serving patients in that clinic.

    “Patients and families know him better as ‘Dr. Greg,’ and he treats each patient and family member as if they were his own. He is able to gain their trust even in the most difficult situations,” said UW Health Chief Academic Integration Officer Nizar Jarjour, MD, when presenting him with the award.

    Dr. Ralphe, an associate professor and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, received a Regional Services Physician Excellence Award for providing extraordinary outreach care to patients at neighboring health care facilities in Wisconsin and beyond. He has established the greatest number of outreach sites of any pediatric subspecialty throughout Wisconsin and Illinois and has grown the division from 6 to 12 faculty.

    “Dr. Ralphe has set the standard for customer service and patient- and family-centered care for all as the division that he leads provides 24-7, 365-day access and consultation services with the highest level of service and professionalism,” said UW Health Chief Executive Office Alan Kaplan, MD, when presenting him with the award.

    Drs. Hollman and Ralphe were two of nine physicians overall receiving awards at the ceremony.

    In addition, Pediatrics faculty members Paula Cody, MD, David McCulley, MD, and Jeff Sleeth, MD, were also nominated for Physician Excellence awards.

    Congratulations to all the winners!

    Read more on u-Connect (UW Health employees only).

     
  • Dr. Emma Mohr Receives 2017 PIDS Fellowship Award

    Posted: June 2017
    Emma Mohr, MD, PhD
    Emma Mohr, MD, PhD

    Congratulations to Emma Mohr, MD, PhD, who has received the 2017-2019 Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Award for her work in the "Development of a macaque congenital Zika syndrome model: fetal Zika virus tissue distribution and pathology". The goal of the award is to help increase the pool of highly trained pediatric infectious disease clinical scientists and to stimulate scholarly basic and clinical research in areas pertinent to pediatrics. The award funds research in areas of public health/epidemiology, hospital epidemiology, clinical trials of antimicrobials, outcomes research, pharmacokinetics, pathophysiology, molecular pathogenesis, and vaccinology. 

     
  • Eleven Students and Mentors Chosen by the Shapiro Summer Research Program

    Posted: June 2017

    The following eleven students and their mentors were recently awarded Shapiro Summer Research Awards. The Shapiro Summer Research Program provides opportunities for more than 60 first-year medical students to participate in eight- to 12-week summer research projects with UW-Madison faculty members. First-year medical students apply at the beginning of each calendar year with basic science, clinical, translational, public health, or health systems projects. Funding for the program comes from the Herman and Gwendolyn Shapiro Foundation, with additional support from SMPH departments and centers and investigator grants. Congratulations to the following faculty and students:

    • Ryan Coller, MD, MPH and Mary Ehlenbach, MD - student Allison Nackers: “Evaluation of Preventable Hospitalizations in Children with Medical Complexity”
    • James Conway, MD and Stephanie Koning - student Collin Lash: “Evaluating the Intergenerational Effects of Maternal Stressful Life Events on Child Development in Chang Mai Province, Thailand”
    • James Conway, MD and Stephanie Koning - student Kaylee Scott: “Assessing the Relationship Between Human Rights Violations and Maternal Health Outcomes in Village Women of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand”
    • Michael Kim, MD - student Connie Wu: “Trends in ED Evaluation of Pediatric Patients with Mental Health Complaints”
    • Pamela Kling, MD - student Micaela Zywicki: “Improving Diagnosis and Treatment of Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Infants and Toddlers”
    • Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, MD, OD - student Aaron Anderson: “Investigating the Use of Education on Diet and Medical Co-morbidities to Reduce Cataract Surgery Screening Failure in a Rural Community in Imo State, Nigeria”
    • Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, MD, OD - student Christina Friedl: “Use of E-learning Applications to Improve Quality of Life in Patients with Cataracts in Imo State, Nigeria”
    • Jennifer Rehm, MD and Pamela Kling, MD - student Shoshana Rudin: “Effects of Diet and Inflammation on Disordered Iron Metabolism on Obese Adolescents”
    • Kristin Shadman, MD - student Patrick O’Donnell: “Characterizing Feeding Practices for Pediatric Patients on High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC)”
    • Paul Sondel, MD, PhD - student Ari Stone: “Effect of Innate and Adaptive Immunotherapies on Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Populations in a Mouse Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Model”
    • Sarah Webber, MD - student Camila Khan: “Community Health Worker Led Postpartum Support Group for Latino Mothers and Infants”
     
  • MACC Fund Awards 9 Grants

    Posted: June 2017

    The Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund has funded each of nine separate grant requests made by the Departments of Pediatrics and Human Oncology. This marks the 40th year of the MACC Fund, and awards from this year have now brought the overall total of contributions to greater than $60 million to childhood cancer research here in Wisconsin. The grants will fund each project for $100,000 over the next two years. Congratulations to all of the researchers involved!

    • Christian Capitini, MD - “Improving Graft-Versus-Leukemia Effects of Ex Vivo Activated NK Cells through JAK/STAT Blockade”
    • Ken DeSantes, MD - “Support for Clinical Research Infrastructure”
    • Ken DeSantes, MD - “Treatment of Relapsed or Refractory Neuroblastoma with Ex-Vivo Activated and Expanded Haploindentical NK Cells and Hu14.18-IL2”
    • Jacquelyn Hank, PhD - “Monitoring of Immune Network Responses in Pediatric Neuroblastoma Patients Treated with Anti-GD2 Immunotherapy”
    • Inga Hofmann, MD (with Emery Bresnick, PhD) - “Prognostic Markers and Therapeutic Targets in GATA2-Related Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Leukemia”
    • Mario Otto, MD, PhD -“Targeted Molecular Radiotherapy to Improve the Outcomes in Children with Malignant Brain Tumors”
    • Mario Otto, MD, PhD (with Dana Baiu PhD)- “Strategies for Improving Recovery of Immune Function following TCRab-depleted Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation”
    • Alexander Rakhmilevich, MD, PhD - “Combining Innate and Adaptive Immune Activation for Treatment of Experimental Neuroblastoma”
    • Paul Sondel, MD, PhD (with Amy Erbe Gurel, PhD) - “Determining the Influence of KIR/KIR-ligand Genotypes in the Outcome of High-Risk Neuroblastoma Patients Following Anti-GD2 Based Immunotherapy”