The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Steven M. Altschuler, CEO

by HCE Exchange on June 12, 2013

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was founded in 1855 and holds the distinction of being the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Over 150 years later, it is still breaking ground and progressing toward the future, all in the name of keeping children healthy.

CHOP began as a single, 12-bed hospital. It is now a 516-bed campus located in University City, Philadelphia. More than 1.1 million outpatient visits and 28,000 hospital admissions were handled in 2010 by CHOP. According to U.S. News and World Report, CHOP performs 7,000 annual inpatient and 17,162 outpatient surgeries. Its ER received 85,450 visits in most recently reported year.

CHOP houses cancer, cardiac, and fetal-surgery programs, a rehabilitation facility, an ambulatory care center, and research space that exceeds 640,000 square feet. Its Care Network extends to Pennsylvania and New Jersey patients in more than 50 locations.

Ranked among the best

 

When The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia says it’s the best, this is not just a self-aggrandizing institutional opinion. It’s a fact.

When U.S. News and World Report released its 2011-2012 rankings of “Best Children’s Hospitals 2011-2012,” CHOP was ranked in all 10 categories of pediatric specialties and tied overall for first place with Children’s Hospital Boston.

CHOP ranked first in the neonatology, pulmonology, and diabetes and endocrinology categories, and in the seven other U.S. News categories—cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, and urology–CHOP was ranked as part of the nation’s top four.

“It’s my pleasure to congratulate our staff and to thank them for their hard work and the excellent care they provide to all the children that we serve regionally, nationally, and internationally,” Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., chief executive officer of CHOP, said on a video post on CHOP’s news blog.

In the February 2009 issue of Parents magazine, CHOP was ranked as the best overall pediatric hospital in the United States, and number one in emergency medicine, neonatology, and pulmonology with the cardiac and cancer centers and CHOP’s orthopaedics division ranking number two.

Advancing medical research

 

CHOP is involved heavily in many areas of medical research. Beginning 80 years ago in a single basement room, CHOP’s research arm experienced early successes that led to the founding of CHOP’s Research Institute in 1972.

According to the CHOP website, www.chop.edu, the CHOP Research Institute was, appropriately enough, the United States’ first pediatric research department, and today, it is an independent entity with the CHOP organization. It is also considered to be one of the largest pediatric research programs in the country.

Throughout its long history, the institute has led the way on many innovative medical breakthroughs, including measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines and a balloon catheter for cardiology. It has also contributed to the development of the FDA-approved vaccine known as RotaTeq.

As documented in the Aug. 11, 2011, edition of the journal Nature, CHOP’s Center for Applied Genomics, founded in 2006, recently participated in the most extensive genetic study of multiple sclerosis to date. Orchestrated by the International MS Genetics Consortium, the study compiled data from scientists in 23 research groups across 15 countries.

According to CHOP’s website, “The genome-wide association study (GWAS) of samples from nearly 9,800 MS patients and 17,000 healthy control subjects replicated previous genetic findings and identified 29 novel gene variants linked to increased risk of the debilitating neurological disorder. “

The Center for Applied Genomics provided 6,000 of these samples to the study for the purposes of examining frequent gene variants among MS patients.

“In addition to our own studies, the pediatric biobank we have built at the Center for Applied Genomics over the past few years, which includes over 100,000 DNA samples, is a major resource for genetic researchers worldwide,” Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the center, was quoted by CHOP’s website as saying. “Our biobank has contributed in a major way to various international research programs aiming at resolving the genetic causes of some of the most common and serious diseases that affect both children and adults.”

Putting family first

For an organization as renowned and respected as CHOP, it would be easy for them to get lost in their own prestige. However, as stated on their website, it all comes back to family.

Some of the highlights of CHOP’s philosophy of care include ensuring that family remains the constant in a child’s life: respecting racial, ethnic, cultural, spiritual, and socioeconomic diversity; full disclosure of information to families; nurturing the developmental needs of children; and supporting the family unit during a child’s time with them.

“The staff of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia respects each family’s values, needs, cultures, resources, and strengths,” CHOP states on its website. “We strive to provide the highest quality of care by successfully blending patient care, education and research.”

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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