Letter from the dean
As anyone who’s spent any time with children can tell you, kids are different — and they keep changing. From a medical perspective, they’re different too: Their physiologies and experiences are distinct from those of adults, which often means they are especially challenging patients to treat.
Their care calls for special tools and strategies, and is most likely to succeed in a special place: an academic medical center where the brightest minds come together for the sake of children’s health.
In this issue of Stanford Medicine, we’re celebrating pediatrics and marking the opening of the expanded Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the place where Stanford Medicine faculty and trainees provide unsurpassed care for sick children, teach the next generation of pediatricians and scientists, and conduct clinical and translational research that will transform child health around the world.
Through close collaboration, Stanford Medicine researchers and clinicians routinely bring medical advances from their laboratories to the benefit of our pediatric patients. For example, Gill Bejerano, PhD, and his colleagues recently used machine learning to devise an automated approach for diagnosing rare congenital diseases in children that keeps nearly all genomic information private.
At Packard Children’s, Dr. Bejerano put his team’s innovation to work, offering the comfort of a diagnosis to previously undiagnosed patients while helping to usher in an era where genomes can be both utilized and truly protected.
In this magazine, you’ll read more about how our researchers and clinicians are working together on behalf of pediatric patients everywhere. Young leukemia patients are now receiving treatments, pioneered by Stanford pediatric cancer specialists, that use their own immune system to fight their disease when other treatments have failed.
Certain tumors are even being zapped with high-intensity focused ultrasound, thereby reducing their size without the harmful side effects of the other options. The expanded Packard Children’s will include a dedicated pediatric facility for this promising ultrasound technology that until recently was used almost exclusively to treat adults.
By providing predictive, preventive and precise care, Stanford Medicine is delivering precision health to our youngest patients. But precision health is not just high-tech, it’s also high-touch, focused on the patient experience.
Since medical care can be particularly stressful for children, Stanford Medicine faculty are exploring new ways to ease pediatric anxiety and maybe even provide some fun by creating virtual reality games that distract and calm children before and during medical procedures.
For a seriously ill child or a clinician or researcher who cares about children’s health, it’s hard to think of anywhere better than Stanford Medicine. It’s a special place that puts kids first by conducting groundbreaking research, training future leaders, and delivering compassionate and unsurpassed care.
Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the School of Medicine
Professor of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery