August 9, 2002

Children’s Hospital growth on track: Strauss

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Construction continues on the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2003. In his annual State of the Pediatric Department and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital address this week, Dr. Arnold Strauss discussed the growth of programs within the department of Pediatrics in patient care, research, and community service that are underway as a prelude to the opening of the new building. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Children’s Hospital growth on track: Strauss

Increases in clinic and hospital visits, a boost in research dollars, and the addition of several dozen new faculty were lauded by Dr. Arnold Strauss, James C. Overall Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, in his annual State of the Pediatric Department and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital address Tuesday.

"With great clinical faculty and strong community relationships," said Strauss, "we are poised for excellent clinical service."

In the address, which was presented as a special Pediatric Grand Rounds, Strauss noted that in the fiscal year that ended June 30 there were a record number of 75 pediatric residents and eight subspecialty fellows, and that the number of clinical fellows rose to 26 and the number of research fellows demonstrated a dramatic increase from nine to 17.

Additionally, Strauss said, in the past year there was a significant increase in full time faculty, with 15 new clinical faculty members having been recruited, as well as 22 new laboratory, clinical, and bench research faculty members. All of the newly recruited faculty represent a wide variety of specialty areas.

In addition to the increase in Pediatric faculty, other areas of growth cited by Strauss incude:

• An increase in general pediatric and as subspecialty visits, as well as marked rises in the number of visits to all the clinics.

• An increase in visits to the Pediatric Emergency Department up by approximately 5,000.

• An increase in both pediatric inpatient and outpatient surgery in Medical Center East. Since 2001, there has been an increase from approximately 4,500 to 5,000 outpatient cases performed and inpatient cases have increased by nearly 200, despite space constraint currently facing the pediatric surgeons.

• An increase in pediatric federal funding by more than $200,000 and non-federal grants and contracts have risen more than $600,000. Strauss emphasized the importance of pediatric research and the commitment of VCH to build a stronger research base.

Based on these trends, Strauss predicted that increases would continue, especially with the opening of the new Monroe Carell Jr. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in 2003. With its 226 beds and 25 emergency department rooms, Strauss indicated that he was optimistic that the opening of the new building would remedy the current space limitations facing both VCH and the clinics.

Strauss also emphasized the importance of community outreach and advocacy, which emcompasses not only the relationship between VCH and the local and outlying regions, but also the relationships between Children’s Hospital and community pediatricians, including the Cumberland Pediatric Foundation.

Additionally, Strauss indicated he wants to see continued advocacy efforts, such as promoting the safety of children through the new canine VCH mascot, Champ. Other advocacy initiatives include increasing the involvement of the legislature, including improving lobbying efforts.

In his conclusion, Strauss looked to the future and the opening of the new hospital, and predicted that the next year will be one of transition and planning, full of challenges, but also full of exciting new opportunities.