September 8, 2011

Rush envisions bright future for Pediatrics

Featured Image

Margaret Rush, M.D., delivers Tuesday’s State of Pediatrics Address at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Steve Green)

Rush envisions bright future for Pediatrics

Margaret Rush, M.D., evoked the successes of the Department of Pediatrics and its leaders past and present on Tuesday, dubbing them a solid “foundation for our future” of children’s health care at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Rush, acting chair of Pediatrics and chief of staff for Children’s Hospital, set the stage during the annual State of the Department for where pediatrics at Vanderbilt has been and where it’s headed. She highlighted several achievements over the past year — continued growth, increases in federal grant funding, the kickoff of a 33-bed expansion, excellence in education, pediatric specialty rankings, and beyond.

“As we’ve celebrated the successes of our department in the past academic year within the context of the foundations of this past 100 plus years, I hope you can concur with me that our past has shaped our present and truly points our path to the future,” said Rush.

In her address, Rush remembered previous department chairs from Owen Wilson, M.D., onward. She pointed to advances and progress during their time – progress that has continued to evolve.

She reviewed numerous faculty recognitions and awards over the past year. She underscored continued innovations in programs, including the Office of Inclusion and Health Equity, the new sickle cell Center for Excellence and the palliative care program.

Rush noted that as an academic pediatric medical center, Vanderbilt improved from fifth to third in the past year in National Institutes of Health research funding. In 2000, the department was ranked 29th. More than $25 million in NIH support was awarded to the department over the past fiscal year, which ends in October.

Also, for the first time, 10 of the hospital’s pediatric and pediatric surgical specialties ranked in the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report.

The residency program received the largest pool of applicants in the history of the department, 1,100 for 26 slots. In addition, Children’s Hospital remained busy with more than 81,000 inpatient days, and the Doctor’s Office Tower and other pediatric clinics experienced an 8 percent growth in outpatient visits.

She noted the timely 33-bed expansion project and the build-out of the DOT tenth floor. “We are building for our future,” Rush said. “Our future is a place for children to receive care.”

As a parting thought, Rush recalled a recent conversation with pediatrician Bob Mallard, M.D.

“He came up to me and said, ‘The future of pediatrics at Vanderbilt is good.’ And It is good because we have a deep foundation and because of the combined efforts of everyone in this room, in this department, in this hospital, in the medical center and in our community.”