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U.S. News & World Report Names Packard Children’s a Top 10 Children’s Hospital in the Nation

Packard Children’s has been named among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2020–2021 Best Children’s Hospitals survey published online in June. The rankings show Packard Children’s as the top children’s hospital in Northern California and on the Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll, a designation awarded to pediatric centers that deliver exceptionally high-quality care across multiple specialties.

“The Honor Roll distinction is a direct result of the enduring pursuit of excellence and commitment to children’s health by our health care work­ers, staff, and providers, who make this level of care achievable,” says Paul King, president and CEO of Packard Children’s and Stanford Children’s Health. “Thanks to them, our patients—children, expectant mothers, and their families—can have the confidence that they and their loved ones are receiving the finest care available anywhere.”

The annual Best Children’s Hospitals survey rankings recognize the top 50 pediatric facilities across the United States in 10 pediatric specialties.

Packard Children’s was one of two hospitals in California that achieved Honor Roll status. For the fifth consecutive year, our hospital achieved rankings in all 10 specialties. This year’s survey ranked five of the hospi­tal’s specialties in the top 10 and two in the top five nationwide. These included neonatology (No. 3), nephrology (No. 4), pulmonology and lung surgery (No. 7), neurology and neurosurgery (No. 8), and diabetes and endocrinology (No. 9).

Read the full press release.

Nicotine Pods Need Clearer Labels, Study Reveals

Young adults don’t know what’s in the products they vape and often don’t know what brand of vaping products they use, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine.

“Teens are not using these pod-based products more than other e-cigarettes because of health or the flavors offered,” says the study’s senior author, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, professor of pediatrics. “They tell us, ‘It’s because we can hide these, and the smell produced is less obvi­ous.’ This ability to ‘stealth use’ is concerning.”

The study also found that young people didn’t know how much nico­tine was in the products they were using. In addition, more than half of the participants were not sure how long it usually takes them to finish a pod or cartridge. Halpern-Felsher says this may demonstrate how youth share and use these products without regard to dosage, nicotine amount, or addiction potential.

At present, e-cigarette manufac­turers are not required to provide a complete list of ingredients on the package. Halpern-Felsher adds, “I really hope these findings will be used to further regulate e-cigarettes.”

Remembering Richard “Dick” Behrman, MD

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health (LPFCH) fondly remembers Richard “Dick” Elliot Behrman, MD, who passed away at age 88 on May 17. He was a champion for children’s health and a pivotal figure at LPFCH, Packard Children’s, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Packard Foundation).

Recruited by David Packard to the Bay Area in 1989, Behrman helped plan Packard Children’s, which opened in 1991, and directed the Packard Foundation’s new Center for the Future of Children, an inter­disciplinary team that conducted research and grantmaking on children’s issues, and launched the journal The Future of Children.

Behrman was instrumental in the early days of growth for Packard Children’s. He served as board chair of the hospital and LPFCH, and was clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco. From 2000 to 2002, Behrman served as senior vice president for medical affairs at LPFCH, providing over­sight to the Children’s Health Initiative, a groundbreaking $500 million philanthropic invest­ment to transform care, training, and research in children’s health.

“This resulted in the transforma­tion of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital from a very good community hospital to one of the leading innova­tive children’s hospitals in the world,” says longtime friend and colleague Harvey Cohen, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, who was formerly chair of pediatrics and chief-of-staff at Packard Children’s. “The implica­tions for the health of children, both locally and internationally, has been profound, and continues to this day and into the future.”

Read more about Behrman's impact.

Leonard Elected to Lead American Pediatric Society

Mary Leonard, MD, MSCE, Adalyn Jay Physician-in-Chief at Packard Children’s, Arline and Pete Harman Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and director of the Maternal and Child Health Research Institute, has been elected to lead the American Pediatric Society. She will serve as vice president from May 2020 to 2021 and presi­dent from May 2021 to 2022. Leonard is a distinguished researcher, an expert clinician, and a respected mentor. Currently a council member for the International Pediatric Nephrology Association, she has also held a council position for the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology. Congratulations, Dr. Leonard!

FDA Approves New Drug for Children’s Peanut Allergies

Researchers recently gave parents of children with peanut aller­gies a new reason for hope. Palforzia is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat accidental exposure to peanuts for children with food allergies. It is meant to be taken daily by children ages 4 to 17, gradually building up the drug’s effect in the child’s system to fight peanut allergies.

The drug is a therapy mitigating the effects of allergic reactions and could still produce side effects, says Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, one of the drug’s researchers and the direc­tor of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University.

“What’s novel is that the FDA has never approved a drug for food allergy,” Nadeau adds. “Most likely, there will be some symptoms along the way, but they are manageable. You have to do it daily and with trained supervision.”

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Packard Children’s News.