Published on in Children's Doctor
Dear CHOP Alumni Family,
To begin, I’d like to thank our chief residents for helping with the last column, and I hope you were impressed by the quality and breadth of our great residency training program. Before you know it, we will be graduating another outstanding class of pediatricians and welcoming another 60 (!) or so interns to the CHOP family. That will make for a lot of alumni in future years! And now, following our motto, I begin:
Keep … Tradition: As I write this, the annual Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting is less than 2 months away. As always, I look forward to co-hosting the CHOP Alumni Reception at the meeting with Dr St. Geme. I can’t wait to catch up with many old colleagues and friends, and will be sure to jot down fun updates to share in the next edition. I also will be attending a reunion brunch with the CHOP residency class of 1986-1989 and some of their former faculty members. This brunch is being organized by Dan Hyman, and I imagine we will all have fun reminiscing about the good old days!
One of my favorite Alumni Organization traditions is welcoming an alumnus to give the annual Alumni Organization Grand Rounds, which brings back a trainee or prior faculty member to both teach us and reflect on their career. This year, Flaura Winston presented. Dr Winston has spent the majority of her life at Penn, as an undergraduate, MD/PhD student, CHOP resident and faculty member. She currently serves as Co-director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, a center of emphasis in the CHOP Research Institute, and serves as Chief Scientific Adviser of Diagnostic Driving Inc., a company she co-founded in 2017, the same year she was elected into the National Academy of Medicine. Flaura’s work has been transformative and has improved the safety of countless children from traffic injury. Flaura’s talk, “Pushing Boundaries and Achieving Impact: A Career in Traffic Injury Prevention,” was a truly inspiring talk about careers with purpose and pivots!
And finally, Keep ... in Touch! So here’s some exciting news that I haven’t had the chance to share: Megan Bair-Merritt (CHOP residency from 2000–2003 and Academic General Pediatrics fellowship from 2003-2006) is now the Executive Director of Boston Medical Center (BMC) Pediatrics’ Center for the Urban Child and Healthy Family. The center envisions a world in which all children in America have an equal opportunity to be healthy, ready to learn, and achieve their full potential. To achieve dramatic improvements in outcomes for children and families facing adversity, the center is developing, testing, and scaling novel health delivery approaches that serve children with their caregivers and that bring together communities, child-serving sectors, and health providers across disciplines. To date, the center has sponsored, and is evaluating, a trauma-informed, bi-generational clinic for mothers with substance use disorder and their newborn infants, and an Individualized Education Plan clinic in primary care, which is designed to better link the medical home and educators to meet children’s learning needs. The center has recently committed to the goal that 100% of children receiving care at BMC will be kindergarten-ready or have adequate supports to thrive in school. This will require fundamental redesign of care delivery. Megan is always appreciative for her time at CHOP, including friendships, experiences with research and clinical care, and mentorship that have been fundamental to her career.
Last spring, Ralph DeBerardinis was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, in recognition of his groundbreaking work in cancer metabolism. Ralph spent his formative years at CHOP and Penn, as an MD/PhD student, graduating in 2000, then becoming the first trainee in the combined residency program in Pediatrics and Medical Genetics at CHOP. He left CHOP in 2008 for Dallas and now serves as Director of the Division of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Ralph gave our Alumni Organization Grand Rounds a few years ago, and his talk about cancer metabolism was nothing short of remarkable. We are all so proud of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for recognizing his important work in such a meaningful way.
Until next time, I’ll see you in Baltimore and will have a lot of “gossip” to report! Happy spring.
Cindy W. Christian, MD
President, CHOP Alumni Association