Every day, clinicians at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia make breakthroughs, large and small. They develop new approaches for treating rare diseases and find innovative ways to improve outcomes for patients. In their research and clinical practice, they are constantly making discoveries that they want to share with colleagues around the world.
CHOP’s Department of International Medicine gives them that opportunity. Several times a year, CHOP clinicians attend conferences in other countries to share best practices and research, explore opportunities for new collaborations, and learn about other healthcare systems.
In February, Stella Chou, MD, a CHOP hematologist who specializes in transfusion medicine, attended the 2016 SEHA International Pediatric Conference in Abu Dhabi. In her main presentation, “Transfusion Therapy for Sickle Cell Disease,” she shared the results of recent clinical trials conducted in the United States and discussed the best ways to match patients with red blood cell donors using technologies that can easily be put in place in hospitals in the UAE
Information about the latest research was especially welcome because doctors in the Middle East typically have less protected research time than their colleagues in the United States, says Chou. “Presenting at these conferences is a way to share new advances that can dramatically impact care delivery around the world,” she says.
When Susan Levy, MD, MPH, director of CHOP’s Regional Autism Center, was invited to speak at Arab Health 2016 in Dubai, she spent weeks preparing a presentation that reflected conference attendees’ interests.
“I wanted to be sensitive to the fact that the methodology, research and data available in Europe and the Middle East are different from the information available to us in the United States,” she says.
In her talk, Levy spoke about global disparities in autism rates, discussed the core features of the disorder, and provided a list of the “red flags” that could indicate a child has autism. She also shared research from several different countries and included information on autism screening tools that are commonly used in the Middle East.
During her time in the UAE, Levy met with physicians from the Dubai Autism Center, who invited her to an upcoming conference to speak about the educational challenges that children with autism face.
Every conference CHOP doctors attend is a two-way learning experience. “It’s important for doctors at CHOP to get exposure to other cultures and medical systems, so we can learn how they provide care and not just be focused on the ‘CHOP way’ to do things,” Levy says. “My experience in the UAE enhanced my sensitivity to the cultural differences in how different groups of people view autism. I’m looking forward to my return because I’d like to get a better understanding of those differences.”