CHOP Tops Forbes ranking of America’s best large employers

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ 2022 list of America’s Best Large Employers. The recognition highlights CHOP’s implementation of various programs designed to help employees navigate the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as flexibility in scheduling, bringing back retired nurses, and offering subsidized childcare. Forbes magazine partnered with a market research firm to survey Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees.

Masks mandates associated with reduction in county-level COVID-19 cases early in pandemic

Researchers in PolicyLab at CHOP found that in counties that introduced a mask mandate early in the pandemic, COVID-19 case incidence was 35% lower in the 6 weeks after the mandate was enacted compared to counties

without mandates. The study, which appeared in Health Affairs, is the largest to assess the impact of mask mandates in the United States. It included data from more than 400 diverse counties. The researchers also found differences in counties based on population density and political leaning.

“While it is difficult to extrapolate these findings to later stages of the pandemic when fatigue with public restrictions was greater, the results suggest mask mandates may be effective as a time-limited measure for local leaders to consider during periods of high case incidence or when hospitals are strained,” says David Rubin, MD, MSCE, director of PolicyLab and senior author on the study.

Announcing launch of CHOP’s Neuroscience Center

The Neuroscience Center at CHOP takes an interdisciplinary, collaborative and comprehensive approach that optimizes our ability to provide patients with individualized, world-class clinical care. The center’s team focuses on every aspect of neurology and neurosurgery, including rare diseases, and seamlessly integrates clinical care with groundbreaking research. The center is co-led by Brenda L. Banwell, MD, Chief of the Division of Neurology, and Phillip B. Storm, MD, Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery.

Parents and siblings of child with life-threatening illness need care, too

A new study from CHOP found that parents and siblings of a child with a life-threatening condition are 50% to 70% more likely than their peers to receive healthcare for mental and physical health issues, accompanied by medication for these issues, than families of children without a life- threatening condition (LTC). The findings were published online in JAMA Network Open.

Using commercial health insurance data, researchers, led by senior study author Chris Feudtner, MD, PhD, MPH, focused on 4 types of LTCs that are stressful for patient families: very premature birth, critical congenital heart disease, cancer, and severe neurological impairment. They found that mothers of a child with a LTC were, on average, 61% more likely to have a healthcare encounter, diagnosis, and/or prescription. For fathers, the rate was about 51%. Sisters and brothers had similar rates at 68% and 70%, respectively.

Autistic adolescents may receive delayed guidance on transition to adulthood

Researchers at CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention and the Center for Autism Research surveyed healthcare providers about their practices discussing transition to adulthood topics with autistic patients. In an article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the researchers found over half of providers reported being only “somewhat” or “a little” comfortable discussing transition topics with their autistic patients and did not initiate discussions until a median patient age of 16 years.

While providers generally discussed topics relating to well-being and physical health, they less commonly covered topics such as interpersonal/ intimate relationship skills, hygiene, and pregnancy prevention.

Alexis A. Thompson, MD, MPH, named new Chief of Hematology

Alexis Thompson headshot Alexis A. Thompson, MD, MPH, a world-renowned expert in sickle cell disease and thalassemia, has joined CHOP as Chief of the Division of Hematology. She come to Philadelphia from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where she was Hematology Section Head in the Division of Hematology Oncology and was Associate Director of Equity and Minority Health at Northwestern University Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Thompson, who completed her fellowship at CHOP, was greatly influenced by Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, MD, former director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. She replaces Mortimer Poncz, MD, who served as chief for 18 years and remains as a researcher and attending hematologist.

Study: machine learning could guide diagnosis of mental disorders in minorities

By studying whole gene sequencing data, researchers from the Center for Applied Genomics at CHOP, led by Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD, found they could accurately distinguish patients with 6 common mental disorders from control samples. The study grew out of a recognition that minority populations have been historically under-represented in existing studies addressing how genetic variations may contribute to a variety of disorders. The tool could help distinguish between disorders and identify multiple disorders, allowing for early intervention and for patients to receive more personalized treatment. The findings appeared in Molecular Psychiatry.

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