Q&A with Dr. Joy Collins

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A warm welcome back to a pediatric surgeon who specializes in bariatric surgery and short gut syndrome.

Joy L. Collins, MD Joy L. Collins, MD Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is proud to announce the recent return of pediatric surgeon Joy L. Collins, MD, to the Division of General, Pediatric and Fetal Surgery.

Dr. Collins has a special interest in adolescent bariatric surgery and short gut syndrome. She served as surgical director of CHOP’s Intestinal Rehabilitation Program and the combined CHOP-Penn Adolescent Bariatric Program, and was one of three core trauma faculty before departing five years ago for an opportunity to serve as section chief of pediatric surgery at an adult institution in Virginia that includes a children’s clinic.

Now that she is back at CHOP, Dr. Collins once again plays a key role on the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program team, and she also serves as Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

We took the opportunity to ask her about her path back to CHOP and what’s brimming on the horizon, including what her role will be at CHOP’s second hospital in King of Prussia, Pa.

Q: What brought you back to CHOP?

A: I yearned for the energy and commitment of a high-volume institution that is solely focused on children’s care.

The experiences I had in Virginia taught me a great deal and made me a more mature clinician. They also gave me a new appreciation for what CHOP offers. The people here … their commitment is unparalleled. I haven’t found the same energy anywhere else. It’s such a privilege to work in a place that has so many resources and truly everybody is focused on the children.

The short gut program at CHOP is phenomenal. Today, we care for twice as many inpatient and outpatients than when I was here just five years ago, and they provide unparalleled care.

And CHOP’s Adolescent Bariatric Program is a robust collaboration between CHOP’s Healthy Weight Program and specialists at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Combining both institutions’ expertise enables us to provide the best of both worlds.

Bariatric surgery is a major undertaking that requires intensive and specific pre- and postoperative care to ensure success. Patients need lifelong follow-up. The Penn team is happy to follow the patients that age out of CHOP’s program, and I just feel like patients couldn’t be in better hands. I feel very fortunate to have that program here. The side-by-side proximity and relationship is unique and wonderful.

Q: How has CHOP changed since you left in 2016?

A: CHOP has continued to expand. It’s exciting.

When I was here before, I already thought the hospital was massive and comprehensive, but CHOP always figures out a way to grow and do more. It’s a huge gift for the community.

Q: What will your role be at CHOP’s soon-to-be-opened King of Prussia Hospital?

A: The King of Prussia Hospital will have an Emergency Department, inpatient wards, a pediatric ICU and advanced operating rooms. I’ll be part of the team performing surgery there, splitting my time between that campus and our Philadelphia Campus.

It will be wonderful to be able to provide inpatient care closer to people in their community. It will also allow for more flexibility at our Philadelphia Campus, because we’ve been quite full lately.

Q: What opportunities at CHOP are you eager to tackle?

A: I hope to help grow the Adolescent Bariatric Program so we can help more patients.

Right now, our program currently recommends waiting until a child is nearly done growing — so at least age 15 or 16 — before considering bariatric surgery.

But in some cases, children suffering from other obesity-related health problems at a very young age could also benefit from surgery. I hope we can expand access to the procedure to improve the long-term health of these children as they grow into adulthood.

I also look forward to enhancing medical resident and student teaching, which is an integral part of our profession.

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