|Congratulations to child neurologists Dave Clarke, MD, Louisa Keith, MD, and Sara Pavitt, MD, who were among the 2022 recipients of Dell Medical School’s Clinical Learning Environment Awards. These awards are based on student clerkship evaluations recognizing the creation of a positive learning environment and service as an effective role model for empathy and compassion. Former Dell Med pediatric neurology faculty member Collin Swafford, MD, was also a recipient of this award.|
From among the 500 teachers evaluated by clerkship students last year, 22 received this award based on perfect or near-perfect evaluation scores. Child neurologists accounted for 18% of the awardees.
Clarke, Keith, and Pavitt were honored at the Dell Med Educational Innovation, Research & Awards Symposium on October 3, 2022.
Child Neurology Resident Develops Automated Lesion Analysis Algorithm
For many years, the study of focal brain lesions has played an important role in our effort to localize specific neurological functions to precise anatomic brain regions. Because of the acute onset and distinct anatomical localization of ischemic brain infarction, functional correlation studies have relied heavily on individuals with stroke. Although manual lesion analysis is the gold standard for such analyses, this approach is labor intensive and subject to bias, and it tends to limit the sample size.
Working with Dell Medical School Department of Neurology Chair David Paydarfar, MD, and Satwant Kumar, MBBS, PhD, of The University of Texas Center for Perceptual Systems, pediatric neurology resident Khushboo Verma, MBBS, developed an automated image algorithm to facilitate the characterization of chronic ischemic strokes on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. Verma used 655 manually defined T1- weighted stroke images from the open-source dataset ATLAS (Anatomical Tracings of Lesions After Stroke) to refine the algorithm. She demonstrated a robust similarity coefficient between the manual and the automated volume calculations.
This automated segmentation model, trained on a large multicentric dataset, may enable accurate automated on-demand processing of MRI scans and quantitative chronic stroke lesion assessment.
New Child Neurology Journal to Be Based in Austin
UT Health Austin Pediatric Neurosciences at Dell Children’s will be home to the Child Neurology Society’s new peer-reviewed medical journal, Annals of the Child Neurology Society.
The society created ACNS as a clinically focused companion journal to its highly regarded official journal, Annals of Neurology. ACNS will publish clinical and translational research articles, epidemiological studies, clinically relevant basic science articles, case series, case reports, quality improvement articles, and commentaries on medicine or societal factors that affect the care of children with neurological disease.
The Dell Medical School pediatric neurology team will play key roles in the new journal’s operation. Neurology chief E. Steve Roach, MD, is the founding Editor-in-Chief of ACNS, and our medical editor, Christina Roth, is the journal’s managing editor. Roach, an experienced medical editor, concluded a nine-year stint as Editor-in-Chief of Pediatric Neurology at the end of 2021, and prior to this he was an associate editor of JAMA Neurology for 14 years. Before joining the Pediatric Neurosciences Program, Roth spent 15 years in various editorial roles in health care, book publishing, and academic publishing.
Additionally, our statistician, Yingchao Yuan, has been named Associate Editor for Statistics and Epidemiology, and child neurology faculty member Kristina Jülich, MD, has been appointed Associate Editor for Genetic Disorders.
“We are excited to announce the founding of Annals of the Child Neurology Society as an official journal of the society,” said Child Neurology Society President Bruce Cohen, MD. “This is arguably the most important venture for the society in many years, and we have created an outstanding editorial team, starting with Editor-in-Chief E. Steve Roach of The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and Senior Associate Editor Phillip Pearl of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.”
“This is arguably the most important venture for the society in many years, and we have created an outstanding editorial team, starting with Editor-in-Chief E. Steve Roach of The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and Senior Associate Editor Phillip Pearl of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.”— Bruce Cohen, MD, Child Neurology Society President
Ohio child neurologist Anup Patel, MD, President of the Child Neurology Foundation, agreed. “Annals of the Child Neurology Society is a major accomplishment for the Child Neurology Society. ACNS provides society members with a new venue for clinical research and observations, and we are fortunate to have such a strong editorial team to launch the journal.”
ACNS is owned by the Child Neurology Society but published via a contract with Wiley, much like the arrangement for Annals of Neurology between the American Neurological Association and Wiley. ACNS and the ANA’s Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology will form an “Annals family” of journals.
Inquiries about ACNS should be directed to E. Steve Roach or Christina Roth. Please visit the ACNS website and follow the journal’s Twitter account at @AnnalsCNS.
Moodley Honored as Keynote Speaker at Reunion in South Africa
Manikum Moodley, MD, FRCP, Chief of the Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and Co-Director of the Pediatric Autonomic Lab, was the keynote speaker at the 2022 Legacy Reunion in his childhood town of Mandeni, South Africa. The multigenerational event was organized to celebrate the history of Mandeni Primary School and its community.
Moodley spoke of the role the school’s educators played in his ultimate path to pursuing medicine, thanking the parents and community for their commitment to ensuring Mandeni’s children received a good education rooted in moral values. He further acknowledged that true education — despite the challenges recent technological advances can present to our moral and social values — must be used to enrich society and serve others.
Pavitt Participates in American Academy of Neurology Leadership Forum
Sara Pavitt, MD, Chief of the Dell Children’s Pediatric Headache Center, was selected as one of 30 American Academy of Neurology members to participate in the 2022 Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum.
The annual forum, named in honor of AAN Board of Directors member Donald M. Palatucci, MD, trains neurologists to become advocacy leaders in their institutions and communities by building skills in action planning, media relations, and grassroots advocacy.
“This transformative weekend taught me how to find my voice and use it to advocate for my patients and my profession,” said Pavitt. “It was a springboard to forming connections with state organizations and working on legislation to make change that will improve my patients’ lives.”
“This transformative weekend taught me how to find my voice and use it to advocate for my patients and my profession.”Sara Pavitt, MD
Resident Graduates Highlight the Importance of Early Vitamin Replacement
Congratulations to recent child neurology resident graduates Freddie Joseph, MD, and Damian Campbell, MD, for their Pediatrics in Review article published on August 1, 2022.
Joseph and Campbell described a family with hereditary vitamin B12 deficiency. The nine-year-old proband developed progressive ataxia, leg weakness, learning difficulty, and fatigue. Prior to referral he was incorrectly diagnosed with Friedreich ataxia based in part on peripheral nerve conduction velocities and electromyography findings of a sensorimotor axonal neuropathy. However, gene testing did not confirm the diagnosis, and his fatigue, cognitive symptoms, and rapid progression would be atypical of Friedreich ataxia.
Discovery of a macrocytic anemia led to the diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency, and genetic testing identified a mutation of the CUBN gene, one of two genes responsible for the cobalamin-intrinsic factor receptor complex in the terminal ileum. Two asymptomatic younger siblings were also affected.
All three children began monthly vitamin B12 injections. The proband improved dramatically, but his symptoms did not completely resolve, while his brothers remain asymptomatic.
The important lesson is that early treatment of vitamin deficiencies usually prevents permanent neurological impairment, while delayed treatment may not.
Pediatrics in Review is an educational journal published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Joseph FD, Campbell DR, Cohn S, Roach ES. A child with falls, fatigue, and dementia. Pediatr Rev 2022;43:466-468.
Pediatric Rehab Program Dedicates Panda Cares Center of Hope
On August 8, 2022, the pediatric neurosciences team celebrated the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dell Children’s Panda Cares Center of Hope.
The pediatric inpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation program received a $3 million pledge from Panda Cares Center of Hope, a collaboration between Panda Express and Children’s Miracle Network that uses Panda Express employee and customer donations to fund specialized hospital spaces and programs designed to address each child’s overall well-being.
“Rehab is a place where Dell Children’s patients work to be as independent as possible while reaching their full potential physically, cognitively, and socially,” said Deb Brown, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Dell Children’s. “We are honored that Panda Express is now creating a legacy of giving through Panda Cares Center of Hope.”
“I speak for our entire rehab team when I express our gratitude for the Panda Cares Center of Hope in Dell Children’s inpatient rehab program,” said Glendaliz Bosques, MD, Chief of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. “We share our sincere thanks.”
WiNterns Complete 2022 Summer Intensive
This summer, 18 interns completed the fifth annual Women in Neuroscience (WiN) Summer Intensive internship program, supported by The University of Texas at Austin Department of Neuroscience and the Department of Neurology at Dell Medical School. The “WiNterns” gave their Final Presentations of Learning on July 27 and July 28 in several focus areas of neuroscience and attended an awards ceremony on July 29.
WiN’s eight-week paid internship encourages high school seniors and college women from historically underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in neuroscience and neurology. WiNterns from Huston-Tillotson University, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, and the UT Austin College of Natural Sciences partner with faculty mentors, attend daily seminars to build professional development skills, gain clinical and lab experience, and present their research at the conclusion of the program. They also receive ongoing mentorship.
“This internship made me feel like I had a community,” said WiNtern Aundrea Hodges. “I had people to talk to, people that had the same experience as me. Relatability is important.”
Pediatric neuroscience faculty mentors this year included Dr. Audrey Brumback (autism and epilepsy), Dr. Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara (pediatric neurosurgery), and Dr. Dave Clarke (pediatric epilepsy). Dr. Steve Roach taught a half-day course on biomedical writing.
“I don’t think I could have done research to this extent during the summer without this program,” said WiNtern Priya Mahbleshwarkar. “I’m just so thankful.”
Pediatric Neurosciences Program Ranked by U.S. News
After just three years since the program’s founding, UT Health Austin Pediatric Neurosciences at Dell Children’s was ranked among the top pediatric neurology and neurosurgery programs by U.S. News & World Report for 2022-23.
“This recognition strengthens the reputation and reach of UT Health Austin Pediatric Neurosciences at Dell Children’s,” said Christopher Born, president of Dell Children’s Medical Center. “Dr. Steve Roach and Dr. Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara lead a neuroscience team that has become a top-tier medical center for pediatric neurology services in Central Texas and beyond.”
“Dr. Steve Roach and Dr. Elizabeth Tyler-Kabara lead a neuroscience team that has become a top-tier medical center for pediatric neurology services in Central Texas and beyond.”— Christopher Born, president of Dell Children’s Medical Center
The ranking represents an external validation of the steady improvement our team sees every day. More important, our improvement reflects our commitment to provide the best possible care for the children entrusted to us. Each team member has played a role in our development, so we are grateful to everyone for helping us reach this milestone.
Gettig Awarded Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree
Kelly Gettig, APRN, MSN, CPNP-PC/AC, successfully presented her Doctor of Nursing Practice project, “Program Evaluation of a New Initiative in an Interdisciplinary Pediatric Concussion Clinic: Active Rehabilitation Following Sports Concussion,” on July 26, 2022, and was awarded her DNP degree from Duquesne University School of Nursing.
Gettig, Co-Director of the Pediatric Neurosciences Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion Clinic and the lead nurse practitioner for Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also serves as a health professional specialist and an advance practice nurse in the Department of Neurology and as a clinical instructor for UT Austin’s Graduate School of Nursing. She is passionate about providing evidence-based clinical care to children in and out of the hospital setting and ensuring optimal outcomes for her patients.