When you walk through the doors of Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center (CHC), it is instantly apparent that this is no ordinary medical center. Children laugh as they press their palms to the glass of giant fish tanks and enthusiastically point to spinning feather chandeliers overhead. From the brightly painted walls to the brightly patterned scrub caps worn by CHC faculty and staff, it is plain to see that pediatric anesthesia is a unique specialty.
The faculty of the Division of Pediatric Anesthesia work tirelessly to promote pediatric anesthesia as a unique specialty by maintaining an active role in leadership positions at both the national and local levels. The division boasts multiple past board members, a past president, and several committee chairs of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia, the most prominent society for the specialty of pediatric anesthesiology. Furthermore, the team members have played a key role in the growth of pediatric services throughout Duke University Health System, and have been instrumental in supporting the development of a separate Division of Pediatric Surgical Services and an oversight role in pediatric sedation at Duke.
The pediatric perioperative environment includes six child-specific operating rooms equipped with the latest technology as well as a separate but adjacent suite for minor procedures. Great care has been taken to fashion a child-friendly environment in which both the physical and mental wellbeing of the child is taken into consideration. Duke is the only medical center in the area that has surgical representation of every pediatric subspecialty including solid organ transplant. Growth continues with an increasing number of faculty in pediatric anesthesia and surgery coming on board to accommodate a growth in pediatric surgical patients. Part of this growth includes a group of dedicated CRNAs who are an integral part of the perioperative pediatric team and help shape the futures of student CRNAs interested in pediatrics.
Research continues to be an integral part of our program with a variety of areas of interest. Dr. Eddie Jooste has carried on his work in coagulation factors in cardiac surgery through ongoing grant support, Dr. Kelly Machovec is focusing on postoperative pain medication pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics with funding from industry, Dr. Brad Taicher in his departmental QI/QA directorship role is focusing on quality assurance in pediatric perioperative care, and Drs. Ames and Homi continue to collaborate with members of the Department of Pediatrics in imaging studies for a variety of pediatric chronic diseases. One of our newer faculty Dr. Nathaniel Greene is completing his Masters of Clinical Research at Duke and is working with members in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics with interest in outcomes in pediatric anesthesia using the large database housed on campus.
The unique climate of a robust pediatric hospital inside an adult hospital has also given rise to a highly successful program for the education of fellows, residents, and practicing physicians. Under the directorship of Dr. John Eck, our pediatric fellowship program benefits from a customized schedule that provides extra training in our fellow’s area of interest, and a second year cardiac preceptorship is now offered to our pediatric anesthesia fellows to provide advanced training in cardiothoracic anesthesia including ECHO. A testament to the commitment to resident teaching in our Division is demonstrated through teaching scores where pediatric anesthesia faculty consistently score higher than departmental averages.
Remarkable progress has been made at Duke since Pediatric Anesthesia first became a specialty nearly 20 years ago. The faculty numbers have tripled and the space and support to take care of children of all ages continues to grow each year. Equipped with the necessary facilities, equipment, and an exceptional team of faculty and staff, the future of Pediatric Anesthesia is as bright as the environment in which these team members work.