Photo by Anne Rayner, Vanderbilt University

Thoughts on Hope

Published on September 14th, 2020 by Christina Echegaray.

The world has changed since we last connected with you. We are more than five months into something none of us have experienced — a pandemic. In our medical training, we all knew the terminology and history from 1918, but there was no formal learning in either medical or leadership courses on managing through a pandemic. By all counts, as you read this edition of Hope, we are still in the earlier phases of this virus running its course.

What has COVID-19 meant for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt? Well, simply put, it has further galvanized what we do every day — bring multidisciplinary teams together to solve problems that impact children and determine our role as a member hospital

of a major academic medical center. We have worked together, in both small and large groups, to outline our response. By the time of your reading, we will be well past 150 days of many of our teams working collaboratively to establish best practices, to study why children respond differently than adults to infection with this virus and to investigate treatments as well as vaccine prevention. This is what we do every day — connect excellence in clinical practice with education and discovery — though these particular efforts have been at an accelerated pace.

Although this issue of Hope does not focus on our response to COVID-19, the stories you will read showcase unique programs that illustrate this great teamwork. We highlight our pediatric gastroenterology division’s breadth of programs through the voice of our patients and their families, our craniofacial program’s multidisciplinary center and we introduce our newest clinical site, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital Vanderbilt Surgery and Clinics Murfreesboro, where we bring our expertise to families closer to where they live.

These stories all speak to teamwork with a single commitment to serve children through connecting learning and discovery to advancements in clinical care. Our teamwork, once again, has resulted in being recognized for the 14th consecutive year by U.S. News and World Report as a top Children’s Hospital, ranking in all 10 specialties. This achievement is possible because of the dedication of our faculty, trainees and staff, the support of our community, and the belief in what we do every day to provide healing and hope for our patients and families. In these uncertain times, it is this mission that has not only grounded us but also provided our guiding light.

Meg Rush, MD, MMHC

Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP
Pediatrician-in-Chief, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and James C. Overall Professor

Jeffrey Upperman, MD
Surgeon-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery

John W. Brock III, MD
Senior Vice President of Pediatric Surgical Services, Monroe Carell Jr. Professor, Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus