From left to right: Jenna, Ellia, Nathan, and Zach.
For the first three years of her life, Ellia was “the kid who never got sick.”
“We never worried about her,” says Jenna Yee, Ellia’s mom. “She was always very spunky and funny and had this incredibly dynamic personality. We knew from the start she was a fighter.”
But when Ellia was 3 years old, she developed a fever and became lethargic. Jenna Yee took her to a walk-in clinic where she was prescribed antibiotics for an ear infection. A few days later, Ellia woke up with a rash on her arms and legs, and red dots on her neck.
Jenna Yee brought Ellia to their pediatrician, who sent them to Seattle Children’s Emergency Department for urgent blood testing. Ellia’s dad, Nathan Yee, left work to meet them there.
Nathan Yee and Jenna Yee both have professional experience in cancer research. Jenna Yee was a toxicologist who worked on cancer clinical trials and Nathan Yee was helping develop immunotherapy treatments for adults with leukemia and lymphoma at Juno Therapeutics.
“Hearing Ellia’s symptoms, my first reaction was utter denial,” Nathan Yee says. “I was sure nothing was seriously wrong. But driving to the Emergency Department, I realized the truth was screaming in my face. Ellia had a classic presentation of pediatric leukemia.”
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This week, JAMA Pediatrics published an article by Dr. Gina Sequeira, co-director of Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic, about gender identity. In the article, Sequeira discusses what gender identity is, explains gender related terms, and offers recommendations to caregivers to help them support gender-diverse children.
Gender identity is unique to each person and is used to describe a person’s internal sense of being male, female, some of both or neither, Sequeira says. Terms like transgender and gender-diverse, may be used to describe individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Recent estimates suggest as many as 10% of high school aged youth have a gender identity that differs from their sex assigned at birth. Read full post »
When the COVID-19 pandemic first led to a pivot to online instruction in the spring of 2020, the Science Education Department at Seattle Children’s Research Institute was forced to hit pause on in-person programming.
However, thanks to an investment in high-quality equipment and the creativity and adaptability of the Science Education team, the programs have been able to thrive in a virtual format.
Transition to virtual
To pivot to a virtual format, the team purchased a video camera and lighting equipment to make the lessons feel professional, says Dr. Amanda Jones, senior director of education initiatives at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Read full post »
Seattle Children’s researchers have published a study that has uncovered a deeper understanding of why people who have had mild cases of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) lose functional antibodies within a few months.
Last year, while seeing the bulk of research analysis focused on severe cases of COVID-19, a team of researchers led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, the largest pediatric infectious disease research center in the country, sought to evaluate the immune responses that occur after people recover from more mild cases of COVID-19. Mild cases, researchers say, are the most common type of cases. Published in Cell Reports Medicine, a team of researchers found that while antibodies did persist over time, they were not the functional antibodies needed to protect someone from reinfection.
The study evaluated a cohort of 34 adults, ranging in age from 24-74 for up to six months. It characterizes antibody responses to infection and does not investigate T cell or vaccine responses. Antibody responses to vaccination are likely to behave very differently and have different longevity.
At first, researchers found a sustained and maturing presence of an antibody called Immunoglobulin G (IgG) among participants, which should normally mean protection from infection of a virus would improve, says Dr. Noah Sather, a principal investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and associate professor at the University of Washington.
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Since January of this year, following concerns of systemic racism within our organization, we have accelerated our ongoing work to be an anti-racist organization and uphold our core value of equity. Though we’d made a formal commitment to anti-racism last summer, and subsequently launched our Anti-Racism Organizational Change and Accelerated Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan last fall, we recognize we must do more – and in greater collaboration.
The key to our transformation – and to the path ahead – lies in taking actions based on conversations and insights from our many stakeholders. We approach the gravity of this transformation and the opportunity to improve with humility in knowing we have not done enough – and our shortcomings have adversely impacted the kids and families we serve as well as our team. Upholding our commitment to anti-racism must be and will be the very fabric of Seattle Children’s future.
We have been in deep and ongoing listening mode so far this year and are grateful for the opportunity to engage in open dialogue to advance this important work. This includes connecting with Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic patients, families and supporters; our team members who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC); our patient-family advisory council members; and through broader health equity, diversity and inclusion listening sessions and workforce surveys.
Here are some key themes we have heard in these conversations as well as the actions we have underway or have accelerated: Read full post »
In 2020, the TODAY Show featured Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, in a story about the evolving digital age and the effect media has on children and their developing minds. A year later, Jake Ward, NBC News correspondent, is following up to learn more about how the pandemic has impacted the use of digital devices. Watch as Ward and Christakis explore again the intersection between a child’s development and the digital world.
The below article features a family navigating the challenges of media usage during the pandemic and their participation in a study led by Christakis to better understand play-based activities.
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Liesel Von Imhof will graduate from Harvard with a degree in stem cell biology in May 2021, five years after Seattle Children’s neurosurgeons removed her brain tumor.
As a high school freshman, Liesel Von Imhof had a dream of attending college at Harvard. She packed her schedule with challenging classes and participated in varsity sports such as cross-country running and cross-country skiing. She had occasional, debilitating headaches that sometimes caused her to miss school, but she blamed them on stress, dehydration or low blood sugar.
In July 2016, just before her senior year of high school, Liesel’s dream of Harvard was almost derailed when doctors found the reason for her headaches: a Ping-Pong ball-sized tumor in the middle of her brain.
At the urging of her doctors, Liesel, then age 17, and her parents traveled from their home in Anchorage, Alaska, to Seattle Children’s.
Thanks to the care she received here, the support of her family and friends, and her own determination, Liesel is graduating from Harvard this month with a degree in stem cell biology — her first step toward a career in medicine.
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Dr. Alysha Thompson is the clinical director of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU) at Seattle Children’s. She’s seen first-hand the impact the pandemic has had on youth mental health. She shares how dire the situation has become and provides advice for parents.
We are a year into an unprecedented pandemic that has taken a toll on all our lives. Children and adolescents are feeling this acutely – over the past year we’ve seen a significant increase in mental health-related visits to the emergency room and an increase in youth suicide.
Even before the pandemic, children and adolescents had the most significant rise in suicides over the past two decades compared to other age groups. However, as schools have moved to virtual learning, as people have been isolated from their friends and family, and all the normal structures that bring joy to our lives and give us things to look forward to have altered dramatically, we have seen an even further increase in suicide and suicidal ideation in youth. Read full post »
Nurses Genevieve Aguilar (left) and Mari Moore (right) serve as facilitators for Seattle Children’s equity, diversity and inclusion training for nurses.
Seattle Children’s nurses Genevieve Aguilar and Mari Moore share their perspective on equity and inclusion in the workplace, why they’re engaged with Seattle Children’s journey toward anti-racism, and about their roles as facilitators for Seattle Children’s equity, diversity and inclusion training.
Seattle Children’s nurses Genevieve Aguilar, a Medical Unit team member, and Mari Moore, a unit based educator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), have lived and witnessed firsthand the experiences of Seattle Children’s patients and workforce members who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
Here, Aguilar and Moore share their perspectives on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the workplace, why they’re engaged with Seattle Children’s journey toward becoming an anti-racist organization, and about their roles as facilitators for Seattle Children’s EDI training for nurses. Read full post »
Dr. Amanda Jones, senior director of education initiatives at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and her team held a training at Auburn Senior High School to teach school personnel to use point-of-care rapid antigen test cards technology. In one day, the team trained more than 40 school personnel. Pictured above are Sarah Garcia, Alex Chang, Amanda Jones, Billy Roden and Rebecca Carter.
A year ago, many schools shuttered due to COVID-19, forcing schools and families to transition into unknown territory: remote learning. Today, thanks to a partnership between Seattle Children’s and school districts in Washington, schools are one step closer to transitioning back to in-person learning.
Seattle Children’s and educational leaders recently launched the Washington State School-Based COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program. The program, which started with Auburn School District, will eventually expand to more districts across the state.
The pilot program is currently working with 10 school districts across the western Puget Sound region. Each district has the opportunity to create weekly a COVID-19 testing program tailored for its own schools, staff and students.
“The collaboration between the school districts and the local, state and federal government has been truly remarkable. It’s taken the concerted effort of people across organizations to launch this program,” said Dr. Eric Tham, interim senior vice president of Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “I’m incredibly proud of our teams at Seattle Children’s who have worked tirelessly to support this important work and have gone above and beyond to help get kids back to school safely.” Read full post »