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 »
Dr. Sabreen Akhter (left) reflects on how Susie Revels Cayton (right, courtesy of the University of Washington) and the Dorcas Charity Club partnered with Seattle Children’s to establish an ongoing policy of admitting and treating sick or malnourished children regardless of their race, religion or the ability to pay.
One of the things I take great pride in, as a pediatric emergency physician, is that the Emergency Department (ED) is a place where the doors are always wide open.
The ED is a place that takes all patients, no matter how minor or major the concern; no matter the time of day; no matter the ability to pay; no matter the language, race, religion, or identity — our unifying goal is that all will be seen and be given compassionate care.
As an ED provider, I see my work as a kind of care that is more rudimentary even than primary care. It is a place of hope and sanctuary to the patients and families that we see, for the worried parents bringing their child in at all hours of the day or night, and for those who have no access to their own pediatricians.
This “open door” policy of the ED was not always the norm at pediatric hospitals. Prior to the passage of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) in 1986, private hospitals commonly “dumped” patients, mostly those who were poor and minority status, into county hospital systems where they would fare much worse. This was often done without the patient’s consent. After review, it was determined that this practice of denying care to certain patients was primarily due to financial reasons and was unethical. Monetary penalties were introduced for hospitals found to be in violation of this law, and soon the landscape of emergency and hospital care changed permanently. Read full post »
In celebration of Black History Month, On the Pulse spoke with Dr. Yolanda Evans, an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s, about simple yet powerful ways we can encourage and teach kids to become activists in their community what this month means to her.
Engage your kids in conversation
It starts with role modeling and engaging in conversation.
“As a family, I encourage having conversations with your kids around differences and embracing differences,” Evans said. “Instead of ignoring or not talking about issues about inequalities and injustices, allow for dialogue and speak in terms appropriate to their age level.”
Evans suggests using books as conversation starters.
“Antiracist Baby is a great book,” Evans said. “There are also other kids’ books that highlight African American contributors which are educational and foster positive role models.”
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Seattle Children’s is dedicated to becoming an anti-racist and equitable health organization.
To realize this vision, we’ve adopted a long-term comprehensive plan with our Anti-Racism Organizational Change and Accelerated Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan. This plan was designed with the guidance and support from our patients, workforce, community and trusted expert leaders on anti-racism work, equity, inclusion and diversity over the last year.
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When it comes to rashes, Seattle Children’s dermatologist Dr. Markus Boos is like a detective. When he meets with patients and families who are concerned about a rash, Boos first listens to their story, looks at their skin for clues and then works with them to determine the cause.
Dr. Markus Boos, Seattle Children’s dermatologist, is grateful to be entrusted by parents to care for their children, and to have the opportunity to do something that he loves every day.
“When I meet with families, there are two important things I always want to emphasize in order to help allay any anxiety they may have,” Boos said. “The first is that we see rashes all the time – literally every day. Their child often has a condition that many other children do as well. Secondly, I reaffirm that I’m glad they came to see me, no matter how mild or severe their skin condition is. I’m a parent and I get it. It’s distressing when something is wrong with your child, and I’m here to help.”
Most of the rashes Boos sees are manageable with topical medications or observation and there is usually no cause for concern, but there are some cases when parents should seek treatment more urgently.
“What should make you worry about a rash is when there are symptoms that involves systems outside the skin, like high fever, vomiting or lethargy,” Boos said. “Those things definitely make me more concerned. For the most part, the majority of common skin rashes won’t have those.” Read full post »
Both the Washington State Department of Health and Seattle Children’s infectious disease expert, Dr. Matthew Kronman, are spreading the word near and far — this year, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated against the flu. The flu vaccine can keep you and your family from getting and spreading the flu to others during the COVID-19 pandemic. We may not have a vaccine for COVID-19 yet, but we do have one for flu.
“The flu vaccine is urgent – every year. Getting the flu vaccine is the single best way to avoid flu illness, flu hospitalization, and even death due to flu for children,” Kronman said. “Yet this year we have an additional reason to strongly encourage parents to get the flu vaccine for their children: COVID-19. The course of the pandemic is unpredictable, and we want to remove any other strains on the healthcare system that we can. In this case, getting the flu vaccine does exactly that.” Read full post »
We are writing to acknowledge the tragic acts of violence and racism happening across our country.
The senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota leave us sickened and heartbroken. While we share our grief with these families and their communities, we must also acknowledge with sorrow our region’s own history of racially motivated violence, discrimination, and marginalization.
These recent events are set against the backdrop and acute pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color in the United States. Added to the burden of this crisis are the magnifying health and economic disparities, which are due to systemic racism and social injustices that have existed for far too long across generations.
These are the moments we cannot be silent—and Seattle Children’s will speak out, oppose racism, and advance our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. We are all affected negatively when one part of our community is burdened by racism and violence, and we are all part of the solution.
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