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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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 »
This past year, as many individuals sought health care through telemedicine, a question formed in Dr. Gina Sequeira’s mind. As the co-director of the Gender Clinic at Seattle Children’s, her mission is to make gender-affirming care accessible for all youth, and so the capabilities of telehealth are rightfully an exciting new territory to explore. With the growth of telemedicine and its potential to improve access to care, Sequeira wanted to better understand gender diverse youths’ experiences with and satisfaction receiving virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published in Transgender Health, Sequeira, the lead author, found the majority of youth who participated in the study were satisfied with telemedicine and would be willing to use it again in the future. Although many said they preferred in-person visits, about 88% of gender diverse adolescents were satisfied with conducting gender clinic visits using telemedicine.
“Telemedicine has been a great way for us to support gender diverse youth and their families during the pandemic. Because of the limited number of pediatric gender-affirming care providers in the region, prior to the pandemic, many families experienced geographic and cost related barriers to receiving this care. We are hopeful that by continuing to offer gender clinic visits over telemedicine we will be able to overcome some of those barriers.” Sequeira said. Read full post »
Dr. Monique Burton, medical director of Sports Medicine at Seattle Children’s, will be sharing her vaccination experience with the athletes she cares for and the community at large.
Dr. Monique Burton is the medical director of Sports Medicine at Seattle Children’s, Chair of the USA Track and Field Sports Medicine Science Committee, and a physician for the U.S. Track and Field team who will travel with the team to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Burton received a COVID-19 vaccine and documented her experience to share with athletes and the community at large. Here, she shares her understanding of vaccine hesitancy among people of color, and how she wants to provide the community with information and tools so they can make informed decisions for themselves.
Last year, when I learned a COVID-19 vaccine would soon be available, I wanted to learn more. I was inquisitive and perhaps even a little hesitant. This vaccine was different from the longstanding vaccines my children and I had previously received. If I was prescribed a new medication I wouldn’t hesitate to ask questions, and I approached this new vaccine the same way.
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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 »
In December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. This was hailed as a turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, many people are hesitant about these new vaccines for a variety of reasons, and the proliferation of misinformation can make it difficult to know what to believe.
On the Pulse spoke with Seattle Children’s experts, Dr. Douglas Diekema, director of education, Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics and chair of Children’s Institutional Review Board Committee, and Dr. Douglas Opel, director of Clinical Ethics about vaccine hesitancy. Their answers were honest, compassionate and substantiated by data. Read full post »
This year has been filled with unprecedented challenges – physically, mentally, financially – and families are looking forward to putting 2020 behind them. As we collectively usher in a new year, it’s an opportune time to think about small changes we can make to better children’s health in 2021.
Dr. Pooja Tandon, a researcher in the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, says this year has caused all kinds of disruptions to children’s lives, unlike anything we’ve seen before. Routines have been shattered, physical activity has decreased, sleep has been affected and the hardships of the year like uncertainty and isolation have impacted children’s mental health.
“Many things are hard right now,” Tandon said. “But for the things we have control over, we can make little changes that can promote health.”
Below, three experts break down three key areas to help support better health in 2021 – physical activity, sleep and nutrition. Read full post »
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 »
Vitamin D is a critical nutrient and has many important functions in the body. A mother’s vitamin D supply is passed to her baby in utero and helps regulate processes including brain development. A study published today in The Journal of Nutrition showed that mothers’ vitamin D levels during pregnancy were associated with their children’s IQ, suggesting that higher vitamin D levels in pregnancy may lead to greater childhood IQ scores. The study also identified significantly lower levels of vitamin D levels among Black pregnant women.
Melissa Melough, the lead author of the study and research scientist in the Center of Child Health, Behavior, and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, says vitamin D deficiency is common among the general population as well as pregnant women, but notes that Black women are at greater risk. Melough says she hopes the study will help health care providers address disparities among women of color and those who are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. 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 »