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A quarterly publication of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia



Need a Pediatrician? To make an appointment with a pediatric or adolescent medicine specialist, call

706-721-KIDS (5437).

Welcome To the Children’s Hospital of Georgia!

  The Children’s Medical Center has changed its name to better reflect the scope and depth of the hospital’s statewide service. The new name, the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, was approved in January.

A Place for Children   The 154-bed Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the secondlargest children’s hospital in the state and the only hospital in the area dedicated to children. The hospital cares for the most vulnerable newborns in its Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the most acutely ill children in its Level I Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.   “Since the initial thoughts over 15 years ago of having a dedicated hospital for children, many of us have thought that Children’s Hospital of Georgia was a better and more descriptive name of our hospital…Now, it has finally happened,” said Dr. Charles Howell, Surgeon-in-Chief.

Working Together   Additionally, the recent formation of a statewide Pediatric Health Improvement Coalition centralized the efforts of Georgia’s children’s hospitals. This organization hopes to carve out more funding for kids in the state, leading to better health for children.   “To be involved in working together with the other children’s hospitals across the state concerning quality really speaks well for PHIC and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia,” said Howell.


GEORGIA Kids First

So, What’s In a Name? “The name ‘Children’s Hospital of Georgia’ more closely reflects the vision not only for GRU, but for the children’s hospital itself,” said Dr. Bernard L. Maria, Medical Director of Children’s Hospital of Georgia and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at GRU’s Medical College of Georgia. “We serve children and families from every county in Georgia and beyond. We have pediatric care partnerships in the four corners of the state – Albany, Savannah, Rome and Athens. We are a proven leader, earning top national rankings in quality and safety when compared to our peers. We believe ‘Children’s Hospital of Georgia’ is the right name. It certainly fits.”  

Maria named CMO for Pediatric Health Improvement Coalition


  Dr. Bernard L. Maria, Chairman of Pediatrics and Pediatrician-In-Chief of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, has been appointed Chief Medical Officer for the newly incorporated Pediatric Health Improvement Coalition, a firstin-the-nation network of children’s hospitals and pediatric providers.   According to the 2011 Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard on Child Health System Performance, Georgia ranks 43rd in the country overall, based on key indicators of access and affordability, prevention and treatment, the potential to lead healthy lives and equity.   “Our children’s health is lagging behind most states and quality pediatric care is out of reach for families living in so many of our counties,” Maria said. “We can do better to ensure that our 2.9 million children have access to cost-effective care that produces quality outcomes. PHIC is special because all of the state’s children’s hospitals and its pediatricians are now poised to act in unison to improve child health in Georgia. ”   A child neurologist and brain tumor specialist with a masters degree in business administration, Maria is a proven academic and scientific leader whose contributions to children’s health are well-documented. Maria also holds the Ellington Charles Hawes Distinguished Chair of Pediatrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.   Maria is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Psychiatry and Neurology (Child Neurology). He has been regularly included in “Best Doctors in America” and the Marquis Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.   As the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, the 154-bed Children’s Hospital of Georgia provides the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of complex and comprehensive health care for children.   PHIC represents more than 1,500 pediatric physicians and the five pediatric hospitals in Georgia, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Children’s Hospital of Georgia, Children’s Hospital Memorial in Savannah, MCCG Children’s Hospital in Macon and Children’s Hospital in Columbus. 






  Several members of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia community raised thousands of dollars recently for the American Heart Association.   The hospital fielded a team, the Pediatric Heart Throbs, for the March 9 CSRA Heart Walk benefiting the association. The 56-member team raised $4,700 by collecting pledges for every mile walked on the Greeneway in North Augusta, S.C.   The staff also raised money through a raffle, collecting $900 for a chance at prizes donated from area businesses. The prizes included a gift basket, a night’s stay at the Chateau Elan, a Pandora bracelet, rounds of golf and restaurant gift certificates.  STEPHANIE BURCH (FROM LEFT), BRICEIDA RIVERA (PATIENT), NATASHA EMBRY AND SERENA WILLIAMS.

For more information, call 706-721-0736.

A holiday adoption program for families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was designed to raise funds and collect gifts, but the community response has far exceeded expectations.   “It went really well; we were able to adopt every family in need,” said Children’s Hospital of Georgia Social Worker Cara Bryan, who organized the event. “We were able to give every family a gift and helped so many people. The response was so great that we even had some left over that we are going to use to help needy families in the future.”   Bryan and her husband, Cory, initially solicited help from the Medical College of Georgia Class of 2013.   “We had donations from every class at the Medical College of Georgia, several from different parts of the hospital and university, and some from the community,” Bryan said.   In fact, one afterschool class at Best Friends Day Care in North Augusta contacted the Children’s Hospital of Georgia because they wanted to do something special for the patients for the holidays. This program fit their needs perfectly. In the end, Bryan said they collected over $2,000 in cash, over $3,000 in gift cards, and a lot of toys, strollers, mobiles and baby clothes. One person even donated nights at a hotel room for families with sick children.   They also hosted a holiday lunch in Georgia Regents Medical Center’s Terrace Dining, complete with turkey, ham and all the holiday favorites. Almost every family in the NICU participated in the lunch. 


Heart Walk Raffle

“The outpouring of team efforts in support of the American Heart Association has been amazing. What a joy to see staff throughout the CHOG join forces to improve the cardiovascular health of children and adults,” said Ann Hayes, Nurse Manager, Pediatric Perioperative Services.

Pediatric Perioperative Services For more information,

GEORGIA Kids First

GRMC Neurosurgeon Publishes Children’s Book


  Dr. Cargill H. Alleyne Jr. was taking his family to Disney World four years ago when he had an idea for a children’s book.   “It was a long drive, and my kids started asking questions about the brain,” Alleyne said. “So the Neurosurgery Chief at Georgia Regents Medical Center began to share his scientific knowledge about the brain with his son and daughter.”     “I started droning on and on about the brain, and I think they started to fall asleep. So, I began making up limericks about the brain instead – how it looks and how it functions. I had to stop and scribble things down a few times so I wouldn’t forget. But by the end of the trip, I basically had the book written.”   “Ned’s Head” was published in July 2012 through Create Space self-publishing. It is a light-hearted, rhyming book that examines what’s inside a little boy’s head. The boy’s name is Ned, and while getting ready for bed one night, he wonders what’s inside his head. Readers are taken on a ride through the inside of Ned’s brain, getting acquainted with all of the nerves and parts of the brain that help answer questions many kids have, such as “How do I smile or frown? How do my eyes move around? How do I taste?” and “How do I stick out my tongue?”   In addition to the facts presented in “Ned’s Head,” a glossary at the end of the book provides definitions and pronunciations of the medical terms. The illustrators included small hidden heads in each illustration for readers to find.   Those illustrators are Michael A. Jensen and Karen G. Bradley. Jensen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Illustration in the Georgia Regents University’s College of Allied Health Sciences. Besides medical drawings and artwork, Jensen has illustrated 12 “Curious George” children’s books. Bradley, who received her degree in medical illustration from GRU,


is an award-winning medical illustrator and founder of KB Illustrations.   “When I first thought of the book, I wasn’t even thinking of the actual character,” said Alleyne, who holds the Marshall Allen Distinguished Chair in the Medical College of Georgia’s Department of Neurosurgery at GRU.     “It was actually Jensen who came up with Ned’s character as an African-American boy. And, I thought, ‘That’s great, because I think it would be a good way to interest a group of kids who may not be thinking about doing neurology or neurosurgery.’ ”   Dr. Alleyne plans a wide spectrum of these books with diverse topics and characters. “I’ve already written the text for Bart’s Heart, Joan’s Bones, Nelly’s Belly and Malachi’s Eye,” he said. Other books would likely be about Russell’s muscles and Keith’s teeth. Besides promoting reading, Alleyne says the children’s book series is a way of introducing kids to medicine at an early age.   “I think that kids are smarter and smarter these days, and if you lead them in the right direction, they may get turned onto something. It’s a neat way to introduce them to their own body and what’s going on. We may get a new crop of physicians down the road.”   “Ned’s Head” received an honorable mention at the 2012 Fall Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. It is available for purchase on 


NED’S HEAD To buy,

Children’s Hospital of Georgia Opens NICU Milk Lab


Breast milk offers premature babies:

  In order to optimize nutrition for its most vulnerable newborns, the Children’s Hospital of Georgia has opened a Milk Lab in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to process and store breast milk for premature babies.

“Breast milk is a baby’s first vaccine and is especially important for the premature baby.”

  “Breast milk is a baby’s first vaccine and is especially important for the premature baby,” said Amy Gates, a pediatric nutritionist. “In the very first days of a baby’s life, there are more white cells in the mother’s milk than there are in blood. Mom’s milk acts like an anti-antibiotic. Instead of treating these babies for infections – which they are more susceptible to because they are underdeveloped – we give them something that helps prevent these infections in the first place,” said Gates.   A dedicated milk lab technician typically processes and stores breast milk for about 25 NICU babies a day at the CHOG. Many of the babies weigh less than 3 pounds.   “Babies this small cannot go to mother’s breast. They can’t latch on yet, and they don’t have the ability to suck, swallow, breathe,” said Gates. “So the breast milk has to be expressed, or pumped, by the mother and stored in the Milk Lab for the baby’s feedings.”


 Decreased need for intravenous fluids  Reduced risk of digestive problems  Improved growth and development  Reduced vomit and spitting up

  Mother’s first milk, called colostrum, is swabbed inside the baby’s mouth. Then, the breast milk is administered through a white feeding tube about the thickness of a strand of angel hair pasta. This line is inserted through the nose or mouth, and the babies are fed about one-and-a-half milliliters, or about onefourth of a teaspoonful of milk, every three hours.    “The babies aren’t just small, they are immature,” said Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, chief of the Section of Neonatology at Georgia Health Sciences University’s Medical College of Georgia and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition.


GEORGIA Kids First

IHop Flips For Kids

I   “Their systems are not fully developed, and they don’t have the capacity to break down the more complex fats and proteins in a cow’s milk diet,” according to Bhatia.   Two years ago, only about one-fourth of CHOG NICU patients were being fed breast milk exclusively. Today, more than three-fourths of the moms are providing breast milk to their babies.

  IHOP served free short stacks all day long on National Pancake Day Feb. 5, in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. All local proceeds went to Children’s Hospital of Georgia, the area’s only children’s hospital.   More than 1,500 IHOP restaurants across the United States, including four in the Augusta-Aiken area, invited diners to enjoy a complimentary short stack of IHOP’s signature buttermilk pancakes and to consider donating what they would have paid, or more, for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.   IHOP’s Pancake Day brought in more than $3,200 for the Children’s Medical Center in 2012.   “Those funds were used by our respiratory therapy team to purchase specialized equipment for patients with asthma and other breathing issues,” said Catherine Stewart, CMN Development Coordinator. “The Children’s Hospital of Georgia is a not-for-profit hospital, so we are truly grateful for the financial support from our community we receive through special events like National Pancake Day.”


“There are no therapies or medications that we can provide that will match what mother can provide.”   “There are no therapies or medications that we can provide that will match what mother can provide. A baby should be connected to a placenta, but that’s been removed. So we do the next best thing and help mother provide what only she can produce that is specifically designed for her baby,” Bhatia said.   For moms unable to provide breast milk, donor milk can be acquired though the Human Milk Banking Association of America. 

PHOTO: JOHN HARPER Local participating IHOPs:  2525 Washington Road, Augusta, Ga.  3125 Peach Orchard Road, Augusta, Ga.  4361 Washington Road, Evans, Ga.  180 Aiken Mall Drive, Aiken, S.C.

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Georgia Kids First Spring 2013  

Georgia Kids First is a quarterly publication for the Department of Pediatrics at Georgia Regents University.

Georgia Kids First Spring 2013  

Georgia Kids First is a quarterly publication for the Department of Pediatrics at Georgia Regents University.