Boston, Mass. – The Department of Health and Human Services has recognized Boston Children's Hospital's Kidney Transplant Program as a national leader in its field. The program received a Silver Level Award at a Medal of Honor Ceremony held yesterday at the Seventh National Learning Congress in Grapevine, Texas. Awards were granted by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice based on measurements of a program's performance in key areas including how quickly patients received a transplant after being placed on the waiting list, post-transplant graft survival rates and patient mortality rates while waiting for an organ to become available.
Over 700 transplant programs were reviewed. Of them only 174 were recognized for their achievements, with one center awarded Gold Level status, 44 awarded Silver Level status and 129 given a Bronze Level status.
Boston Children's Kidney Transplant Program was the only program in New England – adult or pediatric – to be recognized at the Silver Level. Its scores for transplant rate and patient mortality rate while on the waitlist stood out among the other programs.
"We are honored to receive this recognition," said William Harmon, MD, medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Boston Children's. "It's a wonderful testament to our team and their management of patients pre- and post-transplant, as well as our ability to transplant kids quickly and successfully."
Boston Children's is the #1 ranked nephrology department by U.S. News & World Report, and is the only program in New England solely dedicated to caring for young children and teens. The program also offers the only specialized pediatric dialysis unit in New England. Children cared for by Boston Children's Kidney Transplant Program who are placed on the national organ donor list spend an average of three months waiting for a kidney to become available, as opposed to the national average of six to 12 months for children.
The program has graft and patient survival rates consistent with other top programs in the country, even while handling some of the world's most complicated cases. It's also on the forefront of research, always working to develop and implement better therapies such as an innovative steroid avoidance procedures, which has greatly reduced the amount of immunosuppression drugs transplant patients need to take after surgery.
But according to Harmon, the program's true strength is a sum of its parts. "We take an innovative approach towards immunosuppression, but we also have surgeons who perform very innovative surgeries on some of the world's sickest children, and a support staff that really understand how to care for children and their families," he says. "Many programs are dominated by either medical or surgical department, but our program is fully a team effort, which benefits all."
Boston Children's Hospital is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and nine members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Boston Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children's today is a 395 bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Boston Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about research and clinical innovation at Boston Children's, visit: http://vectorblog.org.
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