Stanford Medicine magazine showcases new approaches in pediatric care

The magazine’s fall issue highlights the ways specialists are using the latest technology and treatments to put children and their families at the center of care. It also includes an inside peek at the new Packard Children’s Hospital.

- By Patricia Hannon

Christopher Silas Neal

There’s something special about children and how they approach their world — wide-eyed, curious, energetic, creative, playful and trusting. They’re also vulnerable, and that’s why they count on the adults in their lives to take good care of them.

But when they’re sick, that can be a challenge, especially for the medical professionals who are trying to make them better in an environment that’s traditionally been designed around adult care.

The new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine, which was produced in collaboration with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, shows how physicians, researchers and caregivers are transforming pediatric care to ensure that treatment puts children — and their families — at the center of their health care more than ever before.

Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, writes in his letter to readers that finding better and more precise medical options for children depends on a close “collaboration between Stanford Medicine researchers and clinicians who routinely bring medical advances from their laboratories to the benefit of our pediatric patients.” Caring for children, he said, calls for special tools and strategies.

“The risk-to-benefit relationship is very different in children,” Pejman Ghanouni, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology, said in a story about how he and other physicians are reimagining an adult-focused ultrasound treatment to successfully shrink some bone tumors in children. The procedure prevents children from having to undergo invasive surgery or radiation treatments that can be more harmful to them than to adults. “Kids are not small adults, so we really need different treatment options,” he said.

Hospital expansion

Lucile Packard’s belief in the importance of family and nature in the healing process is reflected in every corner of the 521,000-square-foot addition to the children’s hospital that bears her name. The issue provides an inside look at the new facility, where every room has a planter box outside it and a view of a sweeping garden where children can play. The patient rooms are designed for families to use as gathering spaces, with extra sleeping space for two people. Animal sculptures and mosaics help families find their way around the hospital.

The facility includes the most advanced equipment and technologies to improve diagnostics and treatment with children and teens in mind.

Also featured in this pediatrics-themed issue:

  • A story about a promising immunotherapy treatment known as CAR T-cell therapy, which relies on the use of a patient’s own genetically modified immune cells to track down and attack leukemia cells.
  • A look at how the shortage of affordable housing in the Bay Area puts the health care of children at risk, and how Stanford pediatricians are working with social service and housing agencies to help tackle the problem.
  • An interview with Save the Children CEO Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who said that for her organization, “There is nothing more urgent than protecting children in armed conflict.”
  • A story about how virtual reality is being used to calm anxieties in fearful children and teens undergoing sometimes frightening medical procedures, as well as to help them understand their illnesses and how their physicians plan to treat them.

The issue also includes a look at how Joseph Woo, MD, professor and chair of cardiothoracic surgery, and his colleagues are increasingly using a patient’s own tissues to repair, rather than replace, damaged aortic valves to give patients better long-term outcomes.

In addition, issue includes an excerpt from a book by wilderness medicine experts Paul Auerbach, MD, a professor of emergency medicine at Stanford, and Jay Lemery, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at University of Colorado. In Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health, the authors lay out the adverse health effects linked to global warming and call on physicians to lead the way in raising awareness of the problem.

The magazine is available online. Print copies are being sent to subscribers. Others can request a copy at (650) 723-6911 or by sending an email to

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

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