Dr. Catherine Tcheandjieu featured in #BlackinCardio Week

The Black In Cardio Week ran from 19 to 25 October 2020, where eight researchers organized a series of virtual activities and panels to both celebrate Black scientists in the cardiovascular field and raise awareness about the risks of cardiovascular diseases in the Black community.

With supporters including the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Cardiovascular Research Institute of Vermont, the Black In Cardio Week events covered several topics, including career advice, destigmatizing cardiovascular research in Black communities, and the future of the field.

“Black people have been involved in the evolution of science and medicine for a long time, but they haven’t been heard of,” says co-organizer Catherine Tcheandjieu, who is a post-doctoral fellow at the Stanford School of Medicine. “The more you see yourself in people that did great, the more you can relate.”

Governor Newsom Names Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to Advise State on COVID-19 Vaccines

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today named a group of nationally acclaimed California physician scientists with expertise in immunization and public health to the state’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup that will independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine that receives FDA approval for distribution. While there is no proven vaccine for COVID-19 yet, these top health experts – guided by the principles of safety, equity and transparency – will review any vaccine that receives federal approval and verify its safety, before California makes a COVID-19 vaccine available to those most at risk.

The Scientific Safety Review Workgroup is a key piece of the state’s initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday. Many vaccine candidates are in clinical trials currently, and California is putting a system in place for the distribution and administration of vaccine as supply becomes available.

TODAY Show: How can you track community spread of COVID-19 in your area?

When it comes to measuring the prevalence of the coronavirus, one term frequently comes up: community spread.

Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California, said that high levels of community spread can indicate a virus is circulating in a community.

"The likelihood of (community spread) is much higher in communities where there are more cases and where there is less mask-wearing, where there's more mingling of humans in higher-risk situations," she said.

The Other Pandemic

Though the pandemic has affected every family differently and presents numerous challenges to all, special needs families are now experiencing an entirely different pandemic than the rest of us.

"Children with special needs, are experiencing similar challenges (as their peers) but with greater intensity and with fewer personal resources to manage the stress of these challenges," explains Heidi Feldman, a professor of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Stanford University's School of Medicine. No child likes to wear a face mask or spend hours a day learning in front of a screen, she observes, but such circumstances are worse for children with special needs who may lack the ability to comprehend why they have to make such changes in the first place.

Easier-to-use technology helps young people with type 1 diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes must check their blood sugar levels several times per day, including before eating, then calculate how much insulin to inject. Handheld glucometers require frequent, painful finger pricks to get a drop of blood for testing. Also, because middle-of-the-night checks are needed to catch dangerously low sugar levels, it's difficult for patients and their parents to get a good night's sleep.

The newest continuous glucose monitoring systems rely on a wearable sensor with a thin platinum wire inserted just under the patient's skin, so patients don't have to prick their fingers.

C. Jason Wang, MD, PhD, is leading efforts in response to the coronavirus by developing research projects related to reopening the U.S. economy, improving the safety of air travel during the pandemic, and getting kids back into classrooms.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics C. Jason Wang, MD, PhD, thinks the messaging around mask wearing could use a makeover. He cites a recent study from researchers at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania that found faces with masks were rated as more attractive than those unobstructed by fabric. 

“Hey, if you wear a mask, people think you're more attractive,” says Dr. Wang, suggesting that this new announcement amplified with the right advertising could work well, particularly on teenagers.

Appealing to people’s vanity is one of the more playful ideas Dr. Wang has about how to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. As the former project manager of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Reform Task-force, he in fact spends much of his time studying global responses to the coronavirus in order to make recommendations about what to do here in the United States. He is forthcoming with his knowledge and advice, which is grounded in his expertise as a pediatrician, policy analyst, and health services researcher.

‘I’ve trained my whole life for this’

In the eye of the pandemic, viral disease expert Bonnie Maldonado, MD still has hope.

More than six months into the pandemic, her optimism has not waned. “I was always hopeful, and I still have hope,” she said. “We can conquer this disease. We’ve conquered other diseases like this or worse.

“It’s scary and horrifying that we have to learn about this virus through this living experiment that we are undergoing. But I really think that, in the end, I’ve learned more in the past seven months than I’ve learned about anything else over my lifetime. It’s really moved very quickly.”

Taiwan led the world in closing down for Covid-19, now it wants to do the same with opening back up

As the global number of confirmed Covid-19 cases surpasses 30 million, residents of Taipei seem relaxed in the knowledge there has been only one suspected case linked to local transmission in the city since mid-April.

And in Taiwan as a whole, an island with a population of approximately 23 million people, there have been around 500 confirmed cases and just 7 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

And that's despite it being located just 130 kilometers (81 miles) from China, the country where the virus was first detected.

One of the main reasons for Taiwan's success in containing the virus is speed.

The island's leaders were quick to act as rumors spread online of an unidentified virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan and unconfirmed reports of patients having to isolate.

NPR: With Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Doses, Who Would Get Them First?

It's still unknown when a COVID-19 vaccine might be available in the United States. But when one is first approved, there may only be 10 million to 15 million doses available, which may be enough to cover around 3% to 5% of the U.S. population. That's according to estimates from Operation Warp Speed, the government's vaccine project, published in a draft framework from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

There are many who would benefit from the protection a safe and effective vaccine would afford; policymakers must decide who gets the vaccine first.

A vaccine advisory group to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meeting Tuesday to consider how to prioritize distribution of a future COVID-19 vaccine. But a vote on who will get a vaccine first, originally planned for Tuesday, has been delayed.

Priority groups include "those who have the highest risk of exposure, those who are at risk for severe morbidity and mortality ... [and also] the workforce that's needed for us to maintain our both health and economic status," said Dr. Grace Lee, a pediatrics professor at Stanford Children's Hospital and a member of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices or ACIP. Lee spoke for herself, not the committee.

Classroom learning with safety in mind: A pediatrician’s thoughts

Educators across the country are making tough choices when planning for this school year. Many are extending virtual learning plans launched when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the spring, while others are reopening classrooms for in-person instruction or doing some combination of the two.

Stanford Medicine pediatrician Jason Wang, MD, PhD, reviewed the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for schools choosing to reopen, analyzing the academy's recommendations to provide a realistic view of the costs involved in sending children back to school safely.

Halloween 2020 and COVID-19: What is changing this year?

Most of 2020 has been altered by the coronavirus pandemic, and the spookiest night of the year is likely to be no different.

Health experts are urging caution and care during Halloween, asking that people avoid large parties and events and stay safe while trick-or-treating. Some organizations have already canceled their October events, while others are working to move the fun online.

"It's very hard for me to figure out how you're going to do the normal trick-or-treating, the normal Halloween," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases and health research and policy at Stanford Health Care. "Now, that said ... people can be creative."

Congratulations to Kamaal Jones (PGY3) who won the national AAP Section of Pediatric Trainees Inaugural Essay Writing Competition. 

The winning essay by Dr Kamaal Jones was focused on amplifying the voice of gun violence survivors. Dr Jones eloquently implores us to offer gun violence survivors “A Seat at the Table,” so that our policies may be shaped by survivors’ lived experiences and calls for change. This inspiring piece reminds us that listening to the community is a critical first step in our advocacy efforts and that doing so can empower us to make the greatest impact. Names and minor identifying details have been altered to protect the privacy of group members ("A Seat at the Table: Centering the Voices of Gun Violence Survivors")   


Teen Van Brings Health and Hope during COVID-19

For more than two decades, the Stanford Children’s Health Teen Van has been a vital resource for underserved youth across the Bay Area. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has stepped up in an even bigger way—providing testing, food and supplies for local families, many of whom live in communities hit hardest by the virus.

Today, the Van is run by Arash Anoshiravani, MD, who once completed an adolescent medicine fellowship under now-retired Ammerman, along with a nurse practitioner, a social worker, a dietician, and a registrar/driver. The Van travels to nine sites across Santa Clara and San Mateo County, including local high schools and youth centers, providing no-cost vaccines, mental health care, contraceptives, physical exams, nutritional counseling and more to patients ages 10 to 25.

Why the Coronavirus More Often Strikes Children of Color

Children in minority communities are much more likely to become infected and severely ill. Many have parents who are frontline workers, experts say.

Of more than 180,000 Americans who have died of Covid-19, fewer than 100 are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But children of color comprise the majority of those who have died of Covid-19.

Flu season faces never-before-seen challenge: COVID-19

A double-whammy of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season has health professionals worried there will be a large surge in hospitalizations and that some people could contract both diseases.

They are urging people to get vaccinated for influenza, while preparing to administer the vaccines in ways they haven't done before.

"It's never good to have two infections circulating at the same time that affect the lungs," Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, Stanford professor of pediatric infectious diseases and health research and policy, said during a recent interview. "Clearly, we are worried. Influenza is another pandemic. It's a pretty significant health problem.

Sounding the mental health alarm: the psychological distress of living through a pandemic, and how to build resilience

For many Americans, aspects of ordinary life — working in an office, going to school, eating inside a restaurant, hugging a friend — still feel impossibly unsafe. Amid continued uncertainty about when the COVID-19 pandemic will be brought under control, Stanford mental health experts are planning for the psychological fallout of having an entire population under prolonged stress.

“We’ve all been talking about virus surges. What we’ve been preparing for in psychiatry is a surge in mental health problems,” said child and adolescent psychiatrist Victor Carrion, MD, director of the Stanford Early Life Stress and Resilience Program.

COVID-19 and Children

It’s the question on every family’s mind: When will it be it safe to send kids back to school? The answer hinges in part on what science shows about the virus’ impact on children and adolescents. 

“The virus is following certain rules,” says Yvonne Maldonado, MD, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases and of health research and policy at Stanford Medicine. “It takes time to see a pattern and to feel comfortable with it.”

On this episode of School’s In, Maldonado joins Stanford Graduate School of Education Dean Dan Schwartz and Senior Lecturer Denise Pope to talk about what research suggests about COVID-19 in children—including the age at which masks become a useful intervention, and what she recommends for parents if they learn that someone in their child’s classroom has tested positive for COVID-19.

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford Named as a Top 10 Children's Hospital in the Nation by US News & World Report

STANFORD, Calif.—Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has been named among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2020–2021 Best Children’s Hospitals survey, published today.

The rankings show Packard Children’s Hospital as the top children’s hospital in Northern California and placed on the Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll, a designation awarded to pediatric centers that deliver exceptionally high-quality care across multiple specialties.

“The Honor Roll distinction is a direct result of the enduring pursuit of excellence and commitment to children’s health by our health care workers, staff, and providers, who make this level of care achievable,” said Paul King, president and chief executive officer of Stanford Children’s Health. “Thanks to them, our patients—children, expectant mothers, and their families—can have the confidence that they and their loved ones are receiving the finest care available anywhere.”