Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Experts from Children’s National Medical Center and its Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation highlighted key issues around shared global challenges in children’s health at the second annual World Health Care Congress Middle East (WHCC), which takes place in Abu Dhabi this week.
During the Congress, a panel of doctors from Children’s National highlighted challenges – shared by the UAE and the U.S. – around common children’s diseases, including obesity, asthma, and diabetes. Moderated by Peter Kim, MD, PhD, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, the team presented research and developments in these worldwide pediatric diseases. Since 1870, Children’s National has developed unique programs to improve care for children in the Washington, DC, metro area, which has some of the highest rates of pediatric asthma, obesity, and diabetes in the U.S. Several of these initiatives, including obesity programs, could be translatable to the Gulf region as well. The panel included:
Fran Cogen, MD, Director, Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes Program at Children’s National, outlined the trends in medications and device technology that control diabetes symptoms in children, including: Insulin pump therapies, Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems, Artificial Pancreas (a marriage of the insulin pump and the continuous glucose sensor) and the application of smart phone technology (such as Calorie King, Carbohydrate Counting with Lenny, BMI tools, Pocket A1c, and communication between the caregiver and child via text messages, etc.).
Stephen Teach, MD, Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National, illustrated some of the challenges faced in treating and managing asthma in children – which is a growing concern in the UAE – including taking into account environmental, individual, social, and medical factors for each child. He offered insight into potential new interventions and promising clinical models to help families more effectively manage pediatric asthma, such as immunomodulation, in which medications are used to alter the body’s response to common asthma triggers and may mitigate the disease.
Evan Nadler, MD, Co-Director of the Obesity Institute at Children’s National and a Principal Investigator in the Sheikh Zayed Institute, covered current trends in adult and childhood obesity in the U.S. and Middle East, including the increasing use of bariatric surgery for patients with extreme obesity.
“Washington, DC, has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity anywhere, and so does the United Arab Emirates. We also share challenges in asthma and diabetes, and other areas,” said Dr. Kim. “Much can be learned at conferences like the World Health Care Congress, where we gather expertise across disciplines to find innovative applications that can be replicated across the world, thus building a network of sustainable initiatives that address the pediatric health challenges in the Gulf region and around the world".
In addition to the luncheon, Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, Acting Executive Vice President for Ambulatory Services and Senior Vice President of the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children's National Medical Center, participated in one of the WHCC’s Keynote Panel discussions, entitled, “Promoting Healthy Lifestyles.” Dr. Cora-Bramble joined a group of local and international experts, including renowned TV Chef, Osama El Sayed, to discuss a variety of approaches to healthy living education. The group also discussed how health care professionals can impact the community by promoting health awareness in all aspects of a child’s life, where they learn, eat, live, play, and pray.
Dr. Cora-Bramble said: “Promoting and encouraging healthier lifestyles for adults and children is a challenge that crosses the physical boundaries of individual countries and the invisible boundaries of culture and community. Virtually every country is struggling to find ways to reduce the number of people suffering from diseases like asthma, obesity, and diabetes.”
Children’s National is becoming a recognized international leader in pediatric specialty care and research. Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute work side by side with clinical and policy leaders from academic medical centers, corporations, and nonprofit organizations to translate research into areas of care that have a global impact. The International Programs office recently celebrated its 15th anniversary of coordinating care for families from around the world. Additionally, in the past year alone, Children’s National faculty members have traveled to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India, Germany, Canada, and many other countries to collaborate with local doctors in the treatment of children and exchange best practices and new ideas on shared global health priorities, including obesity and diabetes.
The World Health Care Congress Middle East was held December 11 to 13, 2011 in Abu Dhabi.
Contact: Jennifer Stinebiser or Emily Hartman, 202-476-4500.