The Sheikh Zayed Institute’s Pediatric Pain Medicine Clinicwill open its doors to patient in early January 2013. The clinic opening is the latest direct result of research and development undertaken at the Sheikh Zayed Institute in Washington, DC, and is a key accomplishment toward the vision of the Sheikh Zayed Institute, which aims to find ways to reduce or eliminate pain in children.
The Washington, DC, Sheikh Zayed Institute at Children’s National Medical Center- which was made possible by a $150m gift from the government of Abu Dhabi in 2009-is responsible for the creation of the clinic at Children’s National. Doctors and researchers across the institute will stay closely linked, so that the institute’s ongoing research can continually lead to improved methods of pain management and minimization for children.
“It is very satisfying to share the news that the gift that created the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation is developing projects that are improving the quality of life for children from around the world. We share with the United Arab Emirates a common vision:making pediatric care more precise, less invasive, and painfree. This clinic is just one example of advances made possible by our collaboration with the UAE. Through this and other collaborative efforts, we are able to explore technological innovation in areas like pain medicine and minimally invasive surgery to find new solutions that improve the lives of children,” said Dr. Peter Kim, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute at Children’s National.
The clinic will not only treat a child’s pain using the most advanced therapies possible, it will also learn from the patients about methods that might work better, by objectively collecting data about a patient’s progress to determine what is working and what is not. Research already ongoing within the Sheikh Zayed Institute’s Pain Medicine Initiative will be harnessed to improve care as well. This includes new genetic research exploring how children process or respond to a drug to gauge which medications might work better for a specific type of pain. The research also helps in understanding the pathways of pain, and how to reprogram those pathways effectively using multi-sensory and comprehensive treatment approaches.
“As a surgeon and scientist, my work is dedicated to minimizing the pain children feel before, during, and after surgery,” said Craig A. Peters, MD, chief of Surgical Technology and Translation and Lead, Innovation and Education Initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute.
“While my studies focus on finding better ways to operate on children, like robotic surgery and other minimally invasive approaches that reduce recovery time and pain for children who need surgery, it is an exciting development to know that our institute is also tackling the long term pain some children experience through this clinic and the related research. We are attempting to address the issue of pain in children on every level simultaneously, and that multi-faceted focus is what makes the Sheikh Zayed Institute at Children’s different from any other initiative in the world.” The clinic seeks to provide families with access to experts from all disciplines of pain management–including psychology, physical therapy, alternative therapies, and traditional medical treatments in one location to ease the burden of treatment for families by allowing them to access care in one place. As every child’s pain is unique, the clinic will adopt a “personalized” approach, and will tailor treatment plans to each child and family. Treatment options could include traditional medical care including medications, physical therapy, and psychological support, as well as integrated alternative therapies like acupuncture, when needed.
Dr. Julia Finkel, Associate Chief of the Division of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and Lead Principal Investigator at the Sheikh Zayed Institute, who is one of the founders of the Pain Clinic, said: “The Pediatric Pain Medicine Clinic will boast some of the world’s best faculty members working on innovative pediatric treatment and care that improves the lives of children. This work will be supported by the Sheikh Zayed Institute’s ongoing research, which will identify better methods to understand a child’s pain, more conclusive and objective methods to measure it, and a multi-faceted approach to treating and managing it. We are already making tremendous progress in how we understand and treat pain, and this clinic is our next big step.” WAM/TF