Director's letter to the community

Jeffrey Hord, MD

Jeffrey Hord, MD

The Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children's Hospital is always working to provide the highest quality, family-centered care to the children of our region who are fighting cancer and blood disorders. Initiatives driven by this mission in 2010 included the opening of the Young Women’s Bleeding Disorder Clinic, a specialty clinic of hematology and adolescent health to serve a growing population.

Our staff continues to be very involved in a growing number of quality improvement projects. Two major projects in 2010 included our center’s lead role in a national collaborative to reduce central line infections among our patient population and efforts to deliver intravenous (IV) antibiotics to patients at greatest risk for serious infection within one hour of arrival to our clinic, inpatient unit or Emergency department.

In 2010, national groups reviewed our program and also found that we are delivering high quality care. The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded our program its highest award, a 3-year accreditation award with commendation. Further, after an extensive application process, the National Marrow Donor Program accepted us into their organization as a Pediatric Transplant Center.

Between 1999-2008, approximately 40 percent of our patients in need of a bone marrow transplant (BMT) were referred elsewhere, as unrelated bone marrow transplants were not performed at Akron Children’s Hospital. Recognizing the importance of keeping children near their homes and support networks, we expanded our transplant program in 2009 to include unrelated BMTs. In 2009, two unrelated transplants were performed at Akron Children’s and three more were performed in 2010. We are very happy that in 2010, 12 of our 13 patients who needed a BMT received their transplants close to home at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Research efforts within the center led to a record 277 clinical trial enrollments, 13 presentations at national and regional medical meetings and five publications. Our staff’s outreach activities reached several hundred thousand people. These activities included school presentations, participation in health fairs and community parades, awareness walks, library displays, distribution of bookmarks and church bulletin inserts, podcasts and newspaper and TV interviews.

To provide comprehensive programs and services to our patients and families, the Showers Center depends on the generosity and support of individuals and organizations throughout the region. With the difficult economic climate in 2010, the needs of our families continued to be great and we used more than $600,000 in philanthropic gifts to meet these needs.

Please read through our 2010 annual report to learn more about our center and how our team continually works to improve our services. This year we highlight our Cancer Survivorship Program, which provides multidisciplinary care to our childhood cancer survivors.

Now that 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer today will be cured, it is essential that we have a specialized team to provide long-term, follow-up care to identify and treat some of the complications of prior therapy. You will also meet three courageous patients and our most experienced hematologist-oncologist, Dr. Mohammad Talaizadeh.

Finally, I hope the story of a grateful mother, who was inspired to reach out and help others by building the “Links for Life” program, causes each of you to reflect on how you can support us in the future. We need the talents of our staff, the facilities of our hospital, and the support of our community to care for the children and families of northeast Ohio who are facing some of the most serious challenges imaginable.

With great appreciation to all of our friends,

Jeffrey D. Hord, MD
Director, Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders

Dr. Hord's letter to the community
Publication: Showers Family Center Newsletter
Issue: 2010 Annual Report

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