May 22, 2001
EXCELLENCE IN PEDIATRIC CARE AWARDS ANNOUNCED
SPRINGFIELD Dr. John Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced two pediatricians, a pediatric surgeon, a trauma coordinator and a hospital-based community outreach program as recipients of the 2001 Ron W. Lee, M.D., Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards.
The awards, which are presented by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program, recognize those dedicated to pediatric emergency care and childhood injury prevention initiatives. Individuals or organizations can be nominated in one of three award categories: Lifetime Achievement, Clinical Excellence and Community Service. Nominations for the awards were received from throughout the state.
Following are this year's award recipients:
Lifetime Achievement -- Shrinivas Naidu, M.D., vice chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital, Park Ridge; and Demetra Soter, M.D., pediatric trauma coordinator, Cook County Children's Hospital, Chicago;
Clinical Excellence -- Richard H. Pearl, M.D., director, Pediatric Trauma Program and surgeon-in-chief, Children's Hospital of Illinois, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria;
Community Service -- Valerie Sye-Haritos, R.N., B.S.N., trauma coordinator/emergency medical systems educator, Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield; and the Lead Poisoning Initiative, St. Mary's Hospital, East St. Louis.
Dr. Naidu, a specialist in the field of pediatric critical care, developed the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Lutheran General Children's Hospital, Chicago, in the 1970s. He has dedicated himself to making the pediatric intensive care experience more supportive for patients and their parents. In addition to pediatric critical care, Dr. Naidu also volunteers at a neighborhood clinic on Chicago's near north side and has encouraged pediatric residents and other attending physicians to volunteer in community outreach activities. He has served as an inspiration for the many health care professionals who have worked with him.
Dr. Soter is a pediatrician with a commitment to pediatric trauma, especially in the area of abuse and neglect. As a member of the Division of Child Protective Services at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, she provides consultation on seriously injured children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Department. In an effort to prevent the injuries and violence to which many children are exposed, Dr. Soter has worked to enhance awareness of the issues of child abuse and neglect. As program director of the Cook County Hospital Car Seats Save Lives program, she has instituted initiatives that provide car seat education and resources.
Richard H. Pearl, M.D., established the Pediatric Surgery Center at the Children's Hospital of Illinois. The child-focused center coordinates the pre- and post-operative evaluations of children with multiple medical problems. In addition, Dr. Pearl is involved in community initiatives aimed at decreasing childhood injury. He is a member of the local SAFE KIDS Advisory Council, which works to increase school safety, child passenger safety, traffic safety and neighborhood safety programs.
Valerie Sye-Haritos, R.N., B.S.N., is the trauma coordinator/emergency medical services (EMS) educator at Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield. She is a child passenger safety (CPS) technician/instructor and has enhanced awareness within the Central DuPage EMS system of the need for proper child safety seat installation and use. She has developed an educational program for firefighters, paramedics, hospitals, park districts and police departments on the prevention of motor vehicle injuries. She helped develop the Buckle Up Kids! program, which allows private citizens to anonymously report vehicles in which unbuckled children are riding by calling a hotline number (1-866-933-KIDS) and reporting the violation. Information received by the hotline is forwarded to the West Chicago Police Department, which sends car safety seat educational material and resources to the registered owners of reported vehicles.
The Lead Poisoning Initiative of St. Mary's Hospital in East St. Louis began in 1999 in response to the rate of childhood lead poisoning in the St. Louis metropolitan area, which is approximately four to five times the national average. Much of the older housing contains lead-based paint and lead, from lead smelting and lead paint industries, lingers in the soil. As St. Mary's Hospital moved to address this issue, staff also began to question whether the lead poisoning was related to the high incidence of behavioral and learning problems within the schools. An educational program for schoolchildren was established to teach those in the Washington Park area about the dangers of lead poisoning and about ways to avoid exposure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was contacted to test the soil and identified about 50 lead-contaminated industrial sites. Twenty community groups and three federal agencies formed a group that will test 3,000 children for lead poisoning over the next two years and remove lead from contaminated soil in five target industrial sites.
The Ron W. Lee, M.D., Excellence in Pediatric Care Award is presented annually each May during Emergency Medical Services Week (May 20-26). Dr. Lee was the director of emergency medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and was instrumental in establishing and fostering the EMSC program in Illinois. He passed away in 1998.
The Illinois EMSC program is a collaborative effort of the Department and Loyola University Medical Center of Chicago that was established in 1994 to ensure that the emergency medical care needs of children were adequately addressed.
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