Texas Children’s Hospital & Baylor College of Medicine to Lead New Federal Pediatric Disaster Network to Coordinate Care Across Five Gulf States, Georgia and Puerto Rico
Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine will lead the Gulf Coast in establishing a regional pediatric disaster network to improve the planning and delivery of specialized pediatric care during widespread crises with a new federal grant.
The primary aim of the Gulf 7—Pediatric Disaster Network (G7) is to ensure a seamless, comprehensive response to disaster events involving child health in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico.
G7 will create an expansive network of subject matter experts in local and regional disaster preparedness; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) injuries; trauma; burns; behavioral health; emergency medical services (EMS); telemedicine; education; maternal and fetal medicine; and law and ethics to enhance collective pediatric disaster preparedness and health care delivery.
The Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) selected the nation’s largest children’s hospital and its esteemed, affiliated medical school to spearhead G7, in part because of the organizations’ experience managing best-in-class care during historic hurricanes, the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide power grid failures.
“Children comprise 25% of the U.S. population, and they have specialized medical needs due to their unique developmental and physiologic characteristics,” said Dr. Brent Kaziny, Medical Director of Emergency Management at Texas Children’s and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor. “As national leaders in pediatric emergency medicine treatment and training, Texas Children’s and Baylor are distinctively poised to lead the formation of this regional coalition. We are honored to help set the bar for exceptional, standardized disaster preparedness and clinical response for our youngest patients.”
According to the ASPR — part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — much progress has been made in the provision of pediatric care amidst large scale crises, but significant gaps in disaster readiness for this population remain.
These gaps are most evident in highly specialized areas such as trauma, behavioral health and the treatment of CBRN injuries.
Development of a Pediatric Disaster Care Center of Excellence (PCOE)
A primary objective of this grant is the creation of a Pediatric Disaster Care Center of Excellence (PCOE), a regional home base for education, training in best practices and the rapid deployment of disaster-focused resources to locations of greatest need.
The PCOE will enable the rapid sharing of expertise and ensure that a well-trained cohort of highly specialized pediatric clinical care providers are available for onsite care and remote consultation.
The PCOE is intended to define the delivery of pediatric clinical care when existing referral patterns and health care delivery capacity and capabilities are compromised by catastrophic events.
The new PCOE will:
- Develop a coordinated pediatric disaster care capability for pediatric patient care in disasters.
- Strengthen pediatric disaster preparedness plans and health care system coordination related to pediatric medical surge in disasters.
- Enhance statewide and regional medical surge capacity for pediatric patients.
- Increase and maintain health care professional competency through the development and delivery of a standardized training program.
- Enhance situational awareness of pediatric disaster care capabilities and capacity and assess regional pediatric readiness.
Specific focus within the PCOE will be given to the management of pediatric care related to trauma; infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza and other emerging infectious diseases; burns and CBRN incidents. PCOE providers will prepare for the treatment of all pediatric patient populations, including children with special health care needs, as well as their parents and caregivers.
Collaboration with Established Federal Health Care Entities
In addition to creating an integrated PCOE, the G7 consortium will integrate national disaster preparedness expertise into pre-existing federally funded entities, including:
- EMS for Children Innovations and Improvement Center.
- The Pediatric Pandemic Network.
- The Southern Regional Disaster Response System.
- The National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center.
- The Radiation Injury Treatment Network.
- Hospital Preparedness Program recipients.
- Existing Pediatric Disaster Care Centers of Excellence.
“When calamity strikes in the form of a natural disaster or mass casualty event, it’s too late to plan for the seamless continuity of care for critically ill children,” noted Kaziny. “Through the G7 coalition, we will marshal our clinical expertise and experience to create a proven disaster response model that puts pediatric patients first. I look forward to collaborating with my respected colleagues across the region to ensure all G7 members — including pediatric hospitals, EMS partners and federal health care entities — have the knowledge, tools, supplies and confidence to best care for young patients, despite the presenting crisis.”
About Texas Children’s Hospital
Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston. The organization also created Texas Children’s Health Plan, the nation’s first HMO for children; has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country, Texas Children’s Pediatrics; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.