Friday, November 9, 2012

MGHfC launches new clinics and program

NEW HOPE: From left, Ann Neumeyer, MD, medical director of the Lurie Family Autism Center, Elizabeth Thiele, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Pediatric Epilepsy Program, and Thibert accept the first donation for the Angelman Syndrome Clinic from ASF Executive Director Eileen Braun and board member Mitch Caspert.

MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHFC) recently rolled out two new clinics – the Angelman Syndrome Clinic and the Child and Adolescent Medical Psychiatry (ChAMP) Clinic – and a new weight and asthma program, Inspired Health, adding to its more than 50 specialty programs and 15 surgical services.

Angelman Syndrome Clinic

The MGH, MGHfC and the Angelman Syndrome Foundation (ASF) have partnered to establish the Angelman Syndrome Clinic, celebrating the launch at an Oct. 23 event. The facility – one of only two in the country – is focused on serving the comprehensive medical needs of children and adults with Angelman syndrome. A rare congenital disorder occurring in one in 15,000 live births, the condition is often associated with autism and causes severe neurological impairment that appears in newborns and lasts for a lifetime.

The purpose of the clinic is to reduce the frequency and severity of Angelman syndrome symptoms, particularly seizures, and to develop individual dietary regimens to further reduce symptoms, says Ron Thibert, DO, MSPH, the clinic’s co-director. The clinic also will work to enhance education for Angelman syndrome patients, helping them achieve their full developmental potential. With the ultimate goal of improving quality of life for individuals with Angelman syndrome, the clinic provides “one-stop-shop” access to a clinical geneticist, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, speech language pathologist, physical/occupational therapist, genetic counselor, social worker and nutritionist – all specializing in the disease. For more information, contact clinic coordinator Elias Shaaya at 617-726-6540.

Child and Adolescent Medical-Psychiatry (ChAMP) Clinic

The Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recently launched the ChAMP Clinic to provide outpatient psychiatric consultation to children with both medical and psychiatric illness. Elizabeth Pinsky, MD, and Lawrence Selter, MD, will accept referrals from primary care physicians and subspecialists for patients exhibiting problems such as psychosomatic illness, depression or anxiety related to medical illness, psychiatric issues interfering with adherence to medical treatment, and illnesses that have both psychological and physical manifestations, including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. The clinic will provide evaluations, treatment recommendations, short-term care and referrals to local providers for those needing long-term care. For more information, clinicians should email or Patients can call 617-726-2726 for an appointment.

Inspired Health

Because the effects of asthma and weight can interact in complex ways, it is often difficult to manage each condition on its own. Christina Scirica, MD, MPH, a pediatric pulmonologist and weight expert, worked with the Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and the MGHfC Weight Center to create Inspired Health, a program designed to treat both conditions together. Each new patient undergoes an initial evaluation to assess his or her current health, asthma control, weight and level of conditioning as well as other factors that might affect care. The pediatric pulmonary staff, which includes a registered dietitian and social worker, works closely with each patient and family to develop individualized action plans and implement achievable goals with close follow up. For more information, email

Read more articles from the 11/9/12 Hotline issue.


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