NACHRI: What It Means
The combined efforts of SIU School of Medicine and St. John's Children’s Hospital to enhance the quality of pediatric health care services for southern and central Illinois led to membership in the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI). SIU is one of 195 members of the non-profit organization, which serves as a collective voice for health systems devoted to American’s 79 million children and their families.
This designation is vital to the ongoing commitment at both institutions to recruit new pediatric specialists and provide the highest level of healthcare services for children, according to Dr. Keith Gabriel. Being part of a national network enables SIU’s pediatric faculty to provide the highest quality of care for children with development disorders such as cerebral palsy and spinal deformities such as scoliosis, says Dr. Gabriel, who specializes in orthopaedic surgery.
The partnership with the Children’s Hospital is revolutionary because it increases the number of patients and variety of cases that can be treated using the newest programs and most advanced techniques. The designation means SIU School of Medicine is at the forefront of treating developmental disorders, such as club feet. Conservative, or non-operative, methods of treating club feet in children include the Ponsetti method, which reduces the need for surgery and achieves benefits such as better function for patients later in life. Patients suffering from common bone fractures to rare disorders such as Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (TBS) also benefit from this team approach. The Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR) is one of the newer devises used to treat TBS and another example of advanced methods available at SIU School of Medicine.
SIU’s Role in Children’s Hospital
The numbers tell only part of the story. Seven SIU neonatologists care for premature and seriously ill newborns from throughout a 34-county area in central and southern Illinois. Thirty SIU pediatric specialists and surgeons are part of the medical team at St. John's Children's Hospital, providing care in areas of hematology-oncology, cardiology, critical care, behavioral pediatrics, gastroenterology, genetics, infectious diseases, neonatology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology, rehabilitation and various pediatric surgical areas.
St. John's Children's Hospital, which operates from the Carol Jo Vecchie Women and Children's Center, serves as a unified voice for pediatric health care and philanthropy, volunteerism, child welfare, education, and pediatric program development. Dr. Mark Puczynski, professor and chairman of the SIU School of Medicine’s department of pediatrics, serves as the hospital's medical director.