|Pediatrics department hosts genetics conference|
The Department of Pediatrics School of Medicine and Health Sciences will host a conference on genetic disorders in children April 23-24 at the Fargo Ramada Inn. The conference, "Hearing Hoofbeats and Thinking Zebras: Screening, Testing and Management of Children with Genetic Disorders," will focus on North Dakota's newborn screening program as well as the diagnosis, treatment and management of infants who have been identified as having Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS) or other metabolic disorders.
The program is intended for primary health care providers, especially family physicians, pediatricians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, but parents and the general public also are welcome. One of the highlights will be a panel of parents who will describe how they have dealt with the health care system. Discussions also will focus on legislative impacts and diagnostic approaches.
Invited speakers are Cathy Breedon, clinical nutrition specialist at MeritCare Health System, Fargo; Cheryl Greenberg, head of the department of pediatrics and child health, and a clinical geneticist at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; Bryan Hall, former chief of genetics and dysmorphology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington; John Martsolf, professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Medical Genetics at the UND medical school; and Susan Sparks, pediatrician and clinical biochemical geneticist at the Children's National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. By law, every infant born in North Dakota is screened for 37 disorders, some of which "are difficult to treat or must be treated quickly" to avoid sickness, death or potentially serious, lifelong consequences, according to Martsolf. "It is important that front-line, primary care health providers know what to do if they have a patient who's been detected with a disorder from the newborn screen," he said. "Proper emergency management of children with metabolic disorders is critical."
Martsolf, North Dakota's only clinical geneticist, says conference participants will also explore how the state's newborn screening program and methods of follow-up are working. The event also will provide a forum for discussing the resources available in North Dakota for these children.
The title of the conference, "Hearing Hoofbeats and Thinking Zebras," refers to the need for health care providers, when presented with common signs and symptoms, to think of the unusual or uncommon possibilities in forming a diagnosis, Martsolf said.
The event is supported by significant grants from the Dakota Medical Foundation of Fargo and the Cullen Children's Foundation of West Fargo.
Physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and social workers may earn continuing education credits.
For more information or to register, contact Jayne Brown in the Department of Pediatrics at 777-4276 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.med.und.nodak.edu/depts/peds/genetics/ and click on the zebra in the lower left corner.
The Dakota Medical Foundation, based in Fargo, focuses its efforts on improving access to medical and dental care. Since its inception in 1995, the Foundation has invested over $26.5 million in more than 270 non-profit organizations to help them measurably improve health and access to health care. For more information, see www.dakmed.org .
-- Shelley Pohlman, Assistant to the Director, Public Affairs, email@example.com, 701-777-4305