15 Years at the Top
National Jewish Health has been named the number one respiratory hospital in the nation for the 15th consecutive year, in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of America’s Best Hospitals. We are proud to be the only hospital west of the Mississippi with a national number one ranking among the 17 categories rated by the magazine.
In addition, 24 National Jewish Health physicians were named among the best doctors in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report and Castle Connolly Medical, Ltd. More than 230,000 doctors were surveyed to compile the list of physicians recognized by their peers for excellence in different specialties. Less than 1 percent of doctors nationwide are chosen for this honor.
Winter's Eve Gala Raises More than $1.5 Million for Hospital
"A Winter's Evening" dinner dance on Dec. 8 raised more than $1.5 million for National Jewish Health, continuing a 43-year tradition of support from New York's real estate and construction industries for the hospital. In addition, all of the funds raised during a special silent auction at the event were earmarked for Superstorm Sandy rebuilding efforts. Read more.
Severe Reactions to Food More Common than Thought in Young Children
In the journal Pediatrics, researchers at National Jewish Health reported that young children with milk and egg allergies experience an unexpectedly high number of reactions to these and other foods. More than 70 percent of preschool children with documented or suspected food allergies suffered a significant reaction during the three-year period. Researchers also found that caregivers failed to give epinephrine with an EpiPen in 70 percent of the severe and potentially life-threatening reactions.
“Our findings clearly point to a need for parents and other caregivers to be even more vigilant in avoiding allergenic foods and treating reactions appropriately,” said David Fleischer, MD, lead author and assistant professor of pediatrics.
Trial Seeks to Sniff out Lung Cancer
Most lung cancers are detected late, when the disease has already spread and chances of survival are minimal. If more cancers could be diagnosed earlier, when the disease is still localized, survival rates could rise dramatically. National Jewish Health physician James Jett, MD, is leading efforts to improve early detection of lung cancer.
Past research has shown that dogs can detect lung cancer in a person’s breath with great accuracy. Dr. Jett is testing a sensor array that changes color when a patient’s breath passes over it. By analyzing the chemical compounds, the researchers hope to identify a cancer “signature” that will aid in the earlier diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Read more
Investing in Research
After several years of flat budgets, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decreased funding to research institutions across the country. National Jewish Health has felt a direct impact with a 17 percent drop in the amount of federal funding we received last year. To ensure that promising lines of research are able to continue, we are investing in “Science Transforming Life®” funds – a key part of the institution’s 10-Year Strategic Plan: A Decade of Innovation. These funds support the true integration of our research, clinical and educational efforts to personalize care for the patient, as well as help facilitate successful applications to secure external funding in the future.
An Enriching Summer for Kunsberg Students
In June and July, normally quiet months at Kunsberg School for chronically ill children, the campus was abuzz with students and activity. This summer marked the launch of the Kunsberg Summer Program, a camp held during two two-week sessions. Forty-seven students attended the camp, participating in a variety of topics and lessons, including dinosaurs, the Arctic, space and African animals. Students enjoyed the hallmarks of summer vacation – swimming and playing games such as capture the flag and soccer – during the one hour physical education and therapy classes each day. On Fridays, students and staff took field trips to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science or the Denver Zoo to learn more about that week’s subject. The school health nurse also oversaw students’ individual case plans and provided disease education.
Students often lose ground academically and medically over the summer. Testing conducted at the start of 2012-2013 school year showed that Kunsberg children who took part in the Summer Program retained more knowledge than their peers at Kunsberg who did not attend the camp and students nationwide who did not attend school in the summer.
National Jewish Health Named Four-Star Charity
National Jewish Health received its fourth consecutive four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent evaluator of charities. The rating is based on sound fiscal management, as well as its commitment to accountability and transparency.
“This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates National Jewish Health from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust,” said Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only 7 percent of the charities we rate have received at least four consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that National Jewish Health outperforms most other charities in America.”
Demand for Charity Care Continues to Rise
We are unwavering in our commitment to provide world-class care to all patients, regardless of ability to pay. The number of patients needing charity care assistance continues to grow, and in Fiscal Year 2012, our charity care expenditures were $19.7 million, a 181 percent increase since 2008. Additionally one-third of the prescriptions we dispense from our pharmacy are free to patients.
Some Asthma May Not Need Daily Steroids
Patients with mild to moderate asthma may not need to take daily doses of inhaled corticosteroids, according to a new study by researchers at National Jewish Health and their colleagues in the Asthma Clinical Research Network. In The Journal of the American Medical Association, these researchers reported that patients who adjusted their medication use based on symptoms fared as well as those whose therapy was guided by physician assessment or the measurement of biomarkers in exhaled breath. Patients also missed fewer days of school and used less medication.
“Adjusting medication use based on symptoms is appealing because it is a simpler strategy that empowers patients,” said Richard Martin, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine and co-author of the study. “It also holds promise of being more responsive to changing conditions, which could help avoid worsening of the disease.”
QuitLogix® Celebrates 10th Anniversary
In December, National Jewish Health QuitLogix celebrated 10 years of helping people quit tobacco. Started in Colorado in 2002, QuitLogix now operates tobacco quitlines and websites for 11 states and several health plans, making it the second largest tobacco-cessation program in the country. Expertise in behavior change has help QuitLogix enjoy an with an extraordinary 36 percent quit rate, which translates into more than 265,000 Americans who have given up tobacco thanks to National Jewish Health. Read more.
New Target Discovered for Treatment of Peanut Allergy
Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a novel target for the treatment of food allergies. Erwin Gelfand, MD, and his colleagues report in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that levels of the enzyme Pim 1 kinase rise in the small intestines of peanut-allergic mice. Inhibiting activity of Pim 1 markedly reduced the allergic response to peanuts. Read more.
How Does Immune Globulin Therapy Work? Now Is the Time to Find Out
Immune globulin replacement began decades ago as a treatment for patients who could not make their own protective antibodies, but has proven to have much broader benefits than originally expected.
With new uses regularly being discovered for this limited and expensive resource, including as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, now is the time to discover exactly how intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) treatments work, and to engineer a protein that can provide similar benefits, wrote Erwin Gelfand, MD, chair of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in the November 22, 2012, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more.
Richard Schierburg Begins Tenure as Chair of Board of Directors
National Jewish Health welcomed new leadership on January, 25, 2012, as Richard A. Schierburg began his tenure as Chair of the Board of Directors. He succeeds outgoing chair, Thomas Gart, who will continue to serve on the Board. Read more.
Researchers Discover Method to Unravel Malaria’s Genetic Secrets
The parasite that causes malaria is a genetic outlier, which has prevented scientists from discovering the functions of most of its genes. Researchers at National Jewish Health and Yale University School of Medicine have devised a technique to overcome the genetic oddity of Plasmodium falciparum, the major cause of human malaria. Read more.
Looking Forward to the New Year
Thank you for your interest and support of National Jewish Health in 2012. We look forward to carrying this positive momentum forward in 2013.
Michael Salem, M.D., FACS
President & CEO