Debra Esernio-Jenssen, MD, Takes Child Advocacy to a New Level at Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital

Debra Esernio-Jenssen, MD, has devoted her medical career to what she calls “the most vulnerable children in America” – the victims of child abuse. Last summer, she brought that career passion to Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital to work for child advocacy in the Children’s Clinic at Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th Street.

“From the time I got involved with child abuse victims early on in my career, I felt that these were children who needed a voice,” Esernio-Jenssen says.  “A child has cancer or pneumonia or a broken bone, everybody wants to do something to help.  But with child abuse, the common reaction is that people don’t want to believe it’s happening. That mindset is the single biggest obstacle we face.”

Esernio-Jenssen is the medical expert on the team of multidisciplinary professionals who advocate for children and provide education about child abuse at the Child Advocacy Center. Future plans for the Child Advocacy Center include locating the entire child abuse team at Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th StreetRead More »

Check In: Could Your Child Have Diabetes?

Diabetes - Check It, Share ItRanita Kuryan, MD, helps families and children learn to live with diabetes, but it’s not easy news to share. “It’s hard to tell a 10- or 12-year-old child and his or her family that their child has diabetes,” Kuryan says. “Whether a child is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2, diabetes is a chronic condition that he or she must learn to manage for the long term.”

Ranita Kuryan, MD

Ranita Kuryan, MD
Pediatric endocrinology
Watch a video to learn more about her.

Kuryan, a board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric endocrinologist who practices at Pediatric Specialists of the Lehigh Valley, affiliated with the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, has noticed an increase in the number of diabetes diagnoses among children – an observation confirmed in published research. “Researchers with the ‘SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth’ study reported that the number of diabetes cases among children between 2001 and 2009 increased dramatically. They found a 21 percent increase in type 1 diabetes diagnoses and a 30.5 percent increase in type 2 diabetes diagnoses among children ages 0 through 19.”

It isn’t clear why the number of children with diabetes increased.  For type 1 diabetes, environmental factors are under investigation, including whether exposure to some viruses can trigger an immune system attack against insulin-producing cells. Vitamin D deficiency has also been hypothesized. To date, there is no conclusive evidence to support these theories. It has been suggested that the increase in type 2 diabetes in youth is a result of an increase in the frequency of obesity in pediatric populations.Obesity in youth has been increasing since the 1960s. Read More »

Urinary Puzzles: Minding Your Child’s ‘Pees’ and ‘Qs’

Urine for a SurpriseIf you’ve ever taken a child for a pediatric exam, it’s a sure thing that your child’s bathroom habits have come up in conversation. Routine elimination of urine and feces is a part of life, but if things aren’t going well in that world, then not much else matters until it’s resolved.

Pediatrician Becky Thomas-Creskoff, MD, with ABC Family Pediatricians–Trexlertown, knows how tricky it is to talk to children about sensitive topics. “Kids can feel embarrassed about toileting issues or concerns about genitalia development,” she says. “But it’s important to discuss and ask those related questions then children and their caregivers become more aware of their normal health and recognize when they need to seek medical care.” Read More »

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Gets ‘Thank You’ From March of Dimes, Families During Prematurity Awareness Month

Denise Keeler with former NICU moms and children

Denise Keeler, left, director of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s neonatal intensive care unit, holds a plaque from the March of Dimes along with former NICU mothers and their children, from left to right: Regina Wagner and son Riley, Wendy Marraccini and son Tavian, and Michenelle Groller and daughter Hannah.

The children visiting the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) inside Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital on Monday have come a long way since they’d first been there. They returned with their mothers this week to thank the caregivers there for nurturing premature babies.

The March of Dimes also visited Monday to present a plaque to the NICU to recognize its important work for babies born too soon and their families. The organization raises money to fund research to find the causes of premature birth and to provide comfort and information to families.

Among the visitors to the NICU was the Wagner family. Riley Wagner was born 13 weeks early, weighing just 1 pound, 4 ounces, and suffered from respiratory distress, a heart defect, retinopathy of prematurity and a hernia surgery during his first 12 weeks of life. He went home after 87 days. Today, the 1-year-old loves to chase the family cat, go for walks with Mom and Dad and play with his favorite toys. Riley and his parents, Cullin and Regina, are the March of Dimes’ Lehigh Valley Ambassador Family this year, sharing their story to help raise awareness about prematurity. Read More »

Trick-or-Treat Tips: Protect Children With Food Allergies and Prevent Cavities

Later this week, children will don their costumes and candy bags for some trick-or-treat fun. And surely they’ll want to devour the Halloween candy they collect in the days (or hours) that follow.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) doctors encourage kids to enjoy their treats safely this holiday season. Two of them shared some helpful tips in the news media today.

Alvaro Reymunde, MD, an LVHN pediatrician in the Hazleton area, spoke to The Standard Speaker for an article about how to make trick-or-treating safe for children with food allergiesJacquline Owens, DMD, was featured on WFMZ-TV this morning about keeping healthy teeth while still enjoying sweets. Read More »