Monthly Archives: July 2014

Children’s represented at Family Advocacy Day in Washington

By Kelly Wolfe

In late June, Children’s participated in the Children’s Hospitals Association Family Advocacy Day.

The Christiansen family (Eleanor, Tyler, Greta and Wes) joined families from across the country to advocate for funding and programming for children’s hospitals and children with special health care needs. The Christiansens used their experience at Children’s to educate and inform our U.S. senators and representatives on Capitol Hill. We were lucky to have them represent us!

Kelly Wolfe is senior policy and advocacy specialist at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Family Advocacy Day 2014 in Washington, D.C. from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

Photo diary of the trip:

The Christiansens get inspired in front of the U.S. Capitol for meetings on the Hill. The weather was warm and breezy; a perfect day for a lot of walking.

The Christiansens get inspired in front of the U.S. Capitol for meetings on the Hill. The weather was warm and breezy; a perfect day for a lot of walking.

Washington, D.C., is full of wonderful sightseeing opportunities. The Christiansen family takes advantage of some free time by visiting all of the monuments.

Washington, D.C., is full of wonderful sightseeing opportunities. The Christiansen family takes advantage of some free time by visiting all of the monuments.

The Christiansens visit "Honest Abe." The passion they have for advocating for child health almost equals the size of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Christiansens visit “Honest Abe.” The passion they have for advocating for child health almost equals the size of the Lincoln Memorial.

Future presidents? We hope so! Greta and Wes take their turns at the president’s desk at the White House Gift Shop.

Future presidents? We hope so! Greta and Wes take their turns at the president’s desk at the White House Gift Shop.

Greta and Wes certainly are out of this world! They had a great time checking out the astronauts at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Greta and Wes certainly are out of this world! They had a great time checking out the astronauts at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Batman flew by to say a special hello to Greta and Wes at the Family Advocacy Day Celebration dinner. Complete with a band, dancing, caricatures, face-painting, photo booths and games, the event gave families one last chance to exchange trading cards and have some fun before a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill.

Batman flew by to say a special hello to Greta and Wes at the Family Advocacy Day Celebration dinner. Complete with a band, dancing, caricatures, face-painting, photo booths and games, the event gave families one last chance to exchange trading cards and have some fun before a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill.

The Christiansens pose with Congressman Eric Paulsen under his Minnesota-made canoe.

The Christiansens pose with Congressman Eric Paulsen under his Minnesota-made canoe.

After a special breakfast of Minnesota Mahnomen porridge in U.S. Sen. Franken’s office, Greta cozied up next to him as he listened to the Christiansens' moving story. It’s not every day you get to sit on a U.S. senator’s couch.

After a special breakfast of Minnesota Mahnomen porridge in U.S. Sen. Franken’s office, Greta cozied up next to him as he listened to the Christiansens’ moving story. It’s not every day you get to sit on a U.S. senator’s couch.

Eleanor talks to Congressman Keith Ellison about the importance of funding programs like the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, which provides funding to train future pediatricians and specialists like the ones that treated Greta.

Eleanor talks to Congressman Keith Ellison about the importance of funding programs like the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, which provides funding to train future pediatricians and specialists like the ones that treated Greta.

Five Question Friday: Dr. Anne-Marie Priebe

five_question_friday1

Dr. Anne-Marie Priebe is a gynecologist at Children's.

Dr. Anne-Marie Priebe is a gynecologist at Children’s.

For this edition of Five Question Friday, we’d like you to meet Anne-Marie Priebe, DO, who sees patients at Children’s St. Paul, Minneapolis and Woodbury clinics.

How long have you worked at Children’s? I joined the Children’s team in September of 2013.

Why did you go into pediatric and adolescent gynecology? I never imagined that I would work in either OBGYN or pediatrics. But through my rotations I fell in love with the scope of OBGYN because it is a great combination of office, surgery and hospital. Plus I find joy in helping a mom bring a new life into the world. I did a rotation during residency with a pediatric gynecologist at a children’s hospital. At times, a few patients and parents can have preconceived notions about gynecological issues, but being able to teach families about gynecology and realize the “GYNO” doesn’t have to be scary is rewarding.

What are some of the conditions you treat? People are often baffled when I tell them I am a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist. Their first thought is teen pregnancy. Although we do see patients for contraceptive counseling, teens are referred elsewhere for prenatal care. There are many other reasons to see your friendly Children’s gynecologist for medical or surgical management of:

  • Abnormal development of the reproductive system (congenital anomalies of the uterus or vagina)
  • Contraception, including pills, patches, rings, injections, implants, IUDs
  • Delayed puberty or periods
  • Endometriosis, tissue that grows outside of the uterus
  • Labial adhesions
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Medical uses of hormonal contraceptives (acne, menstrual migraine, catamenial seizures)
  • Menstrual problems, including painful periods, heavy periods, frequent or irregular periods
  • Menstrual suppression
  • Ovarian cysts, fluid-filled sacs in or on the ovaries
  • Pelvic pain
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal syndrome affecting females
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Torsion (or twisting) of the ovary
  • Vaginal stenosis
  • Vulvovaginitis
  • Vulvar trauma
  • Vulvar abscesses or ulcers

Subscribe to MightyWhat do you love most about your job? When I was in college, I worked at a camp for middle schoolers. I have a soft spot for the preteens and teenagers who want to learn about things, such as periods, but are either too scared to ask or don’t want to ask their parents. Often times they look to their friends for answers even when their friends might be misinformed. I hope to educate teens on gynecology issues, and, with any luck, they will pass on correct information to their friends, too.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? I love to travel and explore new places. I have been to 41 out of 50 states and would love to make it to every continent. During my explorations, I have discovered photography and refuse to hang any photos on my walls unless I have visited the location. I also love to cook but hate leftovers.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?  I have always dreamed of buying an around-the-world ticket and just keep progressively heading east to see how others live and how the past shapes their culture.

Construction on St. Paul hospital entrance begins

ConstructionWork begins Monday to remodel the Garden View building entrance at Children’s – St. Paul. The Garden View building will remain open during the work, but the patient pick-up/drop-off area, existing entrance and patio will be closed for the duration of the project.

Families and visitors dropping off or picking up will be directed to Level B of the Red Ramp. Security guards will be stationed outside to help direct traffic, and temporary signage will alert visitors to the traffic changes.

Please be on the lookout for temporary road closures, detours and additional precautions as the work progresses. Thank you for your patience throughout the project.

Five Question Friday: Samantha “Sam” Hanson

five_question_friday1It’s time for Five Question Friday! This week, we have a special video edition to introduce you to our new Chief Human Resources Officer, Samantha “Sam” Hanson. In her first few months with the organization, Sam has been inspired by the amazing work of our employees and how they create a difference in the lives of children in our clinics, hospitals and communities every day.

Watch the video to get to know Sam (including a special bonus FQF question) or read the transcript of her answers below.

Five Question Friday: Samantha “Sam” Hanson from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

What brought you to Children’s? I was very intrigued by Children’s mission and its employees. I have worked in several different organizations, leading HR, helping companies grow and learn. I was very attracted to the special qualities of the culture, the people and the mission of Children’s.

What has impressed you most so far? So far, I’ve been most impressed by the creativity of our employees. There isn’t a problem/situation that is too big or too complex. Every day I see our employees going the extra mile, driving innovation for the benefit of our families and our children.

What do you look forward to most about working at Children’s? I am dedicated to working with our HR organization to make sure that we have the tools, the learning opportunities and the services that we need to support our employees to do their very best.

Subscribe to MightyWhat was your favorite childhood toy? As a child, I remember being very fond of a Mrs. Beasley doll. This was a doll associated with a TV show. It was my favorite doll, and, in fact, my sister bought a Christmas ornament of the Mrs. Beasley doll – these are long gone – but it’s the first ornament that goes on the tree. But now that I have an 8- and 11-year-old, we play with all sorts of toys; building toys are our favorite (Legos). You can find us down in our playroom building lots of Lego sets.

What do you enjoy doing outside of Children’s? Well, we are parents of an 8- and 11-year-old, so you can find us on any given day at courtside or at a field somewhere. Our daughter also performs with Circus Juventas here in St. Paul. We are outdoorsy, we like to camp, paddle and hike, so we love to take advantage of Minnesota’s beautiful state parks. And on the rare occasion where Missy and I can get away, Italy is our favorite location.

Volunteers needed for Minnesota State Fair

Want a free ticket to the Minnesota State Fair?

We’re looking for fun volunteers to help staff our Making Safe Simple booth. We have four interactive stations: helmet safety, car safety, household safety and water safety. All volunteers receive free entry to the fair and a T-shirt.

There still are several volunteer spots available — Labor Day weekend is our greatest need for champion volunteers:

Subscribe to MightySaturday, Aug. 30

  • 5-8:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 31

  • 2-5:30 p.m.
  • 5-8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 1

  • 2-5:30 p.m.
  • 5-8:30 p.m.

Encourage your family and friends to volunteer, too!  Please note that volunteers must be 18 years or older. To sign up, please contact Ana Nugent at [email protected]. We hope to see you at the fair!

Don’t forget kids in cars

Cracking a window does little to reduce the heat inside a car. Never leave your child unattended in the car. (iStock photo / Getty Images)

Cracking a window does little to reduce the heat inside a car. Never leave your child unattended in the car. (iStock photo / Getty Images)

Dex Tuttle

I’ve often surprised myself by how forgetful I am as a parent. It’s possible I’m the only dad who has nearly forgotten that his daughter needs to eat and, more specifically, that he’s responsible for making sure that happens. I know for a FACT, however, that I’m not the only dad who has forgotten the diaper bag in the car and been forced to speed-run the grocery shopping to get a stinky child out of the store as fast as possible. On tired days after sleepless nights, I’ve forgotten that my keys are in the ignition of the car I’m driving and seriously debated being late for work to turn around and go get them.

I’m exposing a vulnerable part of myself a little when I admit this type of fault, but I know I’m not alone. As the injury prevention program coordinator at Children’s, I feel even more responsible to be mistake-free in providing a safe environment for my child, and I feel that much more silly when I fail to do so.

subscribe_blogWhen Quinnlyn was learning to walk, she pulled herself up on me as I sat in my “dad chair” in the living room. (I’ll admit, realizing that the recliner was a crucial part of fatherhood was a huge part of my excitement for becoming a dad, but I digress.) She grabbed my hands and smiled at her accomplishment. After a few happy moments, she started to turn and walk away, and I forgot that she wasn’t yet able to stand on her own. I let go of her hands and down she went, flat on her back. Thankfully, she was OK. She actually laughed it off (her reaction to near-injury that would soon give me anxiety) and got herself back up.

So far, my follies have been rather benign. Still, I live in eternal fear of finding myself in that vulnerable, forgetful moment when something more serious happens.

As the summer ramps into full swing, one such mistake I’m determined NOT to make is forgetting Quinn in the car. This can happen for one of two reasons: we don’t realize the danger, or we find ourselves in a moment of distraction and leave out one very important detail.

Let me first convince you that this is extraordinarily dangerous:

  • Children have lower water reserves, so their body temperatures rise three to four times faster than an adult.
  • The temperature inside a car can rise 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit every 15 minutes (on a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 116 degrees).
  • Since 1998, more than 580 children in the United States have died from being left in vehicles.
  • In car seats, children are insulated, making it more difficult for their bodies to regulate overheating.
  • Signs of hyperthermia set in when body temperature reaches just 100.9 degrees Fahrenheit, which children will surpass in only a matter of minutes; internal organs can begin to fail at 104 degrees, and death can occur when body temp reaches 107.
  • Cracking a window does little to reduce the heat inside a car.

On most days, strapping my daughter into her car seat easily could be the final challenge on a reality game show that tests strength, patience and fortitude. Therefore, I’m admittedly hesitant to take her in and out of the car more than I need. However, you never know what will happen; on an average day, there are so many things that are out of your control and could delay a quick stop or create catastrophic failure of your car’s air conditioning. Please take control of what you can and never, ever leave your child unattended in the car.

But as I’ve already admitted, I’m forgetful. Here are some tips on making sure you don’t forget your most-precious package:

  • Place an important item in the backseat. My recommendation is to leave your phone there – thus removing a major distraction while driving – but it can be a purse, wallet, computer, jacket or any other item you know you’ll need when you arrive at your destination.
  • If you don’t carry items often and you drive a car with an automatic transmission, take the shoe off the foot you don’t use for the pedals and put it in the back seat. This can be a fun game where everyone in the family participates.
  • Leave yourself a note on the dashboard: “BABY IN BACK!”
  • Put a stuffed animal or doll in the car seat when your child isn’t in it. When you strap your kid in for a trip, put the stuffed animal in the seat next to you up front – a reminder that something is out of place.
  • If you have a GPS-enabled device, set location reminders when arriving at your favorite locations – the grocery store, work, restaurants, etc. Kars 4 Kids is developing an app that works with your car’s Bluetooth capabilities to remind you as you walk away from the vehicle.

Make arrival habits:

  • Always do a walk-around of your vehicle to ensure you’re a safe distance from other hazards and make note of items that will help you remember where you parked.
  • Always use the passenger-side doors to load and unload for trips. This will force you to walk around the car to collect your items.
  • Make a game with your child where you always sing a song, say a phrase, do an activity each time you stop at a destination. Even if your child is sleeping, the habit will keep your mind thinking about the little person in the backseat.

Other resources:

Dex Tuttle is the injury prevention program coordinator at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Five Question Friday: Andrea Herbert

Meet Andrea Herbert, a CT/MRI technologist at our St. Paul hospital.

Andrea Herbert

Andrea Herbert

How long have you worked at Children’s?

I have worked at children’s for 13 years.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the variety of my job. I love working in CT/ MRI and X-ray. I get to advance in all three areas, and my skills continue to grow. The variety keeps me challenged at work, which is very nice since I have been here for 13 years.

What do you think makes kids great?

I think kids are great because they are positive and upbeat, for the most part. If they have something like cancer or a brain tumor, they are able to not dwell on it and continue being and acting like a kid. Also, when they are scared, I can work with them to make their tests not scary at all, and that is very rewarding when I see a smiles on their faces.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I spend a lot of time with my two kids, my boyfriend and my new puppy. We like to go on bike rides, walks and runs. I also love to go to concerts and out to new restaurants.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

My favorite restaurant is Ruth’s Chris.

Five things to know about heat exhaustion

With sun and humidity a factor during summer in Minnesota, we thought it was a good time to talk about ways to keep kids safe in the heat. In addition to our quick tips for protecting your kids from dehydration, here are tips on avoiding heat exhaustion. We believe in Making Safe Simple, so take a few moments to review these tips!

  1. subscribe_blogChildren adjust more slowly than adults do to changes in environmental heat. They also produce more heat with activity than adults and sweat less. Sweating is one of the body’s normal cooling mechanisms. Children often don’t think to rest when having fun and may not drink enough fluids when playing or exercising.
  2. Heat exhaustion results from a loss of water and salt in the body due to excessive sweating. It occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly and, if left untreated, can progress to heat stroke.
  3. Signs of heat exhaustion in children are: profuse sweating, pale skin that’s cool and damp to the touch, rapid and shallow breathing, headache, nausea, normal or below-normal body temperature, vomiting or diarrhea, dizziness, weakness or fainting, and muscle cramps.
  4. If your child is experiencing heat exhaustion, move him or her to a cool place right away to rest. You should remove extra clothing and apply cool cloths (towels with cold water) and fan the child’s skin. Give him or her cool sports drinks containing salt and sugar such as Gatorade (if the child doesn’t feel nauseated).
  5. Call your doctor or go to the emergency department if their condition hasn’t improved or your child is unable to take fluids within an hour.

At Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, we care for more pediatric emergency and trauma patients than any other health care system in our region, seeing about 90,000 kids each year between our St. Paul and Minneapolis hospitals. Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis is the area’s only Level I pediatric trauma center in a hospital dedicated to only kids, which means we offer the highest level of care to critically injured kids. From the seriously sick to the critically injured, we’re ready for anything.

19 tips for a better family camping experience

Camping can be an enjoyable activity to share with family and friends. (iStock photo / Getty Images)

Camping can be an enjoyable activity to share with family and friends. (iStock photo / Getty Images)

Luul Mohamed and Alicia Youssef

With school over and summer officially under way, a camping trip can be an enjoyable activity to share with your family and friends. Take advantage of these tips to have a fun and safe trip:

Skin and eye protection

First and foremost, you must effectively protect your skin before engaging in any outdoor activity, regardless of the weather.

  • The sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try to plan outdoor activities before or after those times.
  • Children 6 months and older should use sunscreen with a SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Do not use sunscreen on children younger than 6 months as they may ingest the sunscreen by sucking on their fingers or arms. Additionally, their skin is thinner and may absorb chemicals from the sunscreen. Instead, cover infants head to toe in clothing to keep them shaded at all times.
  • Wear sunglasses that go around the entire head that also protect against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Try to wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs, wear a wide-brimmed hat and try to stay in the shade when you can.
  • Protect yourself from bug bites by applying bug repellent with DEET. The CDC recommends a 30-50 percent concentration of DEET to prevent the spread of pathogens carried by insects.
  • Sunscreen should be reapplied regularly, and bug repellent should not.

subscribe_blogPrepare yourself

  • Bring more than one first-aid kit.
  • Bring safe and healthy food with mostly nonperishable items and make sure all food is in waterproof containers and tightly packed.
  • Let others know where you’ll be going beforehand.
  • Avoid hypothermia by bringing insulated bedding and warm clothing for nights.
  • Stay well hydrated during the day by drinking plenty of water.

Water safety

  • Avoid swallowing water while swimming.
  • Always swim with a buddy and make sure there is an adult supervising at all times.
  • Whenever you are riding a water vehicle, always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Minnesota law requires children younger than 10 years old to wear a life jacket. We recommend that children older than that also should wear life jackets.
  • A life jacket should properly fit. You can determine the fit by a child’s weight.

Splish splash: The ins and outs of water safety (Twin Cities Moms Blog)

Fire/bonfire safety

  • When starting a fire, only burn dry, not damp, material and don’t use fire accelerants such as gas or lighter fluid.
  • Start the fire away from flammable things like trees and keep a bucket of water near.
  • Children should be supervised at all times and never near the fire.
  • Never burn containers that have foam or paint in them and never put pressurized containers into a fire. They may explode and release dangerous fumes.

For more information on camping safety, visit:

At Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, we care for more pediatric emergency and trauma patients than any other health care system in our region, seeing about 90,000 kids each year between our St. Paul and Minneapolis hospitals. Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis is the area’s only Level I pediatric trauma center in a hospital dedicated to only kids, which means we offer the highest level of care to critically injured kids. From the seriously sick to the critically injured, we’re ready for anything.

Luul Mohamed and Alicia Youssef are members of Children’s injury prevention program team.