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Texas Children's Hospital co-sponsors

HOUSTON (July 5, 2010) Texas Children's Hospital, in partnership with the Colombian Pediatric Society, will present the II International Symposium on Pediatric Actualization, a three-day conference held in Cartagena, Colombia, July 8 -10, 2010, for pediatricians seeking to learn more about medical advancements and research that is significant to the health of children in Latin America.

Seven doctors from Texas Children's will join four physicians from the Pan American Health Organization and the Republic of Colombia to present this conference, the second to be held since 2008. More than 1,000 pediatricians from throughout Latin America are expected to attend.

Based on insights from local pediatricians and recent medical developments, Dr. Cristina Marino Drews, president of the Colombian Pediatric Society, and Dr. Jesus G. Vallejo, medical director of International Services at Texas Children's, collaborated to develop the conference's educational curriculum around two main focus areas: infectious diseases and neonatology.

"Our goal for this conference is to facilitate diverse, quality educational programs that will help doctors develop creative solutions to current medical challenges affecting Latin American children," said Vallejo. "Through the expertise of the participating Texas Children's physicians, we are providing information on research and best practices to the Latin American pediatricians who share our commitment to create and maintain a global community of healthy children."

In addition to Vallejo, six other Texas Children's doctors are presenting at the conference including infectious disease experts Dr. Carol J. Baker; Dr. Sheldon L. Kaplan and Dr. Pedro A. Piedra; neonatology experts Dr. Gerardo Cabrera-Meza and Dr. LuAnn Papile; and pediatric surgeon and co-director of Texas Children's Fetal Center Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye.

Baker, who is the keynote speaker, is also a co-author of the book "Vaccine-Preventable Disease: The Forgotten Story," which chronicles the real life stories of families impacted by vaccine-preventable diseases. A Spanish-language version of the book will be given to each conference attendee as a tool for pediatricians to use in talking with parents about the importance of vaccinating children.

"What better audience for the book, 'Vaccine-Preventable Disease: The Forgotten Story' than this conference comprised of pediatricians who are seeking innovative programs and resources that they can use when educating others about priority healthcare issues such as infectious diseases and vaccines," said Baker who is also the executive director of the Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research at Texas Children's and the chair of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This book allows us to equip pediatricians with an educational resource that will help them increase vaccination rates and maintain the health of children everywhere."

The book features five stories of families who were seriously impacted by vaccine-preventable diseases that are prevalent in the Hispanic and Latin American communities: human papillomavirus, seasonal influenza, pandemic H1N1 influenza, meningococcal meningitis and pertussis (whooping cough). Either because a vaccine was not available or because the vaccine was not recommended for their age, none of the patients featured in the book was vaccinated. Today, all of these families are advocates for vaccines and continue to adhere to recommended vaccine schedules.

"Infectious diseases and vaccines pose significant challenges for Latin American pediatricians," said Vallejo. "The vaccine book is a timely resource conveying that powerful message."

This conference is one of the many projects undertaken by Vallejo and International Operations at Texas Children's Hospital that helps fulfill its mission in international medicine. The hospital strives to serve the international community as a leading partner in the advancement of pediatric healthcare priorities. To find out about other initiatives and programs from Texas Children's International Operations visit


Contact: Christy Brunton
Texas Children's Hospital

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