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Inaugural Denton A. Cooley Fellow of Surgical Innovation named at Texas Children's Hospital

HOUSTON, May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas Children's Hospital announced a new fellowship for surgical innovation in honor of Houston native Dr. Denton A. Cooley , world-renowned surgeon who pioneered many techniques in pediatric and adult cardiovascular surgery and who was a recipient of the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor for technological innovation. Dr. Oluyinka O. Olutoye , co-director of Texas Children's Fetal Center, Baylor College of Medicine professor of surgery and a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children's, was named the inaugural recipient of the Denton A. Cooley Fellowship in Surgical Innovation at Texas Children's Hospital for 2013. For more information about Texas Children's surgery services, please visit

Funded by The Auxiliary to Texas Children's Hospital, Texas Children's volunteer-led service organization, the goal of the grant is to advance surgical research that focuses on innovative ways to help children and save lives. The recipient of this fellowship is selected by the Department of Surgery at Texas Children's Hospital, with the committee chaired by Dr. Charles D. Fraser Jr. , surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children's. To be considered for the Cooley Fellowship in Surgical Innovation, one must be an accomplished surgeon with a dedication to improving surgical outcomes in children through innovation and discovery.

"Throughout his career, Dr. Olutoye has shown exceptional dedication to his patients and advancements to the highest level of innovation and care throughout all aspects of his surgical work," according to Fraser.

As co-director of the Fetal Center, Olutoye has been on the forefront of innovative in-utero and neonatal surgeries including those for congenital diaphragmatic hernia, spina bifida and other congenital malformations throughout his entire career. Most recently, Dr. Olutoye and his colleagues altered the standard of care for repairing diaphragmatic hernias by operating earlier than previously recommended, resulting in improved outcomes. This example of reassessment and technique adjustment highlights a key lesson in innovation – to challenge standard notions and constantly look for ways to improve.

"Surgery by definition is always innovative as we continuously evolve and adapt to new technologies," explains Olutoye. "My life's work is to find ways of helping children through my surgical research and I am honored to be recognized as this year's recipient."

The award includes more than $100,000 to support a research fellow who will investigate a specific topic. Olutoye will use the grant to fund necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) research, a gastrointestinal disease involving infection and inflammation that causes destruction of the bowel. Specifically, Olutoye and the recipient will study the diagnosis of the disease and how to properly identify it before it becomes symptomatic in an attempt to reduce morbidity and mortality rates.

While NEC incidents are declining, mortality for the disease is still approximately 50 percent. More importantly, diagnosis remains difficult, and in many cases, physicians falsely treat premature infants for NEC out of fear that it may develop. By catching the condition early and ruling out the possibility of NEC for those babies who will never develop it, outcomes will vastly improve.

"This award provides the support needed to improve the care and treatment of a specific population of premature infants and give them the healthiest possible start to life," says Olutoye. "It is a blessing to be a part of people's lives and make an impact on their well-being every day."

Currently, the fellowship award is only open to internal candidates, but will be opened to fellows from across the nation in future years.

Texas Children's Maternal and Fetal Center is located at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women and is one of only a handful of facilities in the world to offer a full spectrum of maternal and fetal care. Comprehensive services include management of any complex pregnancy, genetic counseling and the full range of fetal diagnostic procedures. The Fetal Center also provides highly specialized fetal surgeries for a number of congenital malformations. Texas Children's is among the nation's leaders in providing high-risk maternal care and the diagnosis and treatment of abnormalities in unborn and newborn infants.

For more information, please visit

About Texas Children's Hospital
Texas Children's Hospital, a not-for-profit organization, is committed to creating a community of healthy children through excellence in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation, Texas Children's has recognized Centers of Excellence in multiple pediatric subspecialties including the Cancer and Heart Centers, and operates the largest primary pediatric care network in the country. Texas Children's has recently completed a $1.5 billion expansion, which includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; and Texas Children's Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston.  For more information on Texas Children's, go to Get the latest news from Texas Children's by visiting the online newsroom and on Twitter at Shackouls

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SOURCE Texas Children's Hospital
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