For Immediate Release
September 22, 2000
Contact: Jennifer Hart
New health center at Texas Children’s Hospital provides care for internationally adopted children
Houston - In response to a growing number of adoptions from other countries, Texas’ first multidisciplinary health center for internationally adopted children has opened at Texas Children’s Hospital. The center is staffed by highly skilled Texas Children’s health professionals who have provided medical care for children in Mexico, Romania, and many African nations.
The Texas Children’s Health Center for International Adoptions is designed to assist children who were orphaned or abandoned in other countries. Many of these children face health challenges, including infectious diseases, malnutrition, and developmental delays. This constellation of findings is rarely part of a pediatrician’s usual practice.
"It’s natural to take what we’ve learned in the international setting and bring it home to Texas Children’s, providing an important resource to internationally adopted children in Houston and Texas," said Dr. Mark Kline, chief of the retrovirology clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
Kline and Dr. Heidi Schwarzwald, medical director at the new health center and attending physician at Texas Children’s, and instructor of pediatrics at Baylor, have witnessed the needs of international adoptees first-hand since 1996.
The physicians lead the International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s and Baylor, a multidisciplinary team that provides medical and social services to HIV-infected children worldwide.
Experts at the new Texas Children’s health center are available to assist parents even before they personally meet the child, according to Schwarzwald.
"We can review a child’s profile or medical records sent by the adoption agency," she said. "Once parents leave the country to pick up their child, we can be reached at all times."
Specialists at the center recommend a comprehensive physical and developmental examination within 72 hours of the child’s arrival in the United States, and they offer laboratory and dietary assessments, counseling for new parents, ongoing care options and, if needed, referrals to any specialist at Texas Children’s. All services are provided by an array of specially trained health professionals, including physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers, and counselors.
"The health center is an exciting new opportunity for Texas Children’s to expand its mission of building a community of healthy children, said Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital. "We’re reaching out to ensure good health for all children, including those who come to us from other countries."
The center also offers unique educational opportunities to Texas Children’s physicians.
"It’s important for a teaching hospital like Texas Children’s to provide experience in all aspects of pediatric care to medical students and residents," said Dr. Ralph D. Feigin, physician-in-chief of Texas Children’s and president and CEO of Baylor. "An added benefit of the center is that pediatric residents who graduate from the training program at Texas Children’s will be better equipped to manage the challenges of caring for international adoptees."
For details on the Texas Children’s Health Center for International Adoptions, or to make an appointment, call or (TCH-KIDS). Information on the center is available online at www.texaschildrenshospital.org.