Children's Healthcare of Atlanta grew out of the merger of Egleston Children's Health Care System and Scottish Rite Medical Center in 1998. In the years since, it has grown in scope-in 2012, Children's treated patients from all 159 counties in Georgia-and in scale: The addition of Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital in downtown Atlanta gives Children's three hospitals, along with 20 neighborhood locations and access to more than 1,700 pediatric physicians, representing more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs.
Patrick Frias, MD, oversees all physician practices employed or managed by Children's, as well as growing the relationships Children's has with the private practice community. In addition to that, he is responsible for the many research relationships that Children's has with regional academic partners, Emory University, Georgia Tech, the Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Georgia among them.
Frias' role, as it relates to research, is-in a short version-to develop and execute Children's academic mission.
"We've chosen a strategy at Children's where we leverage the strengths of our partners and they leverage the strengths of Children's," Frias said. "Rather than erecting research buildings that are purely owned by Children's, for instance, we partner with Emory University to leverage all of our resources to promote child health research."
For example, their newest building on Emory's campus also houses a joint biomedical engineering department between Emory and Georgia Tech.
While the expanse of Children's is great, so is the need for pediatric health care services. Frias said that Children's size is justified by the number of patients it treats, nearly 350,000 unique patients in 2013. Moreover, given Atlanta's size and notorious traffic congestion, Frias said that it made sense to utilize several locations.
Children's is also dedicated to research to improve the lives of children. Frias said that Children's recently updated clinical strategy highlights the importance of health services and high impact, bench-to-bedside research.
The steady erosion of federal research funding is a key component to Children's membership with Research!America.
"We all know federal funding is at risk. An organization like Research!America-with a focus to help maintain the funding for our research, emphasize importance of research, and be a voice for research-is key for us," Frias said. "It's very important to be part of an organization that is really keeping research at the forefront day in and day out."
Learn more at www.choa.org.