May 23, 2011
Dr. Karyn Patno, Pediatrician at NVRH St. Johnsbury Pediatrics displays the “Fostering Collaboration” award she recently received at the KidSafe Collaborative Annual Awards luncheon. Dr. Patno garnered the award for starting the Vermont Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) prevention project. The KidsSafe Collaborative engages agencies, community groups and individuals in Chittenden County, VT to protect children and to prevent child abuse. Dr. Patno has established a state-wide program in child abuse pediatrics.
In 2007 and 2008, Patno noticed an alarming increase in the number of AHT (also referred to as “shaken baby syndrome”) cases. With the help of collaborators including Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Vermont Child Health Improvement Project and the Department for Children and Families, Patno started the Vermont AHT Prevention Project. The hospital phase of the project, which was completed in 2010, aimed at improving parent education in the newborn nursery around the topic of infant crying.
Pediatric offices are trained in the education and support of parents around infant crying; family practice offices are now the focus. Training involving the hospital newborn nursery intervention, pediatric offices and primary care offices is on-going, and takes about an hour. The percentage of AHT cases in Vermont has dropped 86% in the past three years.
In the program written in honor of Patno’s “Fostering Collaboration” award, the closing remark sums up Patno’s commitment to keep children safe. “No professional better exemplifies leadership, initiative, and collaboration with multiple agencies and disciplines… when it comes to promoting the safety and well-being of children.”
Hilary De Carlo