Media Coverage

$2.5 Million Pledged by Rady Children’s Auxiliary to Support Rady Pediatric Genomics Institute

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San Diego – May 2, 2015 – Building upon its legacy as a visionary and pioneering force for pediatric healthcare in San Diego, Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary has announced it is pledging $2.5 million to support the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute.

Since a small group of women first met in 1953, the Auxiliary has worked in partnership with Rady Children’s to fundraise, advocate for the health and well-being of children and increase community awareness of the Hospital.

“The Auxiliary’s generous pledge represents an important measure of the community’s support for the mission of the Institute,” said David F. Hale, Chairman of the Board of the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute. “It means that our most ardent supporters are in agreement that genomics is very important in the future of pediatric medicine and Rady Children’s is leading the way.”

“In 1954, the Auxiliary was the driving force behind creating a Hospital just for kids and has consistently supported its growth over six decades,” said Steve Jennings, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Now the Auxiliary is again taking a leadership role by being the first to heed Ernest Rady’s call to join him in launching the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute.”

Auxiliary President Cheryl Steinholt leads the 22 units countywide.

“Our Auxiliary is one of a kind and together we truly make a difference in the lives of children and families in our community,” said Steinholt. “We are so excited to take that next step and support the Genomics Institute which has the potential to make a profound impact on healthcare for children worldwide.”

Every year the Auxiliary holds various events and activities that collectively result in funding a myriad of programs; some are existing programs that are greatly enhanced, and some would simply not exist without the Auxiliary’s philanthropy. The Auxiliary intends to maintain this strong philanthropic support while raising $2.5 million above and beyond its typical annual contribution.

“We honor the more than 1,300 members of Rady Children’s Auxiliary for their dedication, vision and support as they join us on this journey into the future of pediatric medicine,” said Dr. Donald Kearns, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rady Children’s.

About Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego:

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is a 520-bed pediatric care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, Southern Riverside and Imperial Counties. Rady Children’s is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center. In June 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Rady Children’s among the best children’s hospitals in the nation in all ten pediatric specialties the magazine surveyed. For more information, visit www.rchsd.org and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube.

Media Contact:

Ben Metcalf
619.822.8593

Rady Genomics Institute Begins Sequencing Genomes of Children Born with Birth Defects of Unknown Cause

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Hospital Names Researcher Christina Chambers as First Faculty Member

San Diego – April 26, 2015 – In a first step towards realizing the future of personalized pediatric medicine, Rady Children’s Hospital–San Diego has begun whole genome sequencing of San Diego County children born with birth defects of unknown cause. The Hospital has appointed Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, to lead this effort as the first faculty member of the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute at Rady Children’s.

The collaborative research effort led by Dr. Chambers at the Institute will focus on examining the data obtained from whole genome sequencing of children born with structural birth defects, such as cleft palate or congenital heart defects. The Institute’s goal is to sequence the genome of every child born with a birth defect in San Diego County where the origin of the defect or disorder is unknown. An estimated two to three percent of children are born with a defect that is recognizable at birth. The ultimate goal of the sequencing is to translate research into therapies that can either treat the child’s condition or to identify risk factors which may prevent the defect. Selected sequencing of these children’s parents will also play a valuable research role.

“The Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute promises to be a groundbreaking incubator for discovery for birth defects research,” said Dr. Chambers. “My role within the Institute provides a unique opportunity to study both the environmental and genetic causes of birth defects, as frequently there is not one single cause.”
Dr. Chambers has dedicated her professional career to this important work. A UC San Diego Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Chambers is a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist with a research focus on environmental causes of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including birth defects.

“By adding the power of genomic sequencing, we have the opportunity to increase the speed of scientific discovery exponentially and expedite the translation to actionable prevention, treatments and cures,” said Dr. Chambers.

Dr. Chambers’ currently funded research activities include:
• A set of North American cohort studies evaluating the impact of rheumatologic diseases and the medications used to treat them on pregnancy outcomes
• A California Native American Research Center project testing the effectiveness of a Web-based vs. peer health educator model for preventing risky alcohol consumption in women of childbearing age
• A comparative effectiveness study of asthma medications in pregnancy
• A North American-wide fetal safety study of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine and antiviral drugs used in pregnancy
• International research activities of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders involving studies in Ukraine, Russia, South Africa, and collaborations in Australia and Poland

“Our vision to pursue pediatric genomics research was born out of our deep belief in the mission of Rady Children’s Hospital,” said David Hale, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute at Rady Children’s. “There is a great deal of excitement worldwide about the possibilities of personalized medicine, and Rady Children’s leadership feels strongly that San Diego is the right place, with the right biotechnology and philanthropic partners, at the right time to pursue the dream – – that every child who comes to Rady Children’s for care will have the benefits of genomic sequencing – – and that one day we will extend our mission …to restore, sustain and enhance the health and developmental potential of children…worldwide as we share these discoveries.”