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UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital recognized in nine medical specialties

The University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of the nation’s best hospitals for children in nine medical specialties, according to U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals rankings released today (June 21).

UF Health’s pediatric programs were the most-recognized in the state, and seven of the nine were the highest-ranked in Florida.

Two UF Health specialties were new to the list this year — neurology and neurosurgery (46th) and urology (40th). They join seven other pediatric specialties that were also ranked last year: diabetes and endocrinology (tied for 18th), cancer (22nd), neonatology (23rd), cardiology and heart surgery (24th), pulmonology (27th), nephrology (tied for 32nd) and gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery (40th). Six of the seven departments improved their standings from 2015.

“The improved rankings we have seen in recent years, and especially the breadth of excellence recognized in this year’s rankings, reflect our commitment to building a world-class Children’s Hospital at the University of Florida. Under the leadership of Dr. Scott Rivkees, we have combined new facilities with extraordinary faculty and staff to provide the best possible patient care experience along with important research breakthroughs and superb hospitality,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health.

Scott Rivkees, M.D., chair of the UF College of Medicine department of pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, said he was delighted to see the neurology and urology divisions take their place among the nation’s elite specialties. U.S. News’ Best Children’s Hospitals rankings list the top 50 hospitals in each of 10 specialties.

“Our physicians and researchers have focused intently on getting even better at their pediatric specialties,” Rivkees said. “These rankings speak to our continued recognition for the excellence of care we provide. We are not only a top-ranked pediatric hospital in Florida, but we are among the top-ranked in the southeastern United States.”

In the current rankings, gastroenterology made a significant jump from last year (49th to 40th), and neonatology, heart surgery and cancer all moved into the top 25.

“These rankings are a result of the dedication and determination among our physicians, nurses and staff. Their pride in their work is one of the many reasons that an increasing number of people choose UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital when their child has a challenging illness,” said Ed Jimenez, chief executive officer of UF Health Shands.

Peter B. Kang, M.D., chief of the division of pediatric neurology in the department of pediatrics, said teamwork was crucial to achieving the new ranking.

“I am very proud of the hard work that I witness every day on the part of our pediatric neurologists, nursing staff and administrative staff to optimize patient care in our division. One of the main factors that contributed to this recognition is our drive to enhance subspecialty services within pediatric neurology. We have started several new subspecialty clinics, and more are on the way. Our fruitful partnership with our neurosurgical colleagues has also been a key factor in our success,” Kang said.

Romano T. DeMarco, M.D., an associate professor in the College of Medicine’s department of urology and chief of the division of pediatric urology, said he is very happy with the new ranking.

“It certainly has been a group effort from our division and department, focusing on providing timely and exceptional care for children in the North Florida region. While we pride ourselves on being able to handle all pediatric urologic conditions, our focus has been advancing care in those children with complex urologic conditions. We have seen an increase in referrals for children with these conditions from Florida and nearby states during the last several years,” he said.

The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings rely on clinical data and an annual survey of pediatric specialists. Details about the rankings can be viewed at The rankings will be published in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2017” guidebook, which will be available for pre-sale on Aug. 1.

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Doug Bennett
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