CCANN’s Spring 2022 Virtual Conference


CCANN was proud to present its fourth virtual conference, “In the NICU…and Beyond!” on Saturday, April 2nd. Another great group of clinicians, all experts in their various medical fields with a wealth of NICU knowledge, presented to our community of healthcare professionals. Around 70 people participated and will be able to access the conference for a full 30 days, so those who couldn’t attend the whole event can. 5 CEUs were offered for this 5-hour conference. CCANN Education Liaison, Dee Morris NNP-BC, was the emcee for this special event.


Our first speaker was Dr. Radhika Narang, the Medical Director of Neonatal Transport and Neonatologist at Valley Children’s Hospital (VCH). She led the conference with a very current topic, “Family Centered Care during Covid time”. Dr. Narang stressed the importance of the parents being collaborative members of the NICU team. Data supports the positive impact that parental involvement can have on emotional and social outcomes for these babies, especially the LBW patients. During the pandemic, there is suboptimal care in the NICU as it relates to family-centered care, coupled with a lack of parental follow-up from the NICU team concerning their babies. Dr. Narang stressed the improvements that could occur if we were integrating video conferencing, unrestricting access to parents in the unit, etc. She shared with us what NIPU, a concept of Neonatal Intensive Parenting Unit environment could look like.


Next topic was presented by Jessica Gates, the High-Risk Infant Follow-up (HRIF) coordinator at VCH. She talked about the criteria our patients in the NICU meet to return to the clinic. Coordinating with different medical service lines, the HRIF can provide significant improvements in these patients’ development, so they can be on level with their peers in their age group, even in ELBW and HIE babies! HRIF had 1200 visits last year, but many of these visits occurred via telemedicine due to the pandemic, so the effectiveness of the follow-ups was not as great. Jessica showed charts comparing Valley Children’s HRIF data to the rest of California’s HRIF data, displaying the highlights of our program and where we can do better. One major factor that could improve our data is parents bringing their children to each of the follow-up appointments. Jessica stressed that the earlier the interventions, the better the outcome.


Dr. Mohammed Nael Mhaissen’s lecture of Congenital Syphilis was an hour filled with beneficial information to all NICU medical professionals. Dr. Mhaissen is the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Infectious Disease at VCH since 2019. He showed the stats of exponential increase of STDs, including Syphilis, in California over the past decade. The lecture had slides of the clinical manifestations and physical findings for the early vs. late Syphilis (after 2 years of age). Unfortunately, 57% of CA mothers have late or lack of prenatal care, so many aren’t appropriately treated for their disease prior to giving birth. Dr. Mhaissen reviewed 3 different scenarios of a mom with Syphilis and the presentation of her baby along with the likely treatment in that case. He also presented a great reference slide to accompany these case studies with a protocol of the plan of care.


Our final speaker was Dr. Omar Ali who joined the VCH team in 2018. In addition to his long list of accomplishments, Dr. Ali has been a reviewer as well as published in a variety of medical journals. His presentation topic was on Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH). He reviewed thyroid anatomy and physiology, the impact of primary CH, and how we diagnose and treat that disease state. Dr. Ali shared the clinical outcomes as well as case studies at the end of his educational presentation. A key point is to treat within 2 weeks of birth according to AAP. If we wait until symptoms appear to treat, irreversible brain damage has usually already occurred. His slides included interesting statistics, diagrams, as well as pictures of babies with typical signs of CH that we could be seeing in the NICU. During the short breaks, we had our vendors present their products: Ross Nicholls from Mead Johnson, Cassandra Wendling from Syneos, and Prolacta Bioscience. Thank you to those sponsors for all their support, especially during times like these. CCANN is proud to produce virtual conferences for all of us to enjoy and learn together from the comfort of our own homes. As Dee mentioned, the next Fall conference in October will be our first in-person conference since the pandemic began! Can’t wait to see you then for more NICU up-to-date education from the experts