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Media Contact: Holly Korschun
  (404) 727-3990
27 February 2007
Emory Pediatrician Honored for Improving Access To Comprehensive Down Syndrome Care
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) honored Emory University pediatrician Jeannie Visootsak, MD, FAAP, as one of the recipients of the AAPÕs annual CATCH Planning Funds grants. Awarded on a competitive basis each year, CATCH (Community Access to Child Health) is a national AAP program designed to increase access and improve the quality of medical care for children across the United States.

"The CATCH Program exemplifies the commitment of the AAP and pediatricians nationwide to improving American children's access to quality healthcare," said AAP President Jay E. Berkelhamer, MD, FAAP. "We are inspired by this year's award-winners and proud to support these visionary pediatricians and their ongoing efforts to enhance children's healthcare."

Dr. Jeannie Visootsak is the medical director at Emory University School of Medicine's Down Syndrome Clinic at the Department of Human Genetics, which is the area's leading resource for children with Down syndrome. Dr. Visootsak's CATCH grant supported her pioneering "CATCH Up with Down" program, which allowed the Down Syndrome Clinic to partner with birth hospitals, pediatricians and the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta to provide coordinated clinical services, education and support to children with Down syndrome.

"The CATCH Program embodies a partnership between the AAP and its professional members in order to improve children's access to quality healthcare. IÕm grateful to the AAP for their support of my long-standing interest in improving the care received by children with Down syndrome," said Dr. Visootsak.

Approximately 180 children are born with Down syndrome in Georgia each year. One of the goals in establishing a specialty clinic for families of children with Down syndrome was to offer them services immediately after their child's birth. The "CATCH Up with Down" program links birth hospitals in the metro-Atlanta area with the Down Syndrome Clinic to enable early referrals.

The first months of life are critical developmentally. Ongoing clinical and developmental assessments of children with Down Syndrome help parents maximize the benefits their child receives from early interventional services and therapies," Dr. Visootsak notes.

Wyeth Vaccines, a division of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, has helped support the CATCH Program's Planning Funds grants for the past 13 years. To receive a CATCH grant, pediatricians must submit for review a program proposal to develop innovative, community-based initiatives that increase children's access to medical homes or to specific health services not otherwise available. Planning project activities must lead to sustainable, community-based child health initiatives that increase access to care, especially for underserved children, and address health disparities among children.

The AAP has supported more than 875 CATCH Community Initiatives to improve child healthcare services across the U.S. Wyeth has contributed to honoring the exceptional efforts of pediatricians across the county by sponsoring the Planning Funds Grants since 1993.

For more information regarding the Down Syndrome Clinic at Emory University, please contact 404-778-8524.

# # # The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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