ST. PETERSBURG — All Children's Hospital for years has helped train medical students. But its academic program will see a major boost when it joins the Johns Hopkins Health System later this year. The prestigious Baltimore institution plans to bring research faculty members and residents to join the doctors and other staffers at All Children's.
Heading that initiative is Dr. Jonathan Ellen, who will move from Baltimore to serve as interim pediatrician-in-chief and vice dean for the All Children's campus for 18 months.
Ellen is a vice chairman for pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, overseeing the research, residency programs and medical students at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. He's also the chairman of pediatrics at Bayview.
In an interview last week, Ellen, 48, offered some initial thoughts about All Children's, and what changes patients and their families might see after it officially joins the Johns Hopkins Health System by the end of the year.
What similarities do you see between your current role at Hopkins and your future role at All Children's?
Bayview was a predominantly clinical program without a strong academic component when I came here 41/2 years ago. And over the years we have turned it into a small, but well-integrated academic department. We have research that goes on, focusing on health outcomes, community health, Latino health and racial disparities. That research permeates the clinical programs, so the clinical programs have become more solid.
(In both cases) you're taking what is a clinical program and turning it into an academic medical center. But with All Children's, a lot of those pieces are already in place.
What's the benefit of bringing that model to All Children's?
It makes your recruitment of the highest-caliber clinicians a little bit easier. But what you learn from walking the hallways of Johns Hopkins is that there are innovations that people make in their research that translate into the best and cutting-edge care for children and their families.
All Children's right now is on the cutting edge of most things they're doing. Their surgeons are top flight. Their specialists are top flight. In all this, we're talking about small differences. But those small differences can make a difference to some family.
What are your initial thoughts on All Children's?
The first time I came down, I was blown away by how great it was, and it didn't take very much to say what a great marriage it would be. It was like "wow, here is an incredible clinical institution, incredible hospital, incredible commitment by the community for this hospital, and a board and management that really wanted more support for developing their academic side."
Have you visited All Children's, and when do you expect to be here full time?
I've been there four or five times over the last year. The last time was about 10 days ago.
When the deal closes, then I come down full time.
How will your department look and operate?
We don't know yet. I have to … hire an assistant. It will start small. But we expect to begin the hiring of research faculty. There's the opportunity to recruit both outside and within the Hopkins system.
How might this affect All Children's existing relationship with the University of South Florida?
The most important part is that we don't have any preconceived notions about that. I think we know what we're trying to achieve, which is a great academic medical center. And within that is a great clinical program and a residency training program. Both exist right now. I just don't know what the right way forward will be.
Richard Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8330.