Clinical Center News
Winter 2016

Former NIH trainee returns to lecture on leading cause of pediatric acquired heart disease

Guest speaker, Dr. Adriana Tremoulet, lectures on Kawasaki Disease in the NIH Clinical Center.
Guest speaker, Dr. Adriana Tremoulet, lectures on Kawasaki Disease in the NIH Clinical Center.

Dr. Adriana Tremoulet, alum of the NIH Clinical Research Training Program, came back to the NIH Clinical Center Nov. 9 as a guest speaker for the Contemporary Clinical Medicine: Great Teachers lecture.

Tremoulet, who completed the training program in 1999, now called the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP), is an associate professor and associate director at the Kawasaki Disease Research Center at the University of California San Diego Rady Children's Hospital.

"I used to sit in this auditorium as an MRSP fellow, and it's an absolute honor to be on this side of the podium today," she said.

Tremoulet spoke on Kawasaki Disease, a childhood disease that's a form of vasculitis. The disease causes inflammation of blood vessels such as the arteries, veins, capillaries and even the coronary arteries – which can lead to serious heart problems. It occurs predominately in children of Pacific Island and Asian descent.

"It's often labeled as a rare disease but it is the most common cause of acquired heart disease not only here in the U.S. and Japan, but across the world," she said. "Our job as scientists and the family's job as parents is to make sure we do everything possible so that [patients] don't suffer."

Tremoulet presented a case on a 4-month-old patient with a rash and fever. The patient's mom had been told by numerous medical providers that he had a shellfish allergy, but "when you look closely [at his photo], you see red eyes, red lips – he had classic Kawasaki Disease," Tremoulet said.

She then discussed additional patient cases, diagnosis strategies and future treatment possibilities.

Dr. John I. Gallin accepting the Lasker ~ Bloomberg award
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Dr. Paul Farmer, Melva Fernandez Quispe, her father Carlos Fernandez Suni, Dr. Francis Collins and staff
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from left to right, trainees Debbie York, Faith Gill, Sayaka Simmons, Joe Shadrick and Lonice Carter and Rachel Perkins
Dr. Adriana Tremoulet
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Dr. Rita Volochayev, a nurse practitioner with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Clinical Research Branch, works with both pediatric and adult patient populations at the NIH CC. She came to the NIH in 2006 to work on her dissertation and subsequently ended up staying upon receiving her doctorial degree. Volochayev said being a nurse practitioner at the NIH is a unique challenge. Nurse practitioners at the NIH have mastered the ability to lead and contribute to almost every discipline at many different levels. The role is a blending of clinical, research, administrative, regulatory, educational, mentoring and supervisory skills. Usually, no two nurse practioners' roles are the same at the NIH. Basically, nurse practitioners function as the primary point of contact for everything and anything.
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