Winter 2009

New Faculty Expand Treatment Options

An electrophysiologist and three surgeons have joined the staff at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital to expand the treatment options available to patients.

Ronn Tanel, M.D.

Electrophysiologist Ronn E. Tanel, M.D., director of the Pediatric Arrhythmia Center at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, specializes in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias in children, adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease. His expertise includes both medical and interventional therapies such as radiofrequency catheter ablation, cryoablation, pacemakers and implantable cardioverters-defibrillators.

After completing his pediatric cardiology fellowship and training in pediatric electrophysiology at Children's Hospital Boston, Tanel was an attending electrophysiologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from 1998 to 2008. He also participates in a variety of clinical research projects. Tanel believes that a coordinated effort between research and its clinical application is key to excellence in patient care. "Clinical research is necessary for progressive and cutting-edge medical practice," he says.

Kurtis Auguste, M.D.

After a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, Kurtis Auguste, M.D., recently returned to UCSF to direct the pediatric epilepsy surgery program. He is particularly excited by the advanced diagnostic techniques available here that help surgeons more precisely target seizure activity. These techniques include invasive strip and grid monitoring for deep seizure activity and the magnetoencephalogram, a newer, noninvasive technique that works by detecting magnetic fields in the brain.

Auguste completed his medical training, internship and neurosurgery residency at UCSF. In addition to his work with pediatric seizure disorders, his practice includes surgical management of hydrocephalus, spinal dysraphism, neuro-oncology, neurotrauma and craniofacial disorders. Of Caribbean ancestry, Auguste also speaks fluent Spanish and mentors at-risk youths and minority scholars in his free time. "Cultural sensitivity adds a layer of rapport that enables us to provide better care to a larger number of patients," he says.

Tippi MacKenzie, M.D.

An expert in advanced laparoscopic and open procedures for pediatric thoracic and hepatobiliary surgery, Tippi MacKenzie, M.D., corrects biliary atresia and resects lung lesions, bronchopulmonary sequestrations and choledochal cysts as part of her surgical practice. MacKenzie is also a fetal surgeon associated with the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center and participates in the correction of rare fetal anomalies requiring in utero surgery. "Referring during pregnancy allows us get to know the family and discuss the treatment options," says MacKenzie.

MacKenzie, a Stanford medical school graduate, completed her surgical residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a clinical pediatric surgery fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and three years of research on fetal surgery and in utero stem cell transplantation at CHOP. MacKenzie runs a fetal stem cell research lab in association with the UCSF Institute for Regeneration Medicine.

Shinjiro Hirose, M.D.

"Miniaturization of equipment and improved optics enable us to work on progressively smaller and smaller patients," says Shinjiro Hirsose, M.D., who was originally a robotics researcher after studying the topic as an undergraduate at MIT. Today, he is an expert in advanced, minimally invasive thoracic and abdominal surgery, and in advanced biliary surgery for patients from newborns to adolescents. He is also part of a unique clinical trial for fetal treatment of myelomeningocele at the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center.

Hirose obtained his medical degree from New York Medical College, did three years of clinical surgery training at UC Davis Medical Center, spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center and finished his clinical training at UCSF before doing specialty training in pediatric surgery at Columbia University's Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York.

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