The William Randolph Hearst Foundation has announced a $250,000 grant to the University of California, Davis Children's Hospital to expand the hospital's two-year-old pediatric telemedicine program to child-abuse evaluation and consultation services.
Built on a high-resolution video and audio fiber-optic platform, UC Davis' telemedicine program initially will connect child-abuse specialists from the UC Davis Child and Adolescent Abuse Resource and Evaluation Center in Sacremento with emergency-room physicians and child-abuse specialists at the Mercy Medical Center in Mount Shasta and the Mercy Medical Center in Redding. Eventually, up to five other regional sites will be linked to the system, allowing UC Davis child-abuse specialists to assist in determining the cause of injuries in suspected child-abuse cases and in developing strong medical records for judicial proceedings. A portion of the grant from the foundation also will be used to fund education efforts to prevent child abuse and on studies to determine whether the various interventions affect the conviction rate for abusers.
"Our current telemedicine program already connects critical-care physicians in Northern California with our experts here in Sacramento to assist in determining optimal treatment for acutely ill and injured children in outlying areas," said Robert Dimand, associate professor of pediatrics and director of the pediatric intensive care unit at UC Davis Children's Hospital. "This gift from the Hearst Foundation allows us to broaden our services into another critically needed area — child abuse evaluation."