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9/4/19news article

Dayton Children's honors providers with prestigious awards

Dayton Children’s is celebrating physicians and providers who put the well-being of children first in all they do.

Elizabeth Ey, MD, was named winner of the Wallace B. Taggart Award, the highest physician honor. It is given to someone who lives up to the standards set by its namesake, Dr. Wallace B. Taggart, who worked alongside Dr. Alan Shafer and Elsie Mead to establish Dayton Children’s as a full-service children’s hospital in 1967.

Dr. Ey is the chief, division of medical imaging and radiology. In her 31 years at Dayton Children’s, she was instrumental in bringing the computer age to Dayton Children’s with digital radiography including CT and MRI. She was a champion of the Image Gently campaign to reduce radiation to the lowest possible amount to achieve a quality image. She is a life-long learner, keeping on top of the latest trends and adjusting practices and protocols as needed to provide the very best care, including installing the area’s first 3T MRI.

“Dr. Ey goes beyond what one would think one individual could possibly do - moving from professional to personal seamlessly as mother, wife, esteemed physician, educator, scientist and administrator,” says Larry Kleiner, MD, retired neurosurgeon. “She was my ace in the hole, joining me in the operating suite to help translate the black and white images to flesh and blood.”

Graduating summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a degree in microbiology, she went on to medical school, internship and residency at Tulane University. She completed a fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center Hospital then came to Dayton Children’s in 1988.

She is the only physician in the Dayton area who reads maternal fetal MRIs, giving physicians and moms the information they need to guide a plan for care.  She provides coverage two weeks a year at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, so their radiologists can attend national meetings.

She routinely serves on a minimum of a dozen hospital committees at one time, including continuous quality improvement, women in medicine, trauma process improvement and sedation oversight.  Her colleagues seek her input as a problem solver and collaborator with a calm, logical and deliberate approach. She also just joined the board of the Ronald McDonald House.

“It’s evident when you meet a person who is in the top tier of everything they do – and Beth is certainly that person,” says Tom Krzmarzick, MD, chief, division of emergency medicine.

Dr. Ey is no stranger to honors. In 2010, she was named a Collaborator of Caring in Education and Professional Practice. She earned the Alan B. Shafer, MD, Distinguished Service Award in 2011, the same year she was named to the Best Doctors in America list.

But perhaps the trait that sets her apart is her ability to connect with people. Radiologists may be viewed as people who like to sit in the dark by themselves but she takes a totally different approach. She is the light in the darkness to so many children, families and fellow clinicians. Families still come back to visit her or send her notes of thanks, decades after they were here. While this may be common for a pediatrician or another long-term caregiver, for a radiologist, who typically stays in the background, it’s almost unheard of.

Beth is generous in her time, knowledge and philanthropy – giving to not only Dayton Children’s endeavors but also to those in the community such as the Physicians for Kids Discovery series at the Victoria theatre.

But most of all she is generous with her heart. When care needs to be given, she gives it – whether it be to patient, family or staff.

“She encourages questions and inspires confidence in her staff,” says Melanie Wilson, director of medical imaging and laboratory.  “Her humanity is like a rainbow opening up the possibility of changing children’s lives with just a few extra minutes, a little more time listening, a tad more comfortable way of treating people.”

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Two providers were also recognized with the Alan B. Shafer, MD, Distinguished Service Award.  They were chosen because they support Dayton Children’s and the community and are a role model to others.  They exemplify the highest quality in pediatric care and have made a significant contribution to the mission of the hospital. 

Mary Beth DeWitt, PhD, is the manager of the psychology program. Her nomination was endorsed by five other psychologists on her team for being an inspiring leader to her staff, clinician to her patients, teacher to her students and an overall asset to the hospital.

In her 22 years at the hospital, she has implemented and led programs that have changed how the community helps children with autism.  Mary Beth worked to spearhead the hospital’s first autism clinic with Eileen Kasten, MD, more than a decade ago.

This clinic morphed into the autism diagnostic center in 2015. As part of the center, she designed the “First Steps” program which provides screening for kids suspected to have autism, allowing families to get in faster than the average hospital. This allows the child to be connected to services quicker, regardless of those services are for autism or another developmental delay.

The face of behavioral health has changed dramatically at the hospital over the last five years and Mary Beth is a key leader in that transformation. She helped open the behavioral health center in Springboro in 2017, providing psychiatry, psychology, developmental pediatrics and autism for services for families in the southern suburbs.

Her commitment doesn’t stop at the exam room door. She has given countless talks and presentations at local schools and autism groups in the community about screening and resources.

From the words of the five psychologists who nominated her “In summary, Dr. DeWitt has it all! She is a champion for the mental health needs of children in our region. She goes about her work not with herself in mind, but always puts other first – her team and her patients.”

 

Gogi Kumar, MD, is the chief of the neurology division. Her leadership over the past six years has changed the landscape of the division. Under her guidance, Dayton Children’s established a neurosciences unit in the new patient tower, complete with an epilepsy monitoring unit. Her division was designated as a Level 3 Epilepsy Center in 2014 and with the addition of epilepsy surgery services in 2019, is well on the way to a Level 4 designation in the coming years.

She championed a number of new services with her innovation, tenacity and drive. The neurology division now offers several multidisciplinary clinics for children with first seizures, headaches, Tourette’s and movement disorders. More offerings now include brain mapping, 24-hours EEG monitoring, ketogenic diet for intractable seizures and headache infusion.

Dr. Kumar has worked tirelessly to improve access. She played a crucial role in recruiting five neurologists and two nurse practitioners, helping provide appointments within days instead of months.

Her commitment to her colleagues is evident by the numerous committees she participates in, including care transformation, physician engagement, physician wellness, ambulatory process improvement, among others. She has organized a neurology symposium for the past four years and worked to secure more than $300,000 in grants for research in concussions, muscular dystrophy and intracranial hypertension.

In the words of Marvin Miller, MD, chief, division of genetics, who nominated Gogi, “Gogi’s hard work and effort has taken the division of neurology to new heights with expanded services and programs, recruitment of new neurologists and academic success. Her track record of accomplishments is extraordinary.”

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