Batshaw, a longtime pediatrician in the District, has been named the first physician-in-chief of Children's National Medical Center.
What does it mean to you to be the first physician-in-chief at Children's?
It's a real honor. It really is an opportunity for me to try to pull together clinical, research and education elements that are going on at the hospital to try and develop something that's very new and exciting to advance the care of children locally and nationally.
What are your goals for your tenure?
The two major ones are safety and innovation in terms of developing novel approaches to treatment through research. We want to provide cutting-edge care to children, to look at the literature, to look at new medications and new treatments and to try and integrate that into care.
You're a widely respected developmental pediatrician. How will that experience shape your agenda?
Developmental disabilities are probably the most common disorders of childhood if you include learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism and the like. So my ability to work in a very interdisciplinary way at the hospital will really, I think, advance the care of these children.
We've seen significant federal budget cuts that are threatening research projects. Since you're overseeing research at Children's, are you worried?
I am concerned about those, especially if they're ongoing. For us, it means a loss of about $2 million a year in terms of support for research, and that's a grave concern to us. From a nationwide perspective, there's a whole generation of clinician-scientists who want to both provide care for children and improve their outcomes. These individuals are having an increasingly difficult time getting support for their research, and my worry is that they'll give up and be full-time clinicians. There's nothing wrong with that, but we need individuals who are going to lead us to the next level.
- Alan Blinder