By Caitlyn Finnegan
The University of Florida is back to winning national titles — but this time it’s in the world of medicine, not college sports.
The University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital was recognized for its high level of care for children in six medical specialties by U.S. News and World Report.
U.S. News’ Best Children’s Hospitals rankings list the top 50 hospitals in 10 areas of specialties, with UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital ranked in diabetes and endocrinology (17th nationally), nephrology (26th nationally), cardiology and heart surgery (32nd nationally), gastroenterology (34th nationally), pulmonology (40th nationally) and cancer (46th nationally).
“These rankings show that for a program of our size, we are one of the top pediatric programs in the U.S.,” said Dr. Scott Rivkees, chairman of the department of pediatrics in the UF College of Medicine, in a news release.
Dr. Rivkees said the program is seeing more children than ever before, bringing in patients from not only Florida, but across the nation and the around the world.
“These children come to our organization because of the specialized care that we, and only a handful of other programs, can provide,” Dr. Rivkees said.
Of its top recognized specialties, the hospital was ranked highest in diabetes and endocrinology for the state of Florida. This was also the first year UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital was recognized for its pediatric cancer program.
Initiatives to improve the bone marrow transplant unit and palliative care efforts over the past two years likely led to this recognition, said Dr. William Slayton, chief of the division of hematology and oncology in the department of pediatrics.
The pediatric division has also become more closely aligned with the UF Proton Therapy Institute, which supplies targeted radiation to tumors, limiting the amount of healthy tissue affected by treatment; a significant benefit as children are still growing and susceptible to side effects from radiation, Dr. Slayton said.
For a full list of the rankings and methodology used to compile the list, visit usnews.com/childrenshospitals.