ENT Conference Has First Down Syndrome Panel

The Sie Center’s Dr. Francis Hickey and Global’s Michelle Sie Whitten present at the national otolaryngology conference in Vail.

Dr. Francis Hickey

Dr. Francis Hickey, Sie Center Medical Director

Since the late 1960s, the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology has hosted the “Ultimate Colorado Midwinter Meeting,” a national Otolaryngology (Ears, Nose, Throat, or “ENT”) conference in Vail. This year, the conference organized its first Down syndrome-specific panel of experts. The panel had over 70 attendees, including ear, nose and throat physicians, audiologists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

The panel of Down syndrome experts included:

  • Dr. Kathleen Sie, Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Director of the Childhood Communication Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Co-Director of the Cochlear Implants Program
  • Dr. Francis Hickey, Medical Director of the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Emily Nightengale, Audiologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Dr. Norm Friedman, Associate Professor and Director of Children’s Sleep Medicine Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Dr. Craig Buchman, Director of the Ear and Hearing Center and the Skull Base Center, Administrative Director of the W. Paul Biggers Carolina Children’s Communicative Disorders Program, Professor and Vice Chairman for Clinical Affairs, Chief of the Division of Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery at the University of North Carolina

Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, opened the panel by providing a parent and advocacy group perspective. Whitten commented after the panel, “It is wonderful to have so much interest from the medical community in terms of how best to treat patients with Down syndrome – what a great dialogue we had!”

Medical professionals attending the panel were interested in understanding what it means when 50 percent to 90 percent of children with Down syndrome have hearing loss, sleep apnea, and/or other ENT-related issues.

Part of the mission of the multi-disciplinary team at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado is to engage in clinical research and provide best practices to medical professionals providing care to patients with Down syndrome through speaking opportunities and through publications. For more information on the Sie Center or to make an appointment, call 720-777-6750.

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