• Children's of Alabama

    Top 18 of '18

From our humble beginnings 107 years ago, Children’s of Alabama has grown to become one of the largest freestanding pediatric hospitals in the U.S. The year 2018 brought more opportunities to expand programs and establish new services, and broaden our footprint in Alabama and the Southeast. The following list, in no particular order, is an overview of accomplishments among our vast team who work tirelessly for our children every day.

Number One

Child of Children's

Harmony Cooper

Sickle Cell Disease

Ben Johnson


Zaylan Jones


Emmy Rains

Crohn’s Disease

Stefani Swindle

Subglottic Stenosis

Beaux Waites

Number Two




Children’s and the Anne B. LaRussa Foundation of Hope established the Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC) to help patients, families and providers better navigate the mental healthcare system. The PIRC is located in Children’s Emergency Department and staffed by licensed mental health clinicians who, via telephone or in person, assess a child or teen’s mental, emotional and behavioral needs, and recommend the best treatment options. Anyone with a mental health question or concern regarding a child or adolescent is encouraged to contact the PIRC at 205-638-PIRC (7472). Clinicians can match patients and their families with mental health services and providers in a five-county area (Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Blount and Walker), assess risk factors, answer questions about mental health issues and provide community resource information and safety planning for future crises.

Number Three




Thanks to a generous donation from Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc., new technology at the Children’s of Alabama Burn Center will help shift young patients’ focus away from their injuries. The purchase of a 3D V-Pod Sensory Pain Distraction System not only provides distraction for patients undergoing painful treatment and procedures as a result of injury, but also enhances the rehabilitation process by encouraging movement and mobility. Featuring both 2D and 3D capabilities, the V-Pod allows patients to play interactive games, view pleasant scenery, engage in storytelling or listen to soothing music.  Of the 236 children’s hospitals in the U.S., only 14, including Children’s, have this interactive technology. Mercedes-Benz’s generosity also allowed the Burn Center to furnish two outpatient rooms with large flat-screen televisions equipped with integrated entertainment and patient education.

Number Four




Batman, Captain America, Spiderman and Superman were among the superheroes who rappelled down the side of Children’s of Alabama, surprising patients as part of the hospital’s annual Superhero Month celebration in October. Children’s and Books-A-Million joined forces to recognize patients and staff as real life superheroes as part of “The Power of Children’s” campaign. The monthlong celebration honors the strength, courage and resilience of patients and their families via several superhero-themed events.

Number Five




Children’s of Alabama completed construction on a two-room addition to its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), located on the seventh floor of the Quarterback Club Tower in the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. The renovation raised the PICU’s room count from 22 to 24 beds. Children’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) expanded to a capacity of 16 operational beds. When the need presents itself, the unit can expand to 17 beds for an abbreviated period of time.

Number Six




Children’s of Alabama naturally attracts special visitors wishing to put a smile on our kids’ faces.  Celebrities such as St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Miami Dolphin safety and former Alabama Crimson Tide player Minkah Fitzpatrick, NASCAR drivers Noah Gragson and Ryan Reed, former Houston Rockets star and Alabama native Robert Horry and Miss Alabama stopped by to say “hi.” Annual visits from competing teams in the Birmingham Bowl (University of Memphis and Wake Forest University), Birmingham Barons baseball players and University of Alabama and Auburn University mascots Big Al and Aubie are always a welcome occasion.

Number Seven




Children’s of Alabama hosted the Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS) South Regional Meeting in 2018, with more than 100 attendees from 14 hospitals participating in a learning session titled “All Teach, All Learn.” SPS represents the most herculean effort to date by children’s hospitals to create a universally safe and healing environment for all children. Children’s is among 130-plus hospitals nationwide working together to help each individual hospital make progress on a journey to zero harm.

Number Eight




For the ninth consecutive year, Children’s of Alabama is ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.  Eight of Children’s pediatric specialty services – Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Neonatology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery and Pulmonology – are among the top 50 in the United States in the magazine’s 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospital rankings. Currently, U.S. News & World Report ranks 10 specialties.

Number Nine




The nuclear medicine team at Children’s of Alabama now performs radioiodine therapy for patients who have hyperthyroidism caused by Grave’s disease or as part of treatment for certain types of thyroid cancer. The treatment was previously performed at UAB for Children’s patients.  In order for Children’s to be licensed for this type of therapy, certain specifications were required for radiation safety, for nearby patients and Children’s employees. Requirements included the construction of a lead-lined room for the patient to live in during treatment, additional radiation warning signage, additional training for the nuclear medicine staff and nurse training in radiation safety specific to radioiodine therapy. These specifications were necessary to ensure the safety of the patients, their families, caregivers and the general public.

Number Ten




Children’s of Alabama and Lakeshore Foundation joined forces to provide pediatric clinical and therapy services on the campus of Lakeshore Foundation. Children’s at Lakeshore offers physician care by the UAB Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine and therapy services by Children’s of Alabama’s Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology staff members. Children’s at Lakeshore serves children and adolescents with acute onset or chronically disabling conditions who can benefit from the combination of a medically based model of care and community-based healthy living and transitional services. This unique collaboration is designed to help each child achieve their highest level of independence.

Number Eleven




Children's of Alabama is now one of about 35 healthcare institutions in the United States, and the only pediatric provider in Alabama, chosen to offer a new FDA-approved immunotherapy called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. Children’s offers the treatment intended for children and young adults with pre-B cell pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). ALL is a cancer of the bone marrow and the most common form of pediatric leukemia. About 3,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with ALL in the U.S. each year. CAR T-cell therapy is designed for ALL that has returned after treatment or that is unresponsive to standard chemotherapy treatment. Typically, about 90 percent of ALL patients are cured with intensive chemotherapy treatment. The remaining patients don’t respond to chemotherapy or relapse and have a poor prognosis. CAR T-cell therapy takes a patient’s own immune cells, white blood cells that normally help fight infection, and programs the cells to recognize and destroy the patient’s leukemia cells. Multicenter clinical trials demonstrate an 83% rate of remission in these very high-risk patients, and these remissions are long-lasting in approximately 50% of patients.

Number Twelve




Honorees at the 2018 Employee Service Awards took a whirlwind trip “Around the World” at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel. Employees celebrating service anniversaries (five-year increments) enjoyed a reception and dinner emceed by Janice Rogers and Jeh Jeh Pruitt of WBRC Fox 6. Live music was provided by Shaun Pezant and band Top Secret. This year included special recognition for 45-year employees Cereta Anderson, Barbara Burton, Barbara Morris and Viola Peterson, and 50-year employee Ophelia Nichols, pictured with Children’s president and CEO Mike Warren. This year’s event marked a record attendance of 858 honorees and guests.

Number Thirteen




2018 marked 23 years since Children’s of Alabama entered the primary care market, expanding its footprint outside of its main campus on Birmingham’s Southside. Children’s owns and manages 13 practices throughout the state under its arm called Pediatric Practice Solutions – Pell City Pediatrics, Pediatrics East Trussville, Physicians to Children in Montgomery, Greenvale Pediatrics in Hoover and Alabaster, Mayfair Medical Group, Vestavia Pediatrics, Pediatrics East Deerfoot, Over the Mountain Pediatrics, Greenvale Pediatrics Brook Highland, Midtown Pediatrics, Pediatrics West Bessemer and Pediatrics West McAdory. The following practices and physicians earned the following accolades:

Physicians to Children celebrated its 40th anniversary. Founded by Dr. Robert “Bob” Beshear in 1977, Physicians to Children serves patients from Montgomery and surrounding areas such as Selma, Clanton and Andalusia.

Four physicians were recognized as part of the fourth annual Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Health Services Work Group’s Healthcare Professional of the Year Awards Program and Community Luncheon. Dr. Jamie Odrezin of Greenvale Pediatrics Brook Highland received the 2018 Pediatrics award. Nominees in the Pediatrics category were Drs. Tori Anderson and Darby McElderry, also of Greenvale Brook Highland, and Dr. Kami Sester of Greenvale Pediatrics Alabaster.

All three Greenvale Pediatrics locations (Alabaster, Brook Highland and Hoover) were named Best Pediatric Practice for Children as part of Birmingham Magazine’s 2018 Best of Birmingham issue. Greenvale was also named Favorite Pediatrician – Favorite Children’s Health Facility in Birmingham Parent magazine’s Family Favorites awards competition.

Dr. David Glasgow of Greenvale Pediatrics (retired) and Dr. Phillip Harmon of Pediatrics East Deerfoot were named finalists in the best pediatrician category in Birmingham Magazine’s Best of Family and Kids issue.

Birmingham Parent magazine readers nominated the following doctors for providing the best care for their children: Drs. Toren Anderson, John Cortopassi and Jeffery Stone of Greenvale Pediatrics Hoover; Dr. Joseph Jolly of Greenvale Pediatrics Alabaster; Drs. Courtney Baxley and Virginia Menendez of Over the Mountain Pediatrics; Dr. Stacy Gilbert of Mayfair Medical Group; Dr. Lauree Jones of Midtown Pediatrics; Drs. Phillip Harmon and John Mark Lytle of Pediatrics East Deerfoot; Drs. Angela Redmond and Garland “Gigi” Youngblood of Pediatrics East Trussville; and Drs. Abby Allen and Elizabeth Lewis of Pediatrics West McAdory.

Number Fourteen




Children’s of Alabama’s Inside Pediatrics magazine expanded its brand with the launch of the Inside Pediatrics Podcast, a monthly series featuring Children’s and UAB experts who cover topics related to child health and wellness, research and treatment. For episodes, visit childrensal.org/podcast or listen via iTunes (search Children’s of Alabama under podcasts), iHeartRadio (search Children’s of Alabama), Stitcher or Google Play.

Number Fifteen




The Pediatric Simulation Center, a.k.a. the Sim Center, at Children's of Alabama celebrated its 10th anniversary. The center provides physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, students and other healthcare professionals with opportunities to perform common medical procedures and respond to rare, complex conditions and life-threatening emergencies. The center, the only one of its kind in Alabama, has more than 6,000 visitors each year and is home to 10 simulators or mannequins ranging in age from a premature infant to a teenager. Four of the simulators are wireless and can be used off-site. 

Number Sixteen




The Regional Poison Control Center (RPCC) at Children’s of Alabama celebrated its 60th anniversary. The RPCC, established in 1958 as the 14th center of its kind in the U.S., opened at a time when serious morbidity and mortality were attributed to poison ingestion in children and adults. In its early years, the center issued poison information and treatment recommendations to physicians only, eventually granting access to the general public. Today, 71% of calls made to the RPCC today come from patients at home while the remaining 29% come from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and other healthcare providers.  Center staff includes nurse and pharmacist specialists in poison information certified by national examination and sponsored by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The management team includes Medical Director Justin Arnold, DO, MPH; Associate Medical Director Dr. Michele Nichols, Director Ann Slattery and Clinical Supervisor LaDonna Gaines. For poison help, call the RPCC at 1-800-222-1222.


Special thanks to Alabama Department of Public Health, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Number Seventeen




NRC Health recognized Children’s of Alabama with a 2018 Excellence Award at the 24th Annual NRC Health Symposium in San Diego, California. Children’s was named the top performing hospital for Excellence in Quality & Service, a measure of service culture, loyalty and retention for the time period of April 2017 through March 2018. “Our team of clinical providers and support staff across the Children’s of Alabama continuum should be very proud of this accomplishment. Of the many outstanding organizations qualified to receive this award from NRC Health, Children’s rose to the top because our patients’ feedback scores reflected that they clearly value our customer-focused culture. We provide care in an environment that is safe, supportive, compassionate and engaging, and our entire staff strives to provide the best experience for every family we are privileged to serve,” said Lori Moler, Children’s vice president of customer service.

Number Eighteen




The Children’s of Alabama Board of Trustees resolved unanimously to name the new Children’s office building under construction on Fourth Avenue South after board member James C. “Jimmy” Lee III in recognition of Lee’s longtime service and lifetime of generous philanthropic support. Lee, the fourth generation of the Lee family to lead the Buffalo Rock Company, joined the Children’s board in 1992. He has served on the investment committee and later served as chairman of the board in 2014 and 2015. The six-story, 115,000-square foot office building with an adjacent 12-story parking deck will house non-clinical support services, many of which are located off Children’s main campus. Construction on the estimated $54 million project is slated for completion in 2019.