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Division of Pediatric Nephrology Expands Staff, Research Interests

Monday, November 04, 2002

Good news for children who have kidney problems: The division of pediatric nephrology at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong is expanding, providing additional diagnostic and consultation services for infants, children, and adolescents who suffer from a number of physical ailments and disorders.

“We offer carefully crafted management plans for children who have acute and chronic renal failure, hypertension and major fluid and electrolyte disorders,” says division chief, George Schwartz, M.D. “We work closely with our colleagues in a number of pediatric disciplines to ensure each child has the best chance to thrive.”

More than two decades ago, Schwartz authored the Schwartz Formula, a widely used rapid estimate of kidney function. In 1979, he joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he developed a reputation as an expert in kidney acid-base physiology. In 1992, Schwartz was recruited to develop and direct the pediatric nephrology program at Golisano Children’s Hospital. He and his staff see more than 1,400 outpatients and hundreds of inpatients annually.

Schwartz, who also serves as director of the Strong Children’s Research Center, is specifically interested in renal tubular acidosis and renal tubular disorders. During the last two decades, the work of he and his colleagues has led to a much broader understanding of how the kidney normally adapts to elevated acid levels in the blood. Equally important, the work helps explain why some kidneys don’t adapt. The author of more than 70-peer reviewed articles, he’s had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1979. Schwartz is also a member of a number of national academic and nephrology-related medical societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Society for Pediatric Research.

During the last decade, Golisano Children’s Hospital has assembled a highly regarded nephrology staff. Marc Lande, M.D., and William Varade, M.D., work closely with Schwartz and Marilyn McMullen, P.N.P., to provide the best clinical care possible. They also have broad-based laboratory research interests.

Lande, who is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, completed a residency at the University of Rochester, and took part in fellowship studies at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Lande’s special clinical interests include dialysis and transplantation, and his research focuses on the behavioral aspects of pediatric kidney disease and on the treatment of steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome. Lande’s most recent research, made possible by a grant from the National Kidney Foundation, involves researching the early warning signs of hypertension in children. He hopes his research will lead to the creation of tests that detect damage from hypertension long before health risks increase.

Varade, a graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical Center, did a pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. Board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology, he is especially interested in glomerulonephritis, a form of kidney disease. Varade is also interested in further developing the hospital’s kidney training program, helping to establish a teaching curriculum for new postgraduate fellows and residents rotating on pediatric nephrology.

McMullen, who has been a nurse for 25 years, always had an interest in helping children who have kidney problems. In fact, she worked in a clinical research unit where ambulatory peritoneal dialysis was pioneered. “It fascinated me, and I became interested in dialysis and kidney transplant,” she says.

McMullen has been a certified pediatric nurse practitioner in pediatric nephrology for almost 10 years at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Her undergraduate nursing degree is from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and in 1992, she earned her master’s degree from the University of Rochester. She is active in the local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation, serving on its medical advisory board.

The division of pediatric nephrology recently welcomed a new member, Elif Erkan, M.D., M.S., who completed her pediatric residency and nephrology fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Erkan, who is highly regarded as a clinician-scientist, is interested in better understanding how urinary protein adversely affects the kidney.

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