Emory Report
July 10, 2006
Volume 58, Number 34


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July 10 , 2006
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and SOM open new clinic

BY Jason Rollins

In the next two months, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory School of Medicine will collaborate to officially open a new clinic for 22q11 deletion syndrome patients: The Southeastern Regional Center of Excellence for 22q.

The 22q11 deletion syndrome is a common genetic condition caused by a partial deletion of chromosome 22, currently estimated to occur in one out of every 4,000 births.

“Complications from this deletion can lead to a variety of clinical problems, including congenital heart defects, hypocalcaemia, immunologic deficiency or dysfunction, cleft palate, hypernasal speech, swallowing difficulties, learning disabilities and psychological disturbances,” said John Riski, director of the Speech Pathology Laboratory at the Children’s Center for Craniofacial Disorders. “With the opening of this clinic, patients across the Southeast will have the advantage and convenience of seeing specialists in cardiology, immunology, clinical genetics, endocrinology, craniofacial surgery, speech/language pathology and psychiatry—all in a single visit.”

The new clinic has the support of the Southeast 22q Support Group, a local parent group that strives to bring awareness of 22q11 deletion to parents, educators, health care providers and government. Additionally, the group works to motivate an interest in medical research and birth screenings, and to offer educational and treatment opportunities for individuals and families affected by 22q11 deletion.

“After receiving a 22q11 diagnosis, the number of doctors and specialists to see is overwhelming,” said Cheri Coyle, the mother of a 22q11 child and active member of the Southeast 22q Support Group. “Fortunately, the new center will streamline the process of clinical visits for patient families by turning multiple office visits at different locations (to see different specialists), into one single office visit.”

The mission of the center is to provide patients with the best possible care, to provide comprehensive education to families and providers and to conduct cutting edge research to advance diagnosis and treatment for the disorder. Clinical services for cardiology, endocrinology, immunology, gastroenterology, otolaryngology, dentistry, genetics and psychiatry will be offered at the Emory Children’s Center at 2015 Uppergate Drive. Service for genetics, craniofacial surgery, speech and swallowing disorders will be provided at the Children’s Center for Craniofacial Disorders, 5455 Meridian Mark Road, with additional support from Emory Genetics at 2165 N. Decatur Road. For more information, visit www.route22q.org.