As Barbara Bratton (left) speaks with the patient’s mother in the UCSF LIFE Clinic, pediatric surgeon Lan Vu examines the child (photos by Elisabeth Fall).
May 2016 • By Andrew Schwartz

When newborns need surgery because of rare birth anomalies, the conditions themselves and the aftereffects of surgery often threaten health and well-being long into adulthood.

Pediatric nurse practitioner Barbara Bratton (MS ’88) understands the threats all too well. The clinical coordinator for the UCSF LIFE (Long-term Infant-to-adult Follow-up and Evaluation) Clinic, Bratton helps children and their families cope with everything from neurodevelopmental delays and respiratory and nutritional problems through hearing loss and social isolation.

The LIFE Clinic was originally part of a research project that looked at long-term quality-of-life issues for survivors of fetal surgery for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) – a condition in which a hole in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move into the chest and prevent the lungs from developing normally. Over time, however, the clinic has evolved into one of the first in the country dedicated to long-term, interdisciplinary follow-up care for children born with a range of rare anomalies.

“We would see the same social and medical issues over and over again, so it made sense to think and talk about these issues early and follow people long-term,” says Bratton about the clinic’s evolution. “Also, because these children often have multiple comorbidities, we wanted to make multiple specialists available, including pulmonary and GI [gastrointestinal] physicians, social workers, dietitians and feeding therapists.”

The Dean's Blog | David Vlahov

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recently released a commissioned report titled Advancing Healthcare Transformation: A New Era for Academic Nursing. By building on the Future of Nursing report from the Institute of MedicineManatt Health examined the opportunities for schools of nursing within or aligned with academic health centers (AHCs) to become firmly integrated in advancing health care transformation.

The AHCs are hubs of innovation for developing and testing new models of care. Nurses, of course, are key to the success of transforming health care in this new environment, especially as the Affordable Care Act facilitates experiments that move away from fee-for-service and toward value-based payments tied to metrics for quality, safety and value in the context of population health.

Over the past few years, schools of nursing have already begun contributing to these important changes through all aspects of our tripartite mission of research, education and practice.

Featured Articles

May 2016
New Roles for Nurse Practitioners Bring Opportunities and Challenges – Changes in the health care environment are expanding roles for nurse practitioners in both the inpatient and outpatient settings while adding new challenges to schools trying to meet demand for a highly skilled workforce.
May 2016
Creating Opportunities for Nurse Practitioners to Help Save Limbs and More – Acute care nurse practitioner and nurse informaticist Joanna DeLong draws on work and life experience to manage the UCSF Heart and Vascular Center clinic at the Parnassus campus.
April 2016
California Initiative Aims to Dramatically Reduce Preterm Birth, Improve Outcomes, Change the Approach to Persistent Public Health Challenges – Disturbed by stalled progress on reducing the incidence of preterm birth, an ambitious UCSF-led, Lynne and Marc Benioff-funded initiative aims to upend traditional approaches to researching and addressing an epidemic that affects 15 million families worldwide each year.
April 2016
Nursing in Prison – Doctoral student Douglas Long confronts the challenges of providing quality health care to inmates in San Quentin, one of America’s most famous prisons.
April 2016
Novel Doula Training for Incarcerated Women and Those at Risk Expands and Grows – A UCSF collaboration gives women at risk for incarceration hope for their futures. In return, they provide essential birthing services to incarcerated women and those in need in Alameda County.