Newswise — SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital will offer for the first time a three-year pediatric fellowship with a special focus on treating child abuse and neglect.

Upstate is one of only two institutions in New York to offer a  fellowship in child abuse pediatrics; the other is Maimonidies Medical Center in Brooklyn. Thirty institutions nationwide offer the child abuse pediatric fellowship.

The American Board of Pediatrics certified child abuse pediatrics as a specialty in 2009.

Child abuse pediatrics is a subspecialty of pediatrics that educates physicians to diagnose and treat child abuse and neglect. In addition, fellows will collaborate with community agencies on child abuse prevention, learn expertise in courts of law, and participate on multidisciplinary teams investigating and managing child abuse cases.

The fellowship is being offered in collaboration with the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Syracuse, which provides advocacy, prevention, investigation and prosecution as well as treatment services. In addition to responsibilities at Upstate, the fellow will assist in all aspects of the CAC’s mission.

Upstate’s fellowship in child abuse pediatrics is accredited by Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  The fellowship follows a three-year residency in general pediatrics.

Recruitment for a fellow is under way with a July 2018 start date.

Director of the fellowship program is Ann Botash, MD, Upstate professor of pediatrics and a nationally recognized expert in child sexual abuse evaluation. “This additional training for a pediatrician is much needed today, especially in communities across the country,” she said.  “Fellows will work hand in hand with advocates and law enforcement, not only to assess and medically treat the victim of this abuse, but also to be champions for programs and services to prevent child abuse.”

Botash said the training at Upstate is focused on evaluation, treatment and prevention of child abuse and maltreatment and requires physicians with excellent clinical skills to be able to rule out other medical conditions and interpret findings.

She said most child abuse pediatricians work on teams and with community authorities in identification and interpretation of forensic evidence.

“Our goal is to develop pediatricians to work in this specialty who can then stay here in Syracuse and become part of our team,” Botash said. “It is a greatly underserved specialty, serving an underserved population”

Botash directs the Upstate’s Child Abuse Referral and Evaluation (CARE) program that works closely with law enforcement officials, child protective services and community agencies to provide comprehensive and sensitive medical management.

Botash also created the Child Abuse Medical Provider (CHAMP) Network to educate health care professionals in the identification and management of child sexual abuse cases. Botash is author of Evaluating Child Sexual Abuse: Education Manual for Medical Professionals.

Last year, The McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center saw more than 700 children in their center for child abuse and is on track to see more than 900 this year.

“There has never been a time when this physician specialty has been more needed than today,” said Linda Cleary, executive director of McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. “We are thrilled to be partners with Upstate on this initiative that will ensure special training to address this important and most vulnerable patient population.”

Caption: Ann Botash, MD,  is director of the new pediatric fellowship with a special focus on treating child abuse and neglect.

Register for reporter access to contact details