Advanced Neurological Care for Newborns, right HERE at Dell Children’s

Dell Children’s Neonatology Program, recently ranked by US News and World Report as a top-tier program, is growing both in its physical footprint and programmatic depth as we work to ensure that all patients, regardless of the medical diagnosis, can receive world-class healthcare right here, at home in Central Texas.

We spoke with Dr. Ashley Lucke and Dr. Leah Ferrante, the co-directors of the Dell Children’s Neuro-NICU Program to help share the impact of this type of subspecialty program and what it means for the Central Texas community.

Dr. Lucke joined Dell Children’s in 2021 as a double-fellowship trained neonatologist with special focus on fetal and perinatal brain development and injury. She was recruited to help begin our comprehensive and collaborative Neuro-NICU program which engages physicians in neonatology, neurology, neuroradiology, neurosurgery, physical and occupational therapy and our newly opened Dell Children’s NICU Neurodevelopmental Follow Up Clinic directed by Dr. Krystine Sandlin.

Dr. Ferrante joined Dell Children’s this summer to partner with Dr. Lucke on the development of our Neuro NICU program. Dr. Ferrante is a double-fellowship trained neurodevelopmental disabilities specialist and fetal and neonatal neurologist –one of a handful of physicians in the country with her specialized training.

“We are extremely excited to bring the most advanced Neonatal Neurology care to Central Texas. It is critically important to identify neurological concerns as early as possible, and the integration of neurological care at the earliest point of life can make the difference in outcomes for children. The close partnership between our neonatal program and the pediatric neurosciences sets Dell Children’s apart as a leader in perinatal care.” – Dr Jeffrey Titus, Director of Neuroscience Service Line.

Together, these physicians are building a specialized program which is fully embedded within our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit meaning that the Neurologists are not only part of the interdisciplinary care team, they are dedicated to the NICU and specifically clinically trained in the care of our youngest and most vulnerable patient population.

This program will follow NICU babies from before birth, when possible, through their first years of life to ensure that every medical intervention and care decision has the added lens of specialized and collaborative neonatal neurocritical care and neurodevelopmental follow up.

The most common conditions that this program will serve are congenital brain malformations, neonatal seizures and stroke, brain injury from extreme prematurity, and Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen or blood flow.

The vision is that our Dell Children’s Neuro-NICU Program will be able to care for every patient, regardless of the diagnosis. And furthermore, will be able to utilize powerful research and a comprehensive database to help benchmark milestones, development and statistics around each condition and expected outcome.

“Dr. Ferrante and I are so excited to bring this world-class, innovative care to Dell Children’s so that any infant with a congenital or acquired neurologic condition can receive collaborative care from all the necessary subspecialists in a well coordinated, family-centered program that prioritizes protecting their baby’s long term brain development,” – Dr. Ashley Lucke