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CNRC - Abrams Lab

Houston, Texas

Images depicting the Abram lab's research work
Steven Abrams' Micronutrient Research Lab
not shown on screen

International Educational Activities

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Education

Lima, Peru and Panama City, Panama

Sharon Fredrickson, nurse from Texas Children's Hospital, with Dr. Abrams in a NICU in Lima, Peru.Our group of doctors, nurses, dietitians, and medical students has traveled to both Lima and Panama City on several occasions to present up-to-date information on the clinical and practical management of premature infants. Through our lecture series and hands-on bedside rounds, we have extended and expanded our relationship with the staff at El Hospital de La Maternidad in Lima and the Hospital del Niño in Panama City.

Lectures have included such topics as Ventilatory Management, Pain Management, Infections, Fortifying Breastmilk for Premature Babies, Vitamins and Minerals, as well as many other issues of clinical concern.

Shari Hemphill, nurse from Texas Children's Hospital, sharing proper infant positioning techniques in Panama City, Panama.

Shari Hemphill, nurse from Texas Children's Hospital, sharing proper infant positioning techniques in Panama City, Panama.The program has met with success for numerous reasons. pending quality time in the unit and working hands-on with the staff allows them to practice new ideas and techniques. Through our previous trips to both Lima and Panama City, our team has a better understanding of each unit’s strengths and weaknesses, freeing us to focus on areas of particular concern to each group. Because of our returns for follow-up visits, the medical staffs in Lima and in Panama City have gained a level of familiarity with our team that has led to greater receptiveness to new practices. Finally, the support of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital create the opportunity for international education and research trips.


Our team traveled to Santa Cruz and Cochabamba in Bolivia in August 2005. In participation with the Pediatric Society of Santa Cruz, we visited with doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and medical students at several hospitals. In addition, we presented educational lectures to all invited guests at the 2nd International Course on Advances in Neonatology. Featured speakers included:

  • Image of South America, BoliviaSteven Abrams, M.D., ­Management of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
  • Dr. Teresa Ochoa, M.D., ­ Common Infections and Guidelines for Prevention in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Keli Hawthorne, MS, RD, LD, Management of Enteral Nutrition: Fortifying Breast Milk, the Use of Formulas, and Promotion of Breastfeeding; and also Management and Complications of Total Parenteral Nutrition for Premature Infants
  • Shari Hemphill, RN ­ Pain Management in the Newborn
  • Erika Hernandez, RN ­ Developmental Care for the Newborn


Our team from BCM and TCH visited Roosevelt Hospital and IGSS Hospital (the social security hospital) in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 2005. The trip was also supported by the Neonatal and Perinatal Medical Association of Guatemala. Topics presented included Advances in Neonatal Respiratory Therapy, Nutrition for the Neonate, Pain Management in the Newborn, and HIV Infection in the Perinatal Period. We extend our great appreciation to Dr. Cabrera-Meza for organizing this trip.

Developing a Spanish-language Nutrition Curriculum

Malnutrition is a concern for people throughout the world, especially in Latin America . And despite many children having access to nutritious foods through school programs, they may choose unhealthy alternatives simply because they do not understand the importance of a balanced diet. Medical students and residents at Baylor College of Medicine have the opportunity to participate in various health care experiences throughout Central and South America and the ability to improve nutritional interventions for the communities in these regions. However, nutrition curriculum materials and resources in Spanish are not widely available.

Under the direction of Dr. Steve Abrams, Baylor medical students have signed up for a one-month nutrition elective to develop such a program for medical teams to use in their travels. The project includes both small group lecture material for local health care workers and a community discussion with parents covering topics such as breastfeeding, weaning foods, iron deficiency, macronutrient deficiencies, and re-hydration of children with diarrhea. The program also includes material for school-aged children such as a coloring book, interactive lectures, and games to make learning about the Food Guide Pyramid enjoyable and memorable.

During the upcoming calendar year, students will have the opportunity to share the new curriculum with communities in Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru.

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