Meet Shriners Children's Boston Chief of Pediatrics Carlos Duran, M.D.
When the opportunity arose for pediatrician Carlos Duran, M.D., to join the Shriners Children’s Boston pediatric care team in 2015 and develop a role as the inpatient care director, he jumped at the chance. At the time, he was an attending physician at Tufts Medical Center, focusing on pediatric critical care. Earlier, during his pediatric residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Duran trained at Shriners Children’s Boston under Robert Sheridan, M.D., director of the burn service (and now chief of staff). He knew that the level of care and expertise for treating children with burn injuries was unparalleled.
“As a trainee and a fellow at Shriners, I was exposed to a unique approach to pediatric specialty care that encompasses all of the disciplines, including physical therapy, nutrition, pharmacy, care management, child life and psychiatry. You don’t see that in other facilities and I was highly motivated to become part of such an outstanding program,” said Dr. Duran.
Dr. Duran was also impressed by Shriners Children’s Boston’s relationship with international patient recruitment, as it was something he had not seen elsewhere. He knew that being fluent in Spanish would help him build a rapport with the large number of Spanish-speaking families.
Once Dr. Duran joined the team in Boston, he focused on areas of growth with an eye toward continually improving the level of care. His position evolved and he was named chief of pediatrics in 2016. As chief, one of Dr. Duran’s priorities is to evaluate the protocols for care from a clinical as well as a patient-experience perspective. Looking at how transitions of care are managed – from inpatient to outpatient to patients graduating out of care – is essential to helping streamline and improve these experiences. It is also vital to seek opportunities to advance the level of clinical expertise and quality of care. Dr. Duran emphasized how important it is to keep up with what is happening at other children’s hospitals, as medicine is always evolving. Most recently, lessons learned from the pandemic are an indicator of how to adapt and move forward.
Research goes hand in hand with clinical practice, and Dr. Duran shared that nurse practitioners at Shriners Children’s are intricately involved in research that drives clinical improvements. When he started back at the hospital in 2016, two nurse practitioners (NPs) were on staff who primarily treated children in the outpatient clinic. He has grown the NP staff to five, including two longer-tenured NPs, Melissa DiPiro, CPNP, AC, PC, and Alysia O’Brien, MSN, CNP, who he describes as rocks of the inpatient care unit.
In addition to burn injuries, children come to the hospital for treatment of complex skin conditions, as well as plastic, laser and reconstructive surgeries for burn scars, wounds, trauma injuries, and cleft lip and cleft palate care. Dr. Duran reflected on the unique approach to care that attracted him to further his career at Shriners Children’s Boston. Whatever the patient’s injury or condition, care managers help the family navigate the process. An interdisciplinary team of clinicians meets daily for rounds to discuss individualized treatment plans for all inpatients. On the outpatient unit, a similar approach brings the team together for clinics focused on one specialty or another throughout the week. This holistic model is what gives Shriners Children's patients an experience that is seldom found elsewhere. The team works in concert to heal a child’s injuries, and motivate and guide them back to their regular activities.
Dr. Duran shared the example of an 11-year-old boy who was recently an inpatient, confined to his room for months after a catastrophic burn injury. Dr. Duran described this young patient as anxious and afraid, which is understandably common after a devastating event. After the highly-skilled team of nurses and physicians stabilized him, physical and occupational therapists worked to help him regain strength and mobility. With daily support from child life specialists who taught their patient-coping strategies for his anxiety, he was back to many of his regular activities. “It was so rewarding to see this young boy going from being afraid to leave his room to riding his bike around the playroom, laughing and playing with other patients. These are the moments that remind me of how profoundly we help children after injuries like his,” said Dr. Duran.
As a trainee and a fellow at Shriners, I was exposed to a unique approach to pediatric specialty care that encompasses all of the disciplines, including physical therapy, nutrition, pharmacy, care management, child life and psychiatry. You don’t see that in other facilities and I was highly motivated to become part of such an outstanding program.
In addition to his work as chief of pediatrics at Shriners Children’s Boston, Dr. Duran is committed to international work, supporting children and families in Central and South America. He became involved with Physicians for Peace, a foundation that trains and educates healthcare workers in low-resourced communities. He was part of an interdisciplinary care team from Shriners Children's Boston, including occupational therapist Jessica Willoughby, MOT, OTR/L and nurse manager Kara Sher, BSN, RN, CPN, CCRN, who traveled to Costa Rica earlier this year on an outreach trip. Dr. Duran trained local clinicians in burn care best practices during the visit. “This outreach goes hand in hand with the mission of Shriners Children’s – to serve more children in more places,” said Dr. Duran. “I am honored to be part of this important work.”
Reflecting back on his interactions with patients and families at Shriners Children’s Boston, Dr. Duran shared that the overwhelming feeling he observes is one of trust. Families know that our surgeons have performed thousands of cases every year. They understand the highly-skilled, specialized care that patients receive. They know they will be supported by an interdisciplinary, family-centered team. And they are grateful. It is this gratitude, and the knowledge that he works in a place like no other, that fulfills Dr. Duran and drives him to seek ways to do it even better each and every day.
Carlos Duran, M.D., is the chief of pediatrics at Shriners Children’s Boston. He is board certified in pediatric critical care and pediatric pulmonology by the American Board of Pediatrics. He received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Duran completed his residency in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and dual fellowships in pediatric critical care and pediatric pulmonology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Areas of special interest to Dr. Duran include sedation, respiratory failure and transport medicine. Dr. Duran is bilingual in Spanish and is committed to serving international populations in low-resourced countries. He is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the Massachusetts Medical Society.
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