Akron Children’s Hospital is expanding its pediatric oncology services by recruiting a physician who specializes in treating young patients with brain tumors.
Dr. Sarah Zieber Rush, a pediatric neuro-oncologist, recently joined Children’s to lead the Brain Tumor Clinic that launched this month for children, teens and young adults.
Prior to her arrival, the pediatric hospital had oncologists on staff to treat patients with brain tumors but didn’t have a cancer specialist focused solely on the condition.
“That lends us to be able to be more active with clinical trials for these kids,” Rush said.
The new clinic brings together oncologists with pediatric neurosurgery, neurology, neuropsychology and other services. The specialists work together to coordinate care for patients in infancy through age 21 with malignant or nonmalignant brain tumors.
“What we’re ultimately looking to do is make Children’s a place where families can come to get comprehensive care,” Rush said. “… Part of it is bringing all the pieces together that have already existed to make it easier for the families to get the services they need.”
Gina Merriman said she’s pleased the expert services exist close to home for her daughter. Leah, an active 8-year-old from Stow, was diagnosed with a brain tumor days before Christmas.
After undergoing surgery to remove part of the tumor, Leah is receiving chemotherapy to shrink the rest. She continues to attend school, play basketball and soccer and participate in her other activities.
“It’s great that Leah can be home and still be able to get the best treatment,” her mother said.
Rush had previous research experience with Leah’s rare type of brain tumor.
“We think that’s amazing,” Gina Merriman said. “I told her, ‘You’re a blessing to us.’ The first thing you think about is: Are we going to have to go someplace? Where’s the best place to take her? We were really excited to know that she was coming to Akron Children’s.”
Rush joined Akron Children’s this year after serving on the staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
The new position at Akron Children’s marked a homecoming for Rush, who completed her pediatrics residency at the hospital in 2006. She then completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in pediatric neuro-oncolgy at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Rush, a native of Norwalk, earned her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.