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Ochsner Hospital Exterior on Postcard from 1978

In 1978, the chairman of the department of Pediatrics at the Ochsner Medical Institutions, Dr. Terry King, began a process to start a pediatric residency program. At the time, Ochsner supported one of the nation’s largest non-university residency programs in numerous specialties, but not pediatrics. Dr. Margaret H.D. Smith, an internationally renowned pediatric infectious disease specialist, was recruited to lead the program, but then Dr. King left Ochsner and moved to Monroe. Dr. Jay Goldsmith became the new Chairman and completed the process with ACGME approval in 1980. Meanwhile the department expanded with new subspecialists, an air and ground transport program and the size of the clinics and pediatric hospital ward and NICU continued to grow. Residents worked alongside primary and subspecialty care pediatricians that took care of children within the clinic, hospital wards, a newborn nursery, NICU and the emergency department. Dr. Margaret Smith retired in 1983 and Dr. Melinda Pouncey was appointed the new residency program director. Ochsner had a very active pediatric cardiology program that did one of the first cardiac implants for congenital bradycardia and made international news with the Kings-Mills Umbrella which was the first non-invasive closure of a atrial septal defect in a child. Pediatric cardiac surgery was done by Dr. John Ochsner with excellent results and the first neonatal ECMO program in the South (and 3rd in the nation) was started in 1983.

Ochsner Hospital Main Campus Exterior and Tulane University Hospital Exterior

In 1991 the chairs of Tulane and Ochsner pediatrics (Dr. John Lewy and Dr. Jay Goldsmith) agreed that integrating the programs would provide an excellent perspective to trainees: care for children with complex needs at Tulane and care for more typical health concerns at Ochsner as well as exposure to a large HMO in the Ochsner system. The ACGME approved the integration of the two residencies in 1993. This breadth of training was a hallmark of graduates from the Tulane/Ochsner Integrated Pediatric Residency for the past 30 years. Many of the current faculty at Tulane and Ochsner are graduates of this integrated training program.

As Tulane and Ochsner have grown, the two systems have evolved the capacity to deliver care to children with complex health needs and those with more common health concerns. Residents at Ochsner now take care of patients receiving highly specialized care including cardiac transplant, liver transplant, an exceptional developmental center, a number of interdisciplinary clinics for children with complex health needs.

Ochsner Hospital for Children Exterior

After 30 years of training within both hospital systems, the residency program is separating back into separate Ochsner and Tulane programs for the interns starting in July 2024. Residents already in the integrated residency program will complete training within both hospital systems, meaning that new interns will continue to work with upper-level residents that move between clinical sites. The deep relationships between the faculty of the two institutions broaden the range of research, advocacy, and clinical experts available to interns within each program.