Clinical Center News
Winter 2019

Healthcare advocate, parent of teen with chronic illness speaks at NIH Health IT Day

Lisa Danielpour speaks from a podium at the 2018 NIH Health Information Technology Day Oct. 12 at the NIH Clinical Center
Lisa Danielpour, a healthcare advocate and mother of a teen with Crohn's Disease, speaks about the importance of healthcare record keeping technology at the 2018 NIH Health Information Technology Day Oct. 12 at the NIH Clinical Center.

Lisa Danielpour, a healthcare advocate and mother of a teen with Crohn's Disease, was the guest speaker at the 2018 NIH Health Information Technology Day at the NIH Clinical Center. She spoke about the Clinical Center's patient portal and how healthcare recordkeeping technology has positively impacted her son's healthcare and the research about his illness.

Danielpour told the audience, in October, about her son Josh's journey. In 2014, he was a straight-A student, avid learner and competitive, athletic 13-year-old. But that year, "everything changed".

In August 2014, Josh was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. Over the next year, he would undergo six colonoscopies and endoscopies. Josh did not respond to treatment and became sicker and sicker.

"He was in the hospital more than he was out," Danielpour said.

By February 2015, curled up in a ball with abdominal pain and fighting constant bouts of diarrhea, Josh told his parents he needed to go to the hospital. By this point, the inflammation from the disease had spread to his entire digestive tract. The specialists at their home hospital in Cleveland, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, consulted with other gastroenterology experts around the country, but no one had seen a case like his, Danielpour said.

"To watch your child suffer [and] to know there is only so much medical science can do to help is beyond painful. We tried to think of anything we could do to help him and learn everything we could."

Josh was transferred by medical flight from his hospital in Cleveland to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). CHOP then consulted with NIH for help. The Danielpours were familiar with NIH – Josh's father, David, was a senior staff scientist at the NIH National Cancer Institute before moving to Cleveland in 1998.

The personal health record empowers the patient with access to information and enhances the patient's safety, communication and experience. For those with chronic illness or medical complexities, it helps you learn what to track and monitor and be able to do it for yourself." — Lisa Danielpour

Dr. Ivan Fuss, a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases staff clinician working in the NIH Clinical Center, recommended a new medication for Josh, and he slowly started to respond.

After a combined eight months at CHOP and Rainbow Hospital, Josh finally got to go home. In January 2016, Josh started to come in person to the NIH Clinical Center for treatment and saw Fuss as well as Research Nurse Kim Montgomery-Recht.

"We really appreciate all the care that he got," Danielpour said.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of his medical issues. A liver biopsy showed he was in the early stages of primary sclerosing cholangitis, a long-term progressive liver disease associated with Crohn's Disease. When Josh developed a limp in 2016, NIH specialists diagnosed avascular necrosis, the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply, in his right hip, most likely a side effect of steroids. Josh quickly had to have surgery elsewhere to mitigate the impact on his femur bone.

Throughout this experience, Danielpour has learned the importance and power of an online medical record.

Aaron, Josh, Lisa and David Danielpour at Josh’s Bar Mitzvah in 2014
Aaron, Josh, Lisa and David Danielpour at Josh's Bar Mitzvah in 2014.

"The personal health record empowers the patient with access to information and enhances the patient's safety, communication and experience," she said. "For those with chronic illness or medical complexities, it helps you learn what to track and monitor and be able to do it for yourself."

"For those who are healthy, the personal health record helps to track preventative care. It's important for self-care and self-advocacy, but most of all it's a wonderful and powerful physician and nursing tool to motivate and engage patients and families in their own healthcare," she said. "The more that patients and families are looking at their own information and understanding it, not only are they playing a more active role as we want in patient-centric care, but also, it can save time for the medical professionals because you can focus more on the big picture … and patients can better think about the questions they have ahead of time before seeing their doctors."

This is particularly powerful at the NIH Clinical Center where many patients and families are coming from locations across the country and around the world. Having easy access to medical records helps patients and families keep track of their own health care and ensure that doctors at home hospitals and NIH are up to date on their care and treatment.

"Josh, I am happy to report, is stable now and what a beautiful word stable is," Danielpour said. "He is doing great in school and getting back to as normal a life as possible."

Josh, who missed most of eighth and ninth grade, is now a 17-year-old high school senior who plans to attend Case Western Reserve University and major in biomedical engineering. He is learning self-care and self-advocacy, more about his diseases and how to continue to take care of himself, she said.

Danielpour thanked the doctors, research nurses and countless staff at the NIH Clinical Center who contributed to Josh's care. "We're really grateful for the wonderful culture of care and research at NIH. You make all the difference for the patients and families that you see."

Staff at the site of a new facility
Woman typing on a Workstation on Wheels computer
Staff view a piece of paper in a kitchen
Men on stage at the awards
Josh and Lisa Danielpour
A redesigned common area in the NIH Clinical Center Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge
Nicholas Rodriquez enjoying the Virtual Reality experience
A young boy voting on gingerbread houses
Retired Navy Capt. Pius A. Aiyelawo speaking at the NIH Veterans Day Celebration Nov. 7
Pediatric patients are given candy by departments at the Clinical Center
a man smiling
Workplace Climate and Harassment Survey. Take the Survey now.
Karen Baker, Dr. Colleen Hadigan and Victoria Anderson stand in a hallway.
Dr. Daniel Kastner examining a patient at the NIH Clinical Center
A nurse provides Dr. Anthony Fauci a flu shot
Food allergy
NIH staff gather at a relay race at the NIH Clinical Center
Dr. Gilman speaks at a podium
Four people listen to a dietician speak about the Nutrition Department while a employee preps food
Prediction and probability maps from prostate cancer researchers
Dr. Francis Collins, Shawn Thomas and Dr. Jim Gilman stand on stage as Thomas holds a plaque
National Symphony Orchestra performance
Two men up close to the MRI magnet, outside
Dr. Christopher Pleyer, Dr. Kelly Stone and Dr. Robert Lembo stand in front of a screen that says Distinguished Clinical Teacher Award Winner. Stone holds a plaque
Artwork decorates stairwells
Dr. William Ward speaks at a podium and a screen behind him is a poster that says Immunohematology & Blood Transfusion, 27th Annual Symposium
Four students and a teacher hold an oversized check to benefits patients at the NIH Clinical Center
Senior leaders at NIH cut a ribbon opening two hospice suites at the Clinical Center
Laptop with stethoscope nearby
Patient Photography Studio
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH sties in a chair to the left. Barbra Streisand holds a microphone and sits in a chair to the right – speaks to the audience
Dr. James Gilman stands with Alba C. Murphy as they smile and hold a certificate
A paper cutout of a hand shape with a stick on the end. Text on the paper says I [heart] clean hands
Patient with Degos disease addresses symposium attendees
CDC and NIH representatives stand in a special isolation patient room at the NIH Clinical Center
Eight young men and women line up holding graduation certificates in Lipsett Auditorium
A four panel exhibit with photos, text and artifacts on NIH medical pioneers Christian Anfinsen and Michael Potter
NIH Clinical Center volunteer Chaoyang Wang
Woman with scientific cap on her head plays a touch game
Doctors at NIH speak in a lecture hall during Nurses Week
NIH Clinical Center doctor receives award
Children participate in Take Your Child to Work Day Hematology Lab
Leslie Wehrlen holds a plaque.
Sixteen women, graduates of the program and departmental leaders, gather for a photo
NIH STAFF - Take the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey today!
Pius Aiyelawo swearing into the Senior Executive Service with Dr. Lawrence Tabak
Jackson Taylor (right) and his donor Sean McLaughlin (left)
Dr. Thomas Burklow
Two care providers look at a computer