Babies born with a congenital anomaly, or fetal condition requiring urgent care after birth now have a chance at a brighter start right here in Central Texas, with the appointment Kenneth Moise Jr., M.D., who will serve as director of the newly developed Fetal Care Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center, as a professor in the Department of Women’s Health at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, and as a practicing physician in the UT Health Austin clinical practice.
Congenital abnormalities are the No. 1 cause of death in U.S. infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Texas, more than 24,000 babies are born each year with at least one major structural malformation or chromosomal anomaly such as spina bifida, cleft palate or lip and congenital heart conditions.
“Today in Austin, when a baby in utero is diagnosed with a serious congenital malformation, that mom and family often will seek care elsewhere,” said George Macones, M.D., chair of the Department of Women’s Health at Dell Med and service line chief of women’s health at Ascension Seton.
“As a UT Health Austin practicing physician, Dr. Moise will add his substantial experience and expertise to the world-class care Dell Children’s delivers for moms and their babies for birth defects before, during and after birth, all while still staying close to home,” Macones said.
Establishing a Center of Excellence for Specialty Pediatric Care
The Fetal Care Center that Moise will lead is slated to open in April 2021 and will be operated jointly by Dell Children’s and UT Health Austin. The center will provide coordinated multispecialty care for families and babies identified prenatally with birth defects. The center will also include an 11-bed specialized labor and delivery unit, set to open July 2021 at Dell Children’s.
“The Fetal Care Center is transformative for the tiniest, most vulnerable infants in Central Texas,” said Christopher M. Born, president of Dell Children’s Medical Center. “Highly skilled providers across a wide range of disciplines — from congenital heart surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and more — will use a team-based approach to provide world-class care.”
“Being told that your unborn child has a problem can be one of the most stressful events for a new mother and father,” Moise said. “Our goal at the Fetal Care Center will be to provide a coordinated experience for the pregnant patient in conjunction with the excellent pediatric specialists at Dell Children’s. Parents will know the plan of care before their child comes into this world.”
An International Leader in Research and Care
For more than three decades, Moise has honed his expertise in fetal medicine through both research and physician leadership. He is recognized worldwide for his contributions in the fetal treatment of Rh disease, a dangerous form of anemia.
Moise currently serves on the faculty of the McGovern Medical School at UT Health in Houston and is a professor in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and in the Department of Pediatric Surgery. He is also the former co-director of The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
Moise completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Vanderbilt University and a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He is the former director of maternal-fetal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.