February 28, 2020
To: Dean Lloyd Minor, Ombudsperson James Laflin, David Stevenson, MD, Sohail Husain, MD
We, the undersigned, are submitting this letter on behalf of John Kerner, MD and the fact that his leadership titles for both Children’s Home Pharmacy and Nutrition Support were removed earlier this week. He did not request that we submit this letter, nor does he have awareness that we are doing so.
As you likely know, Dr. Kerner founded the Children’s Home Pharmacy in 1992. He utilized his time that was intended for academic sabbatical in order to create the CHP. He developed an amazing and multi-disciplinary team that included not only physician leaders, but pharmacists, nurses and nutritionists. The CHP at one point was the only pharmacy to provide TPN to all of Northern California. Two years after this, Dr. Kerner was asked to establish Nutrition Support services for LPCH. He and his team traveled to some of the top pediatric hospitals in the country in order to see how their Nutrition Support services were run. Interestingly, one of the programs that he visited used his textbook in order to set up their nutrition support program. There have been no complications from TPN in the decades that CHP and Nutrition Support services have been in place. Both of these entities generate substantial revenue for the hospital as well. Additionally, numerous programs around the country based their Nutrition Support services on Dr. Kerner’s model. His academic reputation extends internationally as well.
In addition, while we understand that there was to be a succession plan in place for leadership of the intestinal rehabilitation program, it is somewhat abrupt that the unofficial leadership role that Dr. Kerner held for this program was also removed. It seems short-sighted to not recognize that the excellent support of the nurses and dieticians is in place because of loyalty and dedication to Dr. Kerner as the leader of this program. It will be a great loss to the organization to lose not only Dr. Kerner as the head of this program, but potentially other care providers as well.
Lastly, while we recognize that Dr. Kerner will remain the fellowship director for Pediatric Gastroenterology, we have concerns that this could potentially be the next leadership role that is taken from him. Over the course of several decades, Dr. Kerner has led a program that has trained approximately 50 fellows. Many of these fellows continue to practice medicine in the Bay Area and their names appear on the petition. Certainly, for referrals that relate to nutrition, TPN and short gut, Dr. Kerner is the main reason that patients are sent to LPCH.
In 2017, Dr. Kerner was diagnosed with a significant medical condition. Despite numerous appointments, medications and procedures, he did not miss any days of work or service. Patient care, nutrition services and fellow education remained his top priority.
We are respectfully submitting our strong disagreement with this decision and ask that you consider alternative solutions than what was presented to Dr. Kerner this week.