UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital verified as Level 1 pediatric trauma center

by | Aug 16, 2023



  • The University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital is now a Level 1 pediatric trauma center, meeting American College of Surgeons standards and becoming one of fewer than 20 facilities nationwide to receive the distinction.
  • This recognition signifies the hospital’s capacity to provide advanced care for life-threatening child injuries, following a five-year enhancement process.
  • The Level 1 status involves specialized staff, research involvement, and high rankings in pediatric specialties.

The University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital received distinction as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center by the respected American College of Surgeons (ACS) on Wednesday, becoming one of fewer than 20 in the country that meets the regulatory standards.

The Level 1 recognition substantiates the Shands Hospital’s capacity to provide comprehensive care to children dealing with life-threatening injuries while possessing adequately-certified personnel, resources, and medical equipment to

The five-year process to attain the recognition encompassed the improvement of various aspects in trauma care, including the availability of highly skilled pediatric surgeons, critical care specialists, anesthesiologists, and other medical experts specifically trained in treating children’s injuries. Level 1 centers must also maintain a range of state-of-the-art medical equipment, ensure around-the-clock availability of resources, and develop evidence-based protocols to ensure optimal patient outcomes.

In addition to the medical aspects, the certification process often involves evaluations of the hospital’s capacity for research, education, and injury prevention initiatives. Level 1 pediatric trauma centers are expected to contribute to medical advancements in the field of pediatric trauma care, train healthcare professionals in the latest techniques,

“This means that every child who comes to our hospital is getting nationally recognized, high-level trauma care,” said Shawn D. Larson, M.D., the interim chief of pediatric surgery who led the verification effort, according to UF Health.

Per a UF Health statement, Larson and colleagues focused on a variety of enhancements to attain the distinction, including designating a medical director (Larson), hiring a pediatric program trauma manager, and adding a process improvement nurse. Additionally, liaisons with neurosurgery, radiology, and other pediatric medical specialties were assigned.

Earlier this summer, the hospital garnered praise from U.S. News and World Report in its ranking of pediatric healthcare facilities nationwide. Across a series of rankings, UF Shands Children’s Hospital had its specialties of diabetes and endocrinology (10th), pediatric pulmonology and lung surgery (24th), cardiology and heart surgery (26th), and neonatology (35th) among the nation’s top rated.

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