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American College of Surgeons Awards Level II Pediatric Trauma Designation to Renown Children's Hospital

February 07, 2024

Dr. Frieda Hulka

(Pictured Above: Dr. Frieda Hulka, Pediatric Trauma Program Medical Director at Renown Children’s Hospital, helps announce pediatric trauma verification on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024)

Renown Health, a locally governed, not-for-profit academic healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California and the teaching hospital for the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, has been verified as the first level-2 pediatric trauma center in northern Nevada by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This recognition is a historic first for children’s healthcare in northern Nevada.

Renown Regional Medical Center is the region’s only Level II Trauma Center (adult) and one of the largest hospitals in the United States, with 826 licensed beds, providing care to approximately one million patients across 17 counties, across 100,000 square miles between Sacramento and Salt Lake City. Serving urban, suburban, and rural communities, Renown Health is one of the region’s only providers of neonatal care with both a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and the largest newborn intensive care unit (NICU) in the area.


The pediatric trauma verification by the ACS recognizes that the Renown team offers immediate, around-the-clock, emergency treatment for pediatric trauma patients. Renown is one of only two health systems to receive the designation of a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center in Nevada by the ACS; and the first in northern Nevada to earn this national distinction.

To achieve verification, the hospital must meet rigorous standards for comprehensive care, staffing, facilities, research, and educational contributions. Nationwide, only 153 hospitals are pediatric trauma centers.

The new status considers trauma treatment capabilities of Renown’s pediatric emergency department as well as the ability of Renown Children's Hospital to offer such services as pediatric surgery, pediatric intensive care unit stays and pediatric physical and occupational therapy to children recovering from traumatic injuries.


“This new achievement was granted after an extensive on-site review conducted by an expert team from the American College of Surgeons; a group dedicated to improving the care of surgical patients and safeguarding standards of care in a safe, optimal and ethical practice environment,” said Brian Erling, MD, MBA, President & CEO of Renown Health. “We are proud that Renown Regional Medical Center has earned the designation of being the only ACS verified Level 2 Trauma Center for adults in the region since 1984. This verification process, renewed every three years, was completed in late December 2023 alongside the new verification for Renown Children’s Hospital. Now with UNR Med, we celebrate serving our community with a robust Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center; and have grown to become a nationally recognized children’s hospital with a robust academic department of pediatrics.”

“The team at Renown Children’s Hospital consistently provides outstanding pediatric trauma care, and we are thrilled that the American College of Surgeons has awarded us with this official distinction,” said Dr. Frieda Hulka, Pediatric Trauma Program Medical Director at Renown Children’s Hospital. “This is particularly significant for families in northern Nevada, where trauma remains the leading cause of death in infants and children. Some nationwide studies show that children treated at pediatric trauma centers have a lower mortality risk compared to children treated at other facilities.”

This year marked the first time the emergency department's pediatric capabilities were evaluated separately.

To be a designated Level II Trauma Center, a hospital must have 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons and multiple specialties, such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, and emergency medicine. In addition, the hospital must provide trauma prevention and ongoing education for its teams and incorporate a comprehensive quality assessment program.

The emergency department did not meet the minimum volume of 200 pediatric trauma patients per year to qualify for the level-1 pediatric designation, but the Renown team anticipates with growing community support, combined with UNR Med’s research and residency programs, that they will pass this threshold in the future.

More than 100,000 children between the ages of zero and 17 live in Washoe County, and that number continues to grow,” said Nicholas Mannering, Trauma Program Manager at Renown Health. “Caring for our community’s children is a responsibility we take extremely seriously, and we are so grateful to our patients and the families for trusting us with their care.”

“Both the pediatric and adult trauma verification honor the many pioneering trauma physicians, surgeons and clinical and support teams who have built a stellar reputation over the last 160 years for Renown; and align with our strategic vision for providing comprehensive and best-in-class healthcare for the people of northern Nevada for the next 160 years,” said Chris Nicholas, CEO of Renown Regional Medical Center. “These designations celebrate our team’s commitment to maintaining and exceeding the highest standards of care for our patients.”


In 2016, The William N. Pennington Foundation recognized the need for enhanced care and expertise for pediatrics and donated $7.5 million to Renown Children’s Hospital to establish the William N. Pennington Fund for Advanced Pediatric Care. “Through these gifts,” adds Kristina Deeter, MD, MBA, FAAP, Chair of Pediatrics (UNR Med) and Physician-in-Chief, Renown Children’s Hospital, “100,000 area children now have access to more than 30 pediatricians, including general pediatricians and specializing specialists in oncology, orthopedics, pulmonology, emergency medicine, urology and many other subspecialties previously lacking in the community, as well as a pediatric emergency room, pediatric ICU and a dedicated pediatric floor at Renown Children’s Hospital. Prior to 2016, a significant percentage of pediatric patients requiring critical and specialty care had to be transferred outside of our region to receive the specialty care they needed. Now, thanks to donor support, Renown estimates that 97% of all pediatric patients and their families can receive both general and specialty pediatric care locally. The next nearest children’s hospital in the state is 7 hours or 438 miles away in Las Vegas.”

In 2022, the hospital treated 82,544 patients, performed 26,388 inpatient and same-day surgeries, gave care to 37,380 children through its pediatric providers, and delivered 3,792 babies. In June 2023, Renown Regional Medical Center expanded its pediatric critical care services to the region with a New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with advanced technology and trained healthcare professionals to give special care for women and babies. Renown also has a Neonatal Transport Team which brings infants with serious illnesses, injuries, or complications from outlying communities to the comfort of Renown's NICU. In July 2023, The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) and Renown Health welcomed members of the first resident class of the new UNR Med Pediatric Residency Program.

Renown Health is a 501 c3 not for profit organization. Donations to the Children’s Hospital are needed and accepted here.


About Renown Health

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit academic healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and northeast California. Renown Regional Medical Center is the teaching hospital for the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination, and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center for both adults and children, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health.

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