HOUSTON (September 13, 2011)

The Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, in collaboration with Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, welcomes two internationally recognized leaders in maternal fetal medicine - Kenneth J. Moise, Jr., MD, and Anthony Johnson, D.O. Karen Moise, RN, also joins the team in the pivotal role of lead nurse coordinator.

The Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment, part of the UT Physicians medical practice, brings together specialists with expertise in high-risk pregnancies, focusing on the care and unique treatment for these mothers and their unborn children. "These renowned experts further strengthen the established team of Joan M. Mastrobattista, MD, and KuoJen Tsao, MD, who founded the Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment in 2009," said Susan Distefano, chief executive officer at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Moise and Johnson have performed more than 300 laser procedures in the treatment of severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. In addition, they have experience in open fetal surgery, EXIT procedures and other fetoscopic-based fetal interventions.

In February 2011, the landmark Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) was published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicating major benefits to children with spina bifida after in utero repair. Since then, the Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment, in conjunction with colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, became the first in the Southwestern United States to perform an open fetal repair of myelomeningocele. Moise, who performed 10 open fetal cases for the in utero repair of spina bifida prior to the initiation of the MOMS trial, has established relationships with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), positioning the Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment as the only fetal center in the nation working with all three participating centers of the MOMS trial.

"With this new team in place, the Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment is distinctly positioned to offer exceptional care to a unique patient population," added Distefano.

Moise and Johnson joined UTHealth and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital this month. They will serve as professors in the UTHealth Medical School's departments of Pediatric Surgery and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

"We are very proud that Drs. Moise and Johnson are joining our program and will be bringing such unique expertise and skills. Our fetal center will thrive on our team approach, ability to collaborate and dedication to our patients. As a department, this move is consistent with our commitment to becoming a center of excellence in everything we do: patient care, medical education and research," said Sean C. Blackwell, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Medicine.

As leaders in maternal and infant health, UTHealth is one of only six institutions home to both the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network and Neonatal Research Network.

Kevin P. Lally, M.D., chairman of UTHealth's Department of Pediatric Surgery and surgeon-in-chief at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, said Moise and Johnson will significantly expand the existing spectrum of care at the Texas Center for Maternal and Fetal Treatment and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital."This positions us as the premiere hospital and university in the region for maternal-fetal care," said Lally, the A.G. McNeese Chair in Pediatric Surgery and the Richard Andrassy, M.D., Endowed Distinguished Professor.Prior to joining UTHealth and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, Moise and Johnson were with Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital.

Moise was professor of obstetrics and gynecology, division of maternal-fetal medicine and interim director of the division of maternal-fetal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He received his medical degree from the Louisiana State University Medical School and completed fellowships in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Prior to Texas Children's Hospital, Johnson was director of the Fetal Intervention Program at N.C. Women's Hospital of UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, N.C. He received his medical degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, W.Va., and completed fellowships in maternal-fetal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and medical genetics at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.