Pediatric research at USU addresses the emerging needs of both the Military Child and the global community that we serve. Mindful of the broader mission of the university, our pediatric research improves the readiness and welfare of service members not only by improving the lives of the families that support them, but by also addressing dual threats and the novel application of our results that are relevant to both child and warfighter populations.
"Pediatric research at USU improves the lives of children, and the readiness and welfare of service members, by addressing dual threats and the novel application of our results that are relevant to both populations."
A Legacy of Research
RESPIRATORY VIRUS RESEARCH AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SYNAGIS® (PALIVIZUMAB)
The USU Department of Pediatrics has an illustrious history in pediatric-related research and is a tremendous success story in technology transfer. The group of Drs. Hemming-Fischer-Prince from the Infectious Diseases Division studied immune responses to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and successfully commercialized passive immunity of anti-RSV immunoglobulins for prevention and treatment of the disease in compromised infants and children. The impact of this work lives on in today’s department, as USU Pediatric researchers study the immunology of respiratory viruses and collaborate with the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program (IDCRP) on clinical trials based in adult and pediatric military populations.
DEVELOPING NEW STANDARDS FOR PATIENT HANDOFF, IMPROVING CARE AND SAVING LIVES
The handoff of clinical responsibility between providers is a vulnerable source of communication failure that could put a patient’s life or well-being at risk. Communication errors are a contributing cause of approximately two out of every three such sentinel events in hospitals. Although handoffs are increasingly frequent in academic medicine, standardized handoff programs are infrequent with most residency programs providing little or no formal training in handoff skills.
USU Pediatrics and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are one of a select group of sites to develop and pilot a novel curriculum to assess the impact of an educational intervention through the national I-PASS working group (I-PASS--- Illness Severity, Patient Summary, Action List, Situational Awareness & Contingency Planning, Synthesis by Receiver), modified for resident transitions-of-care and patient-and-family-centered rounds, respectively, on patient safety outcomes, an initiative aimed at reduction of communication errors within health care teams. This program has been shown to reduce medical errors and is now being adopted across the military health system.
“BIG DATA” ANALYSES REVEAL LINKS BETWEEN AUTISM AND OTHER CONDITIONS, PAVING THE WAY FOR CHANGES IN TREATMENT AND CARE
The Pediatric Clinical Research Division at USU is focused on utilizing existing data to address knowledge deficits in fields relevant to clinical pediatrics. The group performs research on epidemiology, health services, clinical outcomes, and comparative effectiveness. Novel findings are revealed which could not be discovered without the use of “big data.” Through ongoing collaboration and successful grant funding, we have drastically expanded the knowledge of the complexities of medical care for children with autism in the largest ever published cohort of children diagnosed with autism.
Children with autism spectrum disorders are increasingly common, yet with this increase in prevalence remains both a paucity of understanding of the unique needs of this population and potential causes of the increase. We set forth to identify comorbidities of autism and thus far they have discovered several novel findings which will significantly impact the practice of pediatrics in the treatment of children with autism.
First, children with autism have increased risk for gastrointestinal disease such as celiac disease and eosinophilic esophagitis. From a nutritional perspective it was discovered that children with autism are also commonly at the extremes of malnutrition, both undernutrition and overnutrition. Together, these findings regarding autism are leading the way in establishing a need on the national scale to standardize health supervision in children with autism.