Emergency Medical Services for Children awarded the UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine a $2.67 million grant to fund three more years of participation in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network.
PECARN, the first federally funded pediatric emergency medicine research network in the country, serves more than 900,000 acutely ill and injured children every year and conducts large-scale research projects.
“As Pediatric Emergency Medicine is a relatively new field, it has historically suffered from a lack of scientific evidence to guide care, “said Emily Kim, a PECARN administrator, in an e-mail interview. “PECARN is working to change that.“
The UC Davis Medical Center has been part of research network since its inception in 2001.
“Receiving this award highlights our university‘s standing as one of the leading academic institutions in the country,” Kim said.
The 22 participating hospitals under PECARN are split into regional nodes or sections where research is conducted. UC Davis is part of a non-geographic node that includes other facilities not in the area.
The newly awarded grant money will go toward maintaining the infrastructure of the center, paying salaries and allowing research coordinators to apply for grants to fund specific research.
“The grant mostly is to provide research coordinators to parts of the nodes and salaries for the time it takes to conduct research, go to meetings and travel,“ said Dr. Nathan Kuppermann, principle investigator of the network‘s Academic Centers Research Node which, in addition to UC Davis, consists of Children‘s Hospitals of Philadelphia, Wisconsin, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City.
PECARN developed an official research priorities list in 2003-2004 to help determine which studies should be given high priority. The first two rankings include respiratory illness/asthma and prediction rules for high stakes/low likely diseases in children.
The previous nine studies done under PECARN have included examining the effectiveness of steroids in reducing hospitalization for bronchiolitis in infants and the reduction of CT scans – which have high radiation risks – in children with blunt abdominal trauma.
“The work of EMSC and work such as the one done by Dr. Kuppermann under PECARN is absolutely essential to assure that when a child gets injured or falls sick suddenly, he or she can get the best care possible no matter where they are in the country,” said Tasmeen Singh, director of EMSC National Resource Center.
A 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine said emergency medical services system for pediatrics is uneven and does not provide the best possible medical care for children, Dr. Singh said.
“PECARN’s mission is to perform high quality and high priority research that will improve the care of acutely ill and injured children and youth of all ages,” Kim said.
With this grant, the Department of Emergency Medicine will be able to continue its research with PECARN and improve quality healthcare for children.
“With access to PECARN, our department can continue to pursue large, multi-center research studies that will enroll sufficient patients to provide definitive answers to the pressing questions in PEM,” Kim said.
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.