Children’s of Alabama and the Kaul Pediatric Research Institute have released the announcement and guidelines for the 2016-2017 grant application process. The major goal of the New and Established Investigator KPRI grant program is to allow investigators to obtain data that will advantage applications for additional extramural funding. This will bring new knowledge to the care of children, leverage the investment of the KPRI, and allow projects to be competitive for the very best science on the national stage. A second, but important, goal is to ensure that a dedicated funding source is available to unique segments of the pediatric research, education, and quality improvement enterprise. The goal of the quality/safety/educational awards is to further advance and stimulate projects that will advance child health in these areas. An expectation of future extramural funding is not a requirement for these awards. Awards are open to all faculty in pediatric disciplines and all employees at Children’s of Alabama.
 
This year, once again, there are three categories of grants that will be funded: Established Investigator Awards, New Investigator Awards, and Quality/Safety/Educational Awards. All funded applications will be directed toward the improvement of child health care.
 
Established Investigator Awards: Up to two awards will be funded, one named in honor of Dr. Sergio Stagno and one named in memory of Dr. Rud Polhill, at an amount of $50,000 per year each for a maximum of two years.
 
New Investigator Awards: Up to five awards will be funded, at an amount of $30,000 per year each for a maximum of two years.
 
Quality/Safety/Educational Awards: Up to two Quality/Safety/Educational awards will be funded, at an amount of $10,000 each for one year.
 
Applications for all awards must be submitted electronically to mary.aiken@childrensal.orgby 4:30 p.m. on Friday, September 30, 2016.  In addition - to ensure accuracy, completeness, and proper processing through UAB OSP – all Established and New Investigator grant applications should also be submitted to David Ingram on or before Wednesday, September 21st. Application guidelines and forms can also be found on the Pediatric Research Office (PRO) website at the following link:http://www.uab.edu/medicine/peds/research/funding. The PRO is available to assist all investigators with application development. Contact David Ingram or Cheryl Perry with any questions.
Trent Tipple, M.D., Neonatology, has been selected by the Section on Neonatal Perinatal Medicine (SONPM) as a SONPM District X Representative for the Mid-Career Neonatology group (MIDCaN). The American Academy of Pediatrics' Section on Perinatal Pediatrics is the home organization for specialists in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and also welcomes affiliate members working in related disciplines.
A Department of Pediatrics HSF clinical faculty track (CFT) promotion committee, comprised of senior clinical faculty members, has been selected by the HSF faculty to review promotion applications and provide guidance to those on the CFT.

The Committee consists of seven members. Four at-large Associate Professors (3+ years in rank) and/or Professors are selected by the Pediatric HSF faculty. The Pediatric Vice Chair for Clinical Services, Children's of Alabama Chief Medical Officer, and Director of Pediatric Faculty Development serve as the three (3) appointed voting committee members. The seven members will elect a chair. At-Large members will serve a term of four years and may be reelected. Only one member of a division can be elected at any one time for the four at-large positions.

2016-2020 CFT Promotions Committee representatives are: 
Cason Benton, M.D., at-large
Drew Davis, M.D., at-large
Jose Mestre, M.D., at-large
Annalise Sorrentino, M.D., at-large
Peter Glaeser, M.D., Pediatric Vice Chair for Clinical Services
Tony Fargason, M.D., Children's of Alabama Chief Medical Officer
Tina Simpson, M.D., Director of Pediatric Faculty Development

CFT Guidelines can be found on the DOP Faculty Promotion and Tenure website and can be accessed by clicking here.
UAB is the only university to be awarded grants in all three perinatal networks from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to improve maternal and infant health.

UAB is a member of the NICHD Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network, NICHD Neonatal Research Network, and the NICHD Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research.

Over more than two decades, these networks have brought to UAB more than $20 million to fund research for pregnant women and babies, and the new awards total a $1.1 million base per year for the next five years.

For 25 years, UAB’s Division of Neonatology has participated in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN) and was recently awarded $200,000 in base funds per year, with an additional $500,000 to $1 million per year to conduct additional research in the network.

The NRN was established in conjunction with the MFM Units Network to do similar research in neonatology. Areas addressed by the NRN include trials of therapies for sepsis, intraventricular hemorrhage, chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension, as well as the impact of drug exposure on child and family outcomes. Principal investigators for the network, Wally Carlo, M.D., Edwin M. Dixon Endowed Chair in Neonatology, and Namasivayam Ambalavananan, M.D., co-director of the Division of Neonatology, have led nationwide studies on ventilator care, antenatal steroids, chronic lung disease and neurodevelopmental outcomes.

A study in the NICHD NRN published in the NEJM reported that neonatal mortality has been decreased over the last 10 years, including decreases in almost all specific causes of neonatal mortality, because of improvements in care implemented in the NRN centers. A second paper showed that improvements in perinatal care, including obstetrical and neonatal interventions, are increasing survival rates substantially in the most premature babies. Survival rates are substantially increasing among those delivered at a gestational age of 20 weeks to 25 weeks and six days.

Click here to read the full press release on UAB News.
Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar is trying to do the impossible. She is cutting the Medicaid program because of the completely inadequate funding appropriated by the Alabama legislature for FY 2017 while still hoping Alabama will have an effective healthcare delivery system. It does not work that way. Hope is not a strategy.

Azar's first step is the August 1 reduction of physician reimbursement by eliminating the Medicaid physician "payment bump," a move that could have significant adverse effects on children and Alabama's healthcare delivery system. The Alabama Medicaid agency has historically been one of the lowest state-funded agencies in the country. 

A healthy, financially stable Medicaid program is vital to the more than 500,000 children served by the program, and it is critically important to the overall healthcare system in Alabama for all children. And it all begins with the primary care pediatricians and family medicine physicians in communities throughout Alabama who are on the front lines of healthcare.

Three-quarters of the Medicaid recipient population is under the age of 18 and account for almost half of the children in our State. For over 45 years, Medicaid has been an important part of Alabama's pediatric healthcare system. Importantly, Medicaid and commercial insurers provide coverage for 95 percent of our children. This is an outstanding achievement. As a result, the number of pediatricians across the State has increased, and Alabama ranks high in the nation in important child well-being markers, such as access to care, immunizations, timely preventive care and routine care for chronic illnesses. Our front line pediatricians and family care physicians do a great job but now that is all in jeopardy.

Approximately 60 percent of Children's of Alabama's patient population is Medicaid-eligible. Children's is the State's only comprehensive pediatric medical center and Medicaid is important to our ability to continue to provide care for all of the ill and injured children who come to us from each of Alabama's 67 counties every year. The children of Alabama desperately need for Medicaid to have stable, long-term funding that can help ensure medical care is accessible and available for all our children and for the next generation to come.

Children's of Alabama will continue to work with policy and legislative leaders to find long-term, sustainable funding for the State's Medicaid program. It is imperative that the pediatric healthcare framework not be disrupted and that we are well positioned to address the future needs of our children. The primary care physicians are at the epicenter of care for children in communities throughout Alabama. Their success and viability is simply good for kids.

The UAB Department of Pediatrics has provided, and continues to provide, training for pediatricians who are eager to provide care for the next generation of Alabama's children. A stable Medicaid program will help us retain these young doctors in our State, particularly in communities where the number of physicians is already low. Fewer community pediatricians will mean more local emergency room visits and increased costs.

Children's of Alabama, the UAB Department of Pediatrics and our healthcare partners across the State call on our governor, legislators and policymakers to do what is right for children and our medical community. Alabama must stop the annual, one-time band-aid approach to Medicaid funding. Alabama's children deserve a viable, sustainable long-term solution to Medicaid funding and only the governor and the legislature can do that job.

Sincerely,

Mike Warren
President and CEO, Children's of Alabama

Mitch Cohen, M.D.
Children's Physician-in-Chief
Chair of the UAB Department of PediatricsChair of the UAB Department of Pediatrics
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease recently awarded the UAB Department of Pediatrics contracts totaling $11.5 million under its Broad Agency Announcement mechanism to support two studies to be conducted at UAB and its partner academic sites.
 
The studies will assess treatment of babies born with congenital cytomegalovirus without symptoms, and frequency of neonatal herpes infections in the United States and Peru.
 
Almost one percent of babies born in the United States will have CMV, the largest non-genetic cause of sensory loss and mental disabilities. Ninety percent of these babies will be asymptomatic, or show no visible or laboratory evidence of the disease, at the time of birth. Early detection and close follow-up can lessen the effects of congenital CMV in infants. The new study, supported by a $10 million contract, will explore whether treating babies with four months of an oral drug – valganciclovir –that targets the virus can improve outcomes. 
 
“UAB has been the world leader in studying congenital viral infections for the past 50 years,” said David Kimberlin, M.D., who holds the Sergio Stagno, M.D., Endowed Chair in Pediatric Infectious Disease at UAB. “Our team of researchers and physicians have been instrumental in learning more about CMV and treating the disease. The next step is being able to identify and treat CMV in babies who are asymptomatic at birth.”

A $1.5 million contract will support a study to assess the incidence of neonatal herpes infections in the United States and Peru using large databases in both countries to see how common the infection is. Knowledge gained from these investigations will inform future therapeutic studies aimed to decrease mother-to-infant transmission of herpes simplex virus. A prospective trial also will be conducted in Peru under this contract.

Other UAB researchers involved in these studies that improve the lives of children across the globe include Mary Wyatt Bowers, Penny Jester, Susan Branscum, Sara Davis, Juliette Southworth and Richard Whitley, M.D 

Click here to read more on UAB News.
The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee is a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to the NIH Director related to basic and clinical research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules. Richard Whitley, M.D., Pediatric Infectious Disease, was recently named Chair and will be reporting directly to Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health.
Nine faculty projects have been funded by the School of Medicine Dean’s Research Award Program. These donor-funded awards, totaling $25,000, have been granted to promote faculty efforts in medical education and medical education research in the School of Medicine. Marjorie Lee White, M.D., M.P.P.M., M.A., Pediatric Emergency Medicine, received funding for her project, "Development of Interprofessional Education Communication Videos" in the amount of $2,000.
The 2016 UAB Perinatal Conference is now open for registration. This year’s conference is titled “If You Feed Them, They Will Grow.” The objective is to provide state-of-the art updates on the care of the neonate. This one-day conference is scheduled for Friday, July 22 beginning at 7:30 a.m. with registration and breakfast, in the Bradley Conference Center at Children’s of Alabama. Up to 8 CMEs and 9.6 Contact Hours are available.Click here for the informational brochure.
Margaux Barnes, Ph.D., Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, received funding from Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC) Pilot/Feasibility Grant Program for the proposal titled, “Mediational Analysis of Diet Composition, Physical Activity, and Lean Mass in Pediatric Patients with IBD.” The pilot program advisory committee of the NORC recommended funding of the application for $25,000 to be used by May 2017.