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Written by Brian C. Moon - April 15, 2024
The Clinical Research (CR) Forum, a non-profit membership association of top clinical research experts and thought leaders from the nation’s leading academic health centers, presented the Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Award to two outstanding studies at the Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards on April 2nd at the Paris Hotel Las Vegas, and for the second year in a row, CCTS investigators were recognized for their achievements.

Alan Tita, M.D., Ph.D. and Waldemar A. Carlo, M.D.This year, the CRF awarded the study entitled “Azithromycin to Prevent Sepsis or Death in Women Planning a Vaginal Birth (A-PLUS),” led by Dr. Waldemar Carlo, Professor of Pediatrics, co-Division Director of Neonatology and Edwin M. Dixon Endowed Chair, and Dr. Alan Tita, Professor and Senior Vice Chair for research and innovation in UAB’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Department. The A-PLUS trial represents a landmark study with global reach enrolling more than 29,000 women in seven low- and middle-income countries with significant health disparities. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2023, the project created an evidence base for a low-cost intervention that can be used to reduce maternal sepsis and deaths in underserved regions on a global scale.

The CR Forum presents its annual Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards to highlight outstanding research advances that involve both innovation and impact on human diseases. A complete list of the 2024 Top Ten Award Winners can be found at www.clinicalresearchforum.org.

“This year’s award winners demonstrate the immense value of our nation’s investment in clinical research, and the direct impact of that work on the health of millions of people in the United States,” said Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPH, CR Forum Board Chair and Dean of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Tufts University. “For many, these innovative studies and related clinical trials may represent the only hope for surviving a life-threatening disease. They also pave the way to advance new therapies and treatments that improve public health.”

The Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Award is presented to the top two studies that show creativity, innovation, or a novel approach that demonstrates an immediate impact on the health and well-being of patients. The study, "Azithromycin to Prevent Sepsis or Death in Women Planning a Vaginal Birth," is one of this year’s honorees.

More About the Study
Dr. Waldemar A. Carlo accepted the award on behalf of the study team. Sepsis during the peri-partum period is a leading cause of maternal and newborn death. To address this rising international healthcare crisis, the study team demonstrated that a single dose of a common low-cost antibiotic, azithromycin, reduced maternal sepsis or deaths by 33% in women planning a vaginal birth in global underserved populations. This work builds on the study team’s prior findings focused on women undergoing caesarian delivery, bolstering the use of azithromycin as a prophylactic treatment to improve maternal outcomes. The team’s study results will inform the development of national and international guidelines to reduce maternal sepsis, which are critical towards the World Health Organization’s goal of reducing maternal mortality by 70% by 2030. Read more here.

About the Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards
Recognizing the need to celebrate our nation's clinical research accomplishments that involve both innovation and impact on human disease, the Clinical Research Forum conducts an annual competition to determine the ten outstanding research accomplishments in the United States. These major research advances represent a portion of the annual return on the nation's investment in the health and future welfare of its citizens.

About the Clinical Research Forum
The mission of the Clinical Research Forum is to provide leadership to the national and clinical translational research enterprise and promote understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare.

Since it was founded in 1996, the Clinical Research Forum has enabled the sharing of best practices in clinical research, informed meaningful policy dialogues and increasingly played a national advocacy role in support of clinical research.

For more information, visit www.clinicalresearchforum.org.