Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In the midst of busy clinics, complex inpatient care, teaching the next generation of providers, discovering new knowledge and everything else that fills our days here at Children’s of Alabama and UAB Pediatrics, we know it is important to take a moment to reflect on the past year and our vision for the future. This Academic Annual Report is an opportunity to do just that. This has been a year of growth and innovation for Children’s of Alabama and UAB Pediatrics. Our research report details our accomplishments by division. Cohen Mitchell Cohen Lab

In the Department of Pediatrics, we seek to discover new knowledge in order to improve the health of the children of Alabama, the region, and the world. The clinical advances and research breakthroughs we describe here have a direct impact on children’s lives. That impact will be our legacy. We present in this report evidence of this impact as measured by major research accomplishments, grants, publications and awards. In fiscal year 2019, the Department of Pediatrics faculty had 341 publications, research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling $18.8 million and total research funding of $30.5 million. 

In addition to our research accomplishments, our focus on safety and quality is always paramount. For the tenth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Children’s of Alabama’s pediatric specialty services among the top 50 in the nation. Six specialties were ranked: Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Neonatology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery and Pulmonology. 

The department aims to build on these successes, expand the size and, importantly, the impact of our research in the coming years. We anticipate growth not only in our core areas of significant accomplishment—virology, therapeutic drug development, cancer, neonatology and outcomes—but also in newer areas where the recruitment of talented young researchers will ensure continued and expanded success. With the recruitment of Dr. Girish Dhall as division director in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, we have further advanced our clinical and translational research in neuro-oncology. Dr. Liz Worthey was recruited by the Departments of Pediatrics and Pathology and the Precision Medicine Institute to lead the Center for Computational Genomics and Data Sciences, to expand our diagnostic power to identify undiagnosed diseases, and to predict the role of multiple genes on disease outcomes and response to treatment. 

The Kaul Pediatric Research Institute (KPRI) continues to support investigators at Children’s and remains an important edge in helping our faculty achieve extramural funding through initial pilot and feasibility funding. We also initiated a new series of KPRI Quality and Safety Grants. And with support from the KPRI, we have begun a new Clinical Trials Office in collaboration with the Pediatric Research Office. 

Our clinical mission is to deliver exceptional, safe and accessible care to improve the outcomes for children in Alabama and elsewhere. From the simple to the most complex conditions, we work as a team to deliver the best care. Our achievements simply would not be possible without the physicians, nurses and staff who bring their talents and passion to the care of children every day, from everywhere in the state, the region and the nation. This coming year, we are finding ways to further increase access to our clinics, improve provider-to-provider communication and identify even more subspecialty services that we can offer to our patients and those who help care for them. 

No matter what the next year holds, please know that one thing always remains in focus: our commitment to serving the patients and families who look to us for healing and hope. Thank you for being part of that most worthy endeavor. 

Mitchell B. Cohen, M.D.
Katharine Reynolds Ireland Professor
Chair, Department of Pediatrics
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Physician in Chief, Children’s of Alabama

Download the 2019 Department of Pediatrics Academic Annual Report