Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This has been a year of growth and discovery for Children’s of Alabama and the UAB Department of Pediatrics. Our research report details our accomplishments by division.

Cohen Mitchell Cohen LabIn 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 discoveries 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 FY 2017, the Department of Pediatrics faculty had 243 publications, research funding from the National Institutes of Health totaling $15 million and total research funding of $29 million. In addition, we recruited 29 new faculty members, including nine who are expected to develop independent research careers based on their start-up support and goals.

In addition to our research accomplishments, our focus on safety and quality is always paramount. And we are using simulation and quality improvement science to improve our patient safety experience as well. This year, we reduced the number of serious safety events at Children’s and were recognized twice by the national learning collaborative, Solutions for Patient Safety, as the Children’s Hospital of the Month. For the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Children’s pediatric specialty services among the top 50 in the nation. Seven specialties were ranked: Cancer, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, Nephrology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology.

We aim 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, neonatal and rheumatology outcomes – but also in newer areas where the recruitment of talented young researchers will ensure continued and expanded success. In its second year of full operation, the Pediatric Research Office (PRO), led by David Kimberlin, M.D., seeks to dramatically assist pediatric investigators in the design, conduct and analysis of research. This in turn allows our physician scientists to focus on the science of the research while relying on the highly skilled PRO staff to assist with the regulatory, biostatistical and data management, and other components key to the successful conduct of pediatric investigation. The Kaul Pediatric Research Institute (KPRI) has continued to support investigators at Children’s and remains an important edge in helping our faculty achieve extramural funding through initial pilot and feasibility funding. In addition, this past year, Children’s established two new Research Funds that will further support and bolster our research efforts in the Pediatric Enterprise. And we opened the new Children’s Hospital Research Unit (CHRU) at Children’s to provide an outstanding and functional space to see children who are participating in clinical and translational research.

Children’s is a very special place. It is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the UAB pediatric medicine, surgery, psychiatry, clinical, research and residency programs. Together, Children’s and the UAB Department of Pediatrics will continue to build the world-class programs that will improve the future for the children of Alabama, the Southeast and the world.


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


Download the 2017 Department of Pediatrics Research Annual Report