Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta announced the investment of $75 million for pediatric research centers of excellence over the next five years. In addition, Children’s announces the specific areas of focus for research growth through the next five years. The announcement comes on the heels of a recent $30 million grant from the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, of which $25 million will help fund a new pediatric research building.
After conducting a rigorous proposal submission process guided by Paul Spearman, M.D., Children’s new Chief Research Officer and Vice Chair for Research in the Emory Department of Pediatrics, eight initial key priority areas were identified. These included the existing strong research focus within the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s, along with seven new priority areas: immunology and vaccines, transplant immunology and immune therapeutics, pediatric healthcare technology innovation, cystic fibrosis, developmental lung biology, endothelial cell biology and cardiovascular biology. Planned priority areas for the near future include drug discovery, neurosciences, autism, outcomes/wellness, and clinical and translational research.
“By implementing this strategic research plan, Children’s, in collaboration with its academic affiliates, has an opportunity to become a pre-eminent research enterprise. Through clinical and translational research, Children’s can continue to provide leading-edge care to patients and create an innovative environment for physicians,” said Paul Spearman, M.D.
In order to create a visible and tangible research enterprise in line with peer institutions, these chosen priority areas were designated as pediatric research centers. Research centers were designed to leverage existing strengths and capabilities at Children’s, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse School of Medicine and other leading institutions in Georgia. This alignment seeks to help create a top ten pediatric research enterprise.
“Our faculty focused on pediatric research in Emory School of Medicine and throughout health sciences will have key leadership roles in these new centers and we look forward to continuing to expand the quality and depth of our pediatric research program with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,”says David S. Stephens, MD, vice president for research in Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center.
In 2006, the Board of Trustees realized that in order to be a world-class pediatric institution and improve the health status of children, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta needed to develop a robust research program focused on acquiring new knowledge and expertise. It was determined that Children’s research would be organized and conducted around five cross-disciplinary themes: Immunology and Vaccines, Experimental Technologies and Therapeutics, Genetics and Developmental Biology, Vascular Biology, and Clinical Outcomes and Public Health. These themes were intentionally designed as broad areas of investigation to support multi-disciplinary, collaborative research efforts. In early 2009, Children’s and Emory recruited Paul Spearman, M.D. as Chief Research Officer at Children’s and Vice Chair for Research in the Emory Department of Pediatrics and took the necessary steps to create and execute a master research strategic plan.