UA Emergency Medicine Researchers Receive $2.4 million Grant to Join Federally Funded Pediatric Research Network

August 4, 2015

The Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) – Tucson at the University of Arizona Emergency Medicine Department received a $2.4 million grant to join a prestigious group of researchers and institutions as one of six U.S. Research Node Centers for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN).

KDr. Kurt Denninghoffurt Denninghoff, MD, distinguished professor of emergency medicine and associate director of AEMRC – Tucson, will lead the newly created Southwest Research Node Center (SW-RNC), a network of three affiliated pediatric emergency departments: the UA, the University of New Mexico and the University of Oklahoma. Clinical researchers from each of these sites will collaborate to develop and conduct PECARN-approved studies that focus on preventing and reducing child and youth morbidity and mortality.

“The inclusion of the UA-based Southwest Research Node Center in the internationally acclaimed PECARN will serve to integrate Arizona and the Southwest, with their unique populations and geographies, into the forefront of pediatric care and research,” said Charles B. Cairns, MD, dean, UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and assistant vice president for clinical research and clinical trials at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Founded in 2001, PECARN is funded through grants from the Emergency Medical Services for Children, a branch of the Health Resources Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau. It is the nation’s first federally funded pediatric research network dedicated to the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children.

Pediatric health problems can be difficult to solve because they occur relatively infrequently. PECARN provides the leadership and infrastructure to conduct multicenter research studies, bringing together the large pediatric populations necessary to speed the discovery of answers to important issues affecting children and their families.

PECARN institutions care for more than 1 million children each year in academic, community, urban and rural hospitals and emergency medical services (EMS) systems. The network provides support for research collaboration among emergency medicine research investigators and encourages incorporating those results in the care of ill and injured pediatric patients. PECARN has published groundbreaking work in head and spine injuries, cardiac arrest, uncontrolled seizures, asthma and psychiatric emergencies, among others.

The SW-RNC will develop and test new clinical trials in the EMS environment, train new pediatric emergency clinical research leaders and build on the existing robust and innovative clinical trials infrastructure in place at AEMRC to conduct PECARN-approved multi-institutional research.

“We are greatly honored to be chosen as a PECARN node site in Arizona,” said Dr. Denninghoff. “Our partnership, excellent leadership support for collaborative emergency clinical research and the efforts of our highly successful clinical scientists led to this prestigious award. It is very humbling that we were the only new site chosen in this funding cycle from throughout the United States.  This is a great day for children both inside and beyond our network.”

"Emergency care of children in Tucson and the region will substantially benefit from this tremendous opportunity,” said Samuel M. Keim, MD, professor and head, UA Department of Emergency Medicine. He added, “Our Banner – University Medical Center pediatric emergency medicine physicians and nurses are amazing!"