PTCIB Research Programs

The following information describes the branch’s research programs and program areas.

PTCIB supports research and training opportunities to inform the practice of health care providers who stabilize, diagnose, and manage the care of critically ill children of all ages. Such research focuses on investigating the safety and effectiveness of treatment and management strategies for all sorts of pediatric critical illness and injury, including sepsis (blood infection), multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS), acute lung injury, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In addition, we will support research focused on the care of critically ill children and on the toll that such illness takes on the family.

Within this training program, there are two complementary research portfolios, described as follows.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Pathophysiology, and Management of Critical Illness Portfolio

Program Official: Robert Tamburro

This portfolio includes projects on:

  • Physiology/Pathophysiology of critical illness
  • Biomarkers related to critical illness
  • Medical and pharmacological management of critical illness
  • Pediatric surgery and surgical intervention
  • Anesthesia
  • Remote monitoring/telemedicine
  • Statistical modeling studies of critical illness
  • Medical devices
  • Conditions of particular interest:
    • MODS
    • Sepsis
    • Acute, severe TBI
    • Serious life-threatening injury
    • Acute lung injury
    • Critical illness in children with complex, chronic conditions

Ethical, Translational, and Applied Research in Pediatric Critical Care Practice Portfolio

Program Official: Tammara Jenkins

This portfolio includes projects on:

  • Nursing and non-pharmacological management of critical illness
  • Bereavement, palliative care, end-of-life in pediatric intensive care unit populations
  • Ethical issues related to critical illness and pediatric critical care research
  • Functional outcomes of critical illness
  • Environment of care
    • Health care systems
    • Interdisciplinary health care team dynamics and family communication
    • Clinical education and training
    • Patient safety
  • Psychosocial aspects of critical care (child, family, and health care provider)
  • Care-based implementation science

In addition to investigator-initiated research, the program also supports research training, including the Pediatric Critical Care and Trauma Scientist Development Program, a national faculty training and career development program that develops successful pediatric critical care and trauma physician scientists who conduct research to enhance the scientific understanding, clinical management, and rehabilitation of pediatric trauma and critical illness.

The program also supports the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network, which serves as a national resource for studying the scientific bases of pediatric critical care medicine.

Program Official: Valerie Maholmes

This program supports investigator-initiated research aimed at advancing the science of trauma and injury prevention and care for pediatric populations, with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality in children. The overall program encourages projects to develop new methods and measurements tools to improve clinical outcomes in children.

Program priorities address the full continuum of care, from prevention through treatment, and then through acute rehabilitation. It supports research on both inflicted and unintentional injuries, and on the diagnosis and treatment of all forms of child abuse and neglect. The program also includes violence and violence-related injuries and the prevention, treatment, and biomedical outcomes of violence.

There are two complementary research portfolios.

Injury Prevention, Trauma, and Emergency Care Portfolio

This portfolio includes projects on:

  • Basic, clinical, and translational research designed to advance the science of injury prevention, trauma, and emergency care for pediatric populations
  • Specific areas of interest include:
    • Continuum of care for pediatric trauma patients, including prehospital, emergency medical services, hospital treatment and stabilization, post-hospitalization outcomes, and acute follow-up
    • The epidemiology and prevention of unintentional traumatic injuries in children, including how individual, physical, environmental, and social factors interact and possibly affect risk of unintentional injury
    • Pathophysiology of injury
    • Disparities in injury patterns, treatment, and outcomes
    • Targeted research efforts on potentially severe injuries in pediatric patients, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), major penetrating trauma, major blunt trauma, blast injury, and crush injury
    • Research on both mild and severe TBI, including forces involved, diagnostic markers, protective gear, and treatment and outcomes
    • Basic and clinical pharmacology studies related to efficacy, safety, dosing, and pharmacogenomics of medications used in the prevention and treatment of trauma, associated pain, and emergency-related conditions in children
    • Prehospital and emergency care of children with severe illness and injury
    • Evaluations of the scientific basis of pediatric resuscitation practice to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes in injured children

Psychological Trauma, Traumatic Stress, Violence and Child Maltreatment Portfolio

This portfolio includes projects on:

  • Epidemiology of violence and violence-related injury, including understanding types of violence and their inter-relationships, the spread of violence in domestic and international contexts, victimization, prevention, and treatment
  • Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of child maltreatment, including sexual assault, abusive head trauma, medical abuse/neglect, adverse childhood experiences, sudden unexplained death in children, treatment and care of abuse, and screening, prevention, and medical and physical health outcomes
  • Trauma-informed care and systems of care, including studies examining processes for understanding and responding appropriately to child psychological trauma and its effects. Of particular interest is research on acute and long-term effects of disasters on children and the development of responses and preparedness to prevent trauma from these incidents
  • Neurobiology of violence, traumatic stress, and abuse, including basic, clinical, and translational studies on the biological embedding of trauma exposure, as well as studies examining psychological processes that co-occur with physical trauma and that affect treatment, recovery, and well-being
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