March 2021 Department of Pediatrics NewsletterMar 26, 2021
Dear Faculty and Friends,
Welcome to the March edition of the Department of Pediatrics Newsletter. Here you will find a sampling of all the amazing activity happening within the Department of Pediatrics and at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Thanks to all our talented faculty, trainees, and staff who make this the best Pediatrics Department in the country!
With March being Women’s History Month, it is especially gratifying to highlight the significant recent accomplishments of some of our women faculty.
Glover Elected as Hastings Center Fellow
Congratulations to Jacqueline J. Glover, PhD, (Professor of Pediatrics) on her selection as a Hastings Center Fellow. Hastings Center Fellows are recognized for outstanding scholarly accomplishments whose work has informed scholarship and improved public understanding of ethical issues in health, health care, life sciences research, and the environment. Dr. Glover is one of 14 fellows recently elected to a group of more than 200 from all corners of the globe.
Dr. Glover serves as the clinical case consultation lead for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, and her work focuses on moral distress and ethics teaching for residents and fellows. As a member of the American Board of Pediatrics Ethics committee from 1990-2008, she was instrumental in the development of ethics resources for the Board.
Tang Secures NIH Funding for Gut Microbiome Research
Minghua Tang, PhD (Assistant Professor, Section of Nutrition) has received a $680,000 Research Project Grant (R01-DK126710) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for her project titled, “Dietary influence on infant growth and the gut microbiota.” The overall objective of Dr. Tang’s project is to establish how infant diets with different protein-rich foods regulate growth trajectories and gut microbiota development.
Findings are expected to have significant scientific and health implications for determining dietary patterns that promote optimal infant growth and identifying gut microbial changes that are beneficial to the host metabolism and growth during early complementary feeding. The results of the study will also support evidence-based dietary recommendations in infants to prevent the risk of overweight and later obesity.
Warren Receives NIH Career Development Award
Beth Warren, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant) has been awarded a 5-year, $944,000 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23-HL151886) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for her project titled, “Exploring the Biomechanics of Joint Bleeding in Persons with Hemophilia.”
Joint bleeding in hemophilia leads to arthropathy and is not fully prevented by standard treatments. Joint and muscle bleeding likely cause changes in movement strategies and lower limb biomechanics, which Dr. Warren hypothesizes leads to subsequent increased risk of lower extremity bleeding. Her research proposal seeks to better understand the biomechanics of joint and muscle bleeding and to quantify and reduce bleeding risk.
DOP Faculty Score CCTSI Pilot Awards
The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) has announced its 2021 Pilot Grant Awards and once again the Department of Pediatrics has several well-deserved awardees. The Colorado Pilot Grant Program (CO-Pilot) provides one-year grants to encourage cross-disciplinary and collaborative research in clinical and translational medicine. DOP CCTSI CO-Pilot awardees this year include the following:
Kristen Boyle, PhD (Assistant Professor, Section of Nutrition) received a CSU/CU Collaboration Award for her work with Dr. Bryan Bergman (Professor, Department of Medicine), and Dr. Josiane Broussard at Colorado State University on their project titled, “Impact of weight loss on the intrinsic circadian clock in human skeletal muscle.” The project collaborators are developing novel methods to measure intrinsic circadian clocks in cells cultured from human participants. The project aims to investigate whether cells from individuals with insulin resistance display altered circadian cycles compared with cells from healthy individuals.
Allison Shapiro, PhD (Assistant Professor, Section of Endocrinology) earned a Junior Faculty Award for her project titled, “Implementation of a novel, interdisciplinary protocol to study the pancreatic-hypothalamic axis in vivo in human adults.” Dr. Shapiro aims to implement a novel experimental design that induces endogenous insulin secretion using a hyperglycemic clamp with concomitant measurement of the hypothalamic neuronal response via functional magnetic resonance imaging in young adults with and without obesity to estimate hypothalamic insulin sensitivity and possible disruption of the pancreatic-hypothalamic axis in people with obesity. Her study will be the first step toward understanding hypothalamic insulin sensitivity/resistance and its role in the pancreatic-hypothalamic axis in vivo.
Joshua Bear, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Neurology) is the recipient of a Junior Faculty Award for his project titled, “Spike-Associated Networks Predict Seizure Freedom after Epilepsy Surgery.” Dr. Bear has developed “spike-associated networks,” a technique that measures momentary changes in functional connectivity during non-seizure epileptiform activity on intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) recordings. For this project, data from 100 individuals who have undergone intracranial EEG monitoring and surgical resection and have clinical follow-up data will be retrospectively analyzed. Using spike-associated networks, critical brain regions will be identified based on the degree to which information flows from these regions to the rest of the network, and the effect that resecting these regions has on seizure freedom will be measured. A random forest ensemble machine learning model will then be used to improve the predictive value of the technique.
Andrew Haynes, MD (Instructor, Section of Infectious Diseases) received a Mentored Faculty Award for his project titled, “Oral Amoxicillin and Cephalexin Pharmacokinetics/Pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.” Dr. Haynes’ project is a prospective study in neonates and young infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit to define age-stratified PK/PD parameters for amoxicillin and cephalexin and use PD modeling to assess expected efficacy of various dosing strategies. Standard neonatal dosing regimens are expected to show unacceptably low rates of PD target attainment due to high inter-individual variability. To address this, he aims to identify a serum trough threshold such that PD efficacy targets could be met in the subpopulation of neonates with trough concentrations exceeding that cut-off. This trough-based therapeutic drug monitoring approach would improve provider confidence in antibiotic PO transition in neonates.
Erica Mandell, DO (Assistant Professor, Section of Neonatology) received a Junior Faculty Award for her project titled, “Quantifying the impact of antenatal and immediate postnatal exposures on early lung development and function and increasing the risk for late respiratory outcomes.” The goal, and primary outcome, of the proposed study is to define lung development cost functions that quantify the effects of antenatal exposure and mechanical ventilation on late respiratory outcomes using unique in vivo experiments, establishing a method to guide clinical ventilatory management to prevent BPD.
New Peer Support Network (PSN)
The CHCO Faculty Well-being Advisory Committee has instituted a Peer Support Network for all CHCO faculty and medical staff. What is the Peer Support Network? The Peer Support Network (PSN) is comprised of a group of over 100 CHCO faculty and medical staff members who have received training in how to have confidential, productive, and supportive peer support conversations when adverse clinical events occur. The program has been reviewed and approved by CHCO Legal Affairs and Risk Management. An adverse clinical event is described as: “A health care-related event that causes distress to a patient, their family, or their health care provider.” These may be acute events, or a culmination of stressful situations that take their toll on providers and staff over time.
How does the Peer Support Network work? Each section’s PSN members are asked to develop their own section’s response plan and communicate the plan to their section members. The aim is to have a PSN member be notified if an adverse clinical event occurs. The type of events that result in notification vary by section, but examples include unexpected death, unanticipated adverse outcome, CODE outside the ICU, difficult family members, etc. If an adverse event occurs, a member of the PSN will reach out to the provider(s) who are impacted by the event and offer a peer support conversation. The affected faculty member is NOT required to have the conversation, they may choose to do so if they feel it would be beneficial to them. PSN members are trained on maintaining confidentiality, mandatory referral, and other referral to additional resources as indicated. The focus of Peer Support conversations is NOT on review of medical events, but rather to provide emotional support to peers affected by adverse clinical events.
If you have any questions, or would like to be involved in this program, contact Jenny Reese, MD: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonja Ziniel, PhD (Assistant Research Professor, Section of Hospital Medicine) has been recognized for her tireless contributions to survey methodology and research support for CHCO, Department of Pediatrics and Section of Hospital Medicine. According to Dr. Jenny Reese, “Sonja is truly an unsung hero among us.”
Nathalie Nguyen MD, Stephanie Skirka RN, Jen Natale RN, Linda Perez, and Cherrish Martinez MA from the Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Digestive Health Institute were recognized by Dr. Glenn Furuta. Together, these five individuals basically pivoted our multidisciplinary program on a dime to reactivate programmatic clinical services. We now know that their efforts ultimately increased patient encounters by over 25% during 2020 due to the rapid implementation of telehealth and hybrid platforms. Their collaborative approach created a transparent and fluid system that allowed each of our specialty providers to care for our patients and families with relative ease. These efforts also permitted the allowed research activities to continue and thus facilitated our research mission. Finally, they advanced the educational arm of our program by engaging with local, national, and international advocacy and academic societies and allowing us to provide presentations and webinars. This was all accomplished in a socially distanced and virtual manner in a way that still maintained the esprit de corps of our team.
Tara Neubrand, MD (Assistant Professor, Section of Emergency Medicine) was recognized by Dr. Marion Sills for “staying hours late after the end of her shift to pitch in on a complex resuscitation, lending her expertise and leadership in resuscitation to the effort.”
Thanks to those who submitted this month’s recognition highlights. If you would like to acknowledge a co-worker or group for their service, success and/or support, please access the new DOP “shout-out” page.
Faculty Working Group Updates
The Early Career Faculty Working Group will host a Zoom session titled, “Overcoming COVID Fatigue: Maintaining Faculty Well-being and Connection,” on Tuesday, April 27 from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Please join us for an engaging event about strategies to sustain connections with colleagues during stressful times; understanding best practices for well-being and connectivity including discussion of technology use; and developing strategies to improve personal and professional well-being. Please register for the event by April 22.
The Instructor Faculty Working Group will host a Zoom session titled, “The Science and Skills for Becoming an Effective Team Member: The Concept of Followership,” on Wednesday, May 12 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Please join us for an engaging event about identifying followership in the workplace; building skills for effective team building, advocacy, or conflict resolution; and establishing a goal for using these skills and theories in the workplace. Please register for the event by May 7.
The PhD Faculty Working Group will host a Zoom session titled, “Diversity Search & Hiring: Best Practices to Conduct an Inclusive and Compliant Search,” on Tuesday, June 22 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Please join use for an engaging event that will identify strategies to ensure an inclusive search process; implement best practices to diversify the applicant pool; comply with federal and university policies; and utilize strategies to negate unconscious bias through the hiring process. Please register for the event by June 18.
As always, for these and other exciting Department of Pediatrics news stories, please visit our Pediatrics News web page.
Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Pediatrics | University of Colorado School of Medicine
Pediatrician-in-Chief | Children’s Hospital Colorado