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Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta now part of nationwide pediatric emergency research network

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Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have been selected to participate as a new research site for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), the first such federally funded network in the country, which began in 2001.

Emory and Children’s join Brown University/Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco/UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital (Oakland) in forming one of six “nodes” in PECARN.  This node, called the San Francisco-Oakland, Providence, Atlanta Research Collaborative (SPARC), has been awarded a four-year, $2.8 million grant to develop and conduct studies that focus on preventing and reducing morbidity and mortality in the sickest of ill and injured children. 

Claudia R. Morris, MD, professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children’s, is lead investigator of the award for Emory and Children’s. Harold Simon, MD, Marcus Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM), and attending physician at Children’s, will serve as co-investigator. 

Morris says the network offers an incredible opportunity for the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. “This will move our research platform to the next level, as we contribute to critical research that will ultimately improve the emergency care we provide to children across the country and beyond,” she says.   

“The award also provides a mechanism for pediatric emergency medicine providers to lead and participate in multi-center research studies, offers training opportunities for junior faculty, and facilitates opportunities for collaborative research across pediatric divisions and pediatric emergency departments at all three Children’s hospitals in Atlanta,” says Srikant Iyer, MD, MPH, chief of emergency services at Children’s and PEM division head at Emory’s School of Medicine.   

SPARC is the first of its kind in the southeastern U.S. “Even though we are a new node, we are extremely strong as all three locations have ongoing funded projects in collaboration with PECARN,” says Morris. She points out that the partnership between Emory and Children’s provides a unique benefit to the network: more than 240,000 children are seen across Children’s emergency departments annually, thus enabling research into a variety of pediatric health problems.

Emory’s Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are among the leading research centers for pediatric and child health in the nation; the Department of Pediatrics ranked 4th nationally in National Institutes of Health funding for departments of pediatrics in 2018. Children’s is also among the top health care systems for children, with three major pediatric emergency centers (Egleston, Scottish Rite, and Hughes Spalding), and eight urgent care centers with a combined 421,603 ambulatory patient visits last year. The partnership between Emory and Children’s is among the strongest in the nation for advancing pediatric research, education and clinical care.


PECARN, founded in 2001, is the nation’s first federally funded pediatric research network dedicated to research about the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children and youth across the continuum of emergency medicine health care. The network is comprised of 18 hospital emergency departments that care for more than 1 million injured and ill children every year and more than nine partner EMS agencies. These emergency departments represent academic, community, urban, rural, general and children’s hospitals.

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