The UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine has received a $2.67 million dollar grant to continue its participation in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), the first federally funded pediatric emergency medicine research network in the United States.
The grant, which covers three years, was awarded by the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
PECARN conducts high-priority, multi-institutional research into the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children and youth of all ages. The 22 hospital emergency departments that constitute PECARN serve more than 900,000 acutely ill and injured children every year. These emergency departments represent academic, community, urban, rural, general and children's hospitals. At any given time, the network is conducting six-to-eight ongoing research studies.
UC Davis Medical Center has been part of PECARN since its inception in 2001. Nathan Kuppermann, chair of the UC Davis emergency department, is the principal investigator of the network's Academic Centers Research Node which, in addition to UC Davis, consists of Children's Hospitals of Philadelphia, Wisconsin, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City. Kuppermann also has chaired the PECARN Steering Committee since its inception.
UC Davis is the principal site of two of the largest studies conducted in PECARN. One of these studies, led by Kuppermann and funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and EMSC, sought to create a clinical prediction rule to identify which children with head injuries would benefit from computed tomography (CT) scans. This study was completed in 2006 after it enrolled more than 42,000 patients across all PECARN hospitals.
Five abstracts based on the results of this study were presented at recent meetings of the Pediatric Academic Society and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Three abstracts were presented the previous year and several manuscripts are currently being prepared.
The other large study, led by principal investigator Jim Holmes, professor of emergency medicine, is ongoing and aims to develop clinical decision rules for the evaluation of children who arrive in emergency departments with blunt abdominal trauma. The study's goal is to reduce the inappropriate use of abdominal CT scans in children who have a very low risk of significant injury. This study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is being conducted across 19 PECARN hospitals and has enrolled approximately 4,500 patients.
In the past year, PECARN also had an important publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. The publication was based on a study assessing the effectiveness of oral dexamethasone in reducing hospitalization for bronchiolitis at 20 emergency departments in PECARN. Kuppermann was the senior author of this study.