Equipped with new tools and technology and a strong research infrastructure, faculty and affiliates at UF’s Institute for Child Health Policy, or ICHP, led by Director Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., continue to improve the health of children, adolescents and young adults nationwide through rigorous research and powerful research partnerships.
A new name for ICHP’s academic home
The College of Medicine’s department of health outcomes and policy, which serves as the academic home for many ICHP faculty, has changed its name to the department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics, or HOBI. Shenkman, who serves as chair of HOBI, said the name change reflects the growing importance of biomedical informatics in research. The biomedical informatics team is led by William Hogan, M.D., M.S., a professor of biomedical informatics in HOBI and director of biomedical informatics at the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
The team now includes six faculty and an mHealth lab. Ongoing child health research involving biomedical informatics includes:
- Jiang Bian, Ph.D.; Yi Guo, Ph.D.; and François Modave, Ph.D., are investigating the feasibility of harnessing smart technology, including smartphones and smart wearables such as the Fitbit wristband, to help physicians monitor their adolescent patients with asthma.
- Modave is collaborating with the department of pediatrics to develop technology aimed at educating families and children newly diagnosed with diabetes about how to manage the disease.
- Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., whose National Cancer Institute-funded research focuses on improving teen compliance with the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine using tablet-based health information technology, is investigating the best way to implement new technology in pediatric clinics by incorporating it into existing workflows.
- With more than $1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice during the past three years, Chris Delcher, Ph.D., continues to help Florida law enforcement, state agencies and other stakeholders strengthen and refine Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In a separate study published last year in the American Journal of Public Health, Delcher and his team found that maternal and infant hospital stays associated with cocaine use fell almost immediately when in 2006 the federal government began regulating sodium permanganate, a key chemical needed to illegally manufacture cocaine.
- Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D., and UF’s Florida Data Center received a three-year, $540,000 funding award from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration to develop a statewide Child Care Access Index. The index, developed in collaboration with UF’s Lastinger Center and UF’s Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, will measure the extent to which quality child care is locally accessible in Florida. The program marks an important step in realizing the Florida Data Center’s long-term goal of linking education and health data for children in Florida.
Partners in research
The OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, where Shenkman serves as director and lead PI, has coalesced into a leading-edge resource for child health investigators at UF, in Florida and nationwide. The consortium’s Practice-Based Research Network brings together community-based practices, academic institutions and large health systems throughout urban and rural areas of Florida, which together provide health care to more than 40 percent of Floridians in the nation’s third-largest state. The OneFlorida Data Trust also houses robust patient-level electronic health record data, such as diagnoses, procedures, medications, patient demographics and other data elements for some 15 million Floridians, and includes data for all children enrolled in Medicaid in Florida. ICHP research supported by this infrastructure includes:
- QUALITY CHeQ: Shenkman, who is nationally renowned for her expertise in evaluating pediatric quality of care, received $675,000 in initial funding from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, or AHRQ, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to improve the usability of quality of care measures in diverse clinical settings. Shenkman and her team are evaluating two new quality measures developed by the AHRQ’s Pediatric Quality Measurement Program Centers of Excellence: preventive oral health care and safe and judicious use of antipsychotic medications in children and adolescents. UF is one of only six institutions nationwide to participate in the program.
- ICHP evaluates quality of care for children enrolled in Medicaid managed care programs in Texas and Florida. Nearly 1 in 5 children enrolled in Medicaid nationwide reside in Texas and Florida, the second- and third-largest states in the United States, respectively.
- Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., is working with the OneFlorida Cancer Control Alliance to improve the capacity of pediatric clinics across Florida to screen and counsel their adolescent patients on tobacco use, using evidence-based approaches. Salloum implemented an adolescent tobacco intervention in MyChart, the Epic patient portal.
Leaders in service
ICHP faculty members continue to provide leadership, expertise and community service and outreach at the national, state and local level.
- Shenkman was appointed to serve on the PCORI executive committee and as co-chair of PCORI’s pediatric collaborative research group. Shenkman also accepted an appointment to serve as associate director for population sciences at the UF Health Cancer Center.
- ICHP Assistant Director of Clinical Research Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S., received the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2017 Local Hero Award for her leadership, community action and advocacy for children in Gainesville and surrounding communities. Thompson, an associate professor of pediatrics and health policy at UF, is one of only two pediatricians in the United States and Canada to receive this prestigious award. Thompson is also spearheading a project to form a campuswide clinical research hub in the department of pediatrics.
- ICHP Associate Director Matthew Gurka, Ph.D., helped organize and host UF’s inaugural National Early Childhood Summit in Orlando last March. The summit, convened by UF’s Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies and other colleges, centers and institutes across UF, brought together more than 100 scholars, policy makers, advocates, philanthropists and practitioners from around the country to create actionable ideas and steps to further early childhood development and learning. Gurka, a biostatistician with extensive collaborative and independent research experience in pediatrics, holds a joint faculty appointment with the Zucker Center.
- Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., was selected to serve on the AAP’s Tobacco Consortium, which is responsible for setting a national agenda for child and adolescent tobacco prevention and cessation for the AAP’s Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence. The center supports research and policy development aimed at protecting children from tobacco and secondhand smoke.
In 2017, ICHP leadership developed a recruitment campaign to expand its affiliate program, launched a new monthly newsletter (ICHP in a Minute) and booked Peter Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of pediatrics and co-director of the James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, to deliver the keynote presentation at ICHP’s 2018 Research Day on April 5.
In addition to providing a collaborative space and infrastructure for child health researchers across UF’s campus, the institute’s faculty members garnered $33,466,047 in total research funding in fiscal year 2016-17.
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