ICHP-Pediatrics Research Day: Helping the Most Vulnerable Babies

Lynn SingerChild health researchers from across UF attended the 2020 Institute for Child Health Policy -Pediatrics Research Day on Feb. 27. The event featured a keynote address by Lynn Singer, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor of Population and Quantitative Heath Sciences, Psychology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Singer has directed a number of large, federally and privately funded research programs, including a 19-year study of high-risk preterm infants with lung disease and their families, a longitudinal study of cocaine-exposed infants in Cleveland from birth to 12 years, and a birth cohort study of prenatal MDMA exposure in London, England.

Singer currently serves as Case Western University’s site PI for the HEALthy Early Development Study, a national consortium investigating effects of prenatal opioid exposures on infant development that is just getting underway. ICHP associate director Matthew Gurka, Ph.D. is the site PI for the HEALthy Early Development Study at UF and UF Health; he and his team are evaluating the feasibility of using the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium to recruit pregnant women in Florida.

In her presentation, Singer discussed results from her study evaluating health outcomes of high-risk preterm infants with lung disease and their families. Key findings from the study: The team found that social class was a moderating factor for the intellectual development of preterm children with lung disease; as such, it is important to ensure that high-risk preterm children from low-income families are identified early, and that proper supports and interventions are made available to the families of these children.

The team also found that mothers of preterm babies with lung disease experienced the highest levels of stress compared to other mothers. Throughout the study, social support had a strong buffering effect for these mothers. Singer said it is critically important that parents of high-risk preterm babies receive ample social support during the baby’s stay in the hospital and after the baby and family return home.

To learn more, see Dr. Singer’s presentation.