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Rheumatology Award, South Jersey Summer Institute, Rural Health, ASH Prize, Army Families

Published on July 26, 2019 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 2 months 1 week ago


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It will take more than a little heat and humidity to stop our researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from making an impact in and around the community: In this edition of our biweekly news roundup, we cover a recent event that introduced South Jersey teachers to our innovative research, congratulate two scientists on new awards that recognize their contributions to rheumatology and hematology, and share how faculty members at PolicyLab are discussing the implications of their work in the realms of policy and public health. 

Sabrina Gmuca, MD, MSCE, Receives Rheumatology Research Foundation Award 

The Rheumatology Research Foundation recognized Sabrina Gmuca, MD, MSCE, an attending physician in the Division of Rheumatology and a core faculty member at Clinical Futures, with the K Bridge Award, a career development funding award. The award supports junior investigators in conducting novel research.

Dr. Gmuca received the award for her project titled “Fostering Resilience in Adolescents with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain (CMP).” Her research aims to evaluate the baseline psychosocial factors associated with CMP severity and treatment adherence at six months after diagnosis among adolescents, to conduct a randomized controlled trial of a resilience training intervention, and to evaluate patient and parent engagement in that intervention using a mixed-methods approach.

Dr. Gmuca and her colleagues laid the foundation for the K Bridge project with a published Journal of Pediatrics study that looked at resilience in CMP patients ages 13 to 17 years and their parents. The study found that resilience in patients was correlated with reduced disease severity; and in parents, resilience was positively correlated with mental health. 

South Jersey Summer Institute for Educators Visits CHOP

Twenty educators from the South Jersey region sat in on research presentations and toured labs at the CHOP Research Institute June 22 as part of the Summer Institute for Educators, a program hosted by the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce. The unique program, whose participants teach students between grades 4 through 12, aims to improve curriculum in the South Jersey area and prepare students for job readiness. Educators receive exposure to the skills and training that businesses seek when hiring employees, with the goal of assisting teachers in modifying lesson plans in the classroom to better prepare their students for the future. 

The event welcomed educators to tour our Zebrafish Core and the Biorepository Core,  as well as hear from several CHOP faculty members and researchers, including Peter Grollman, our senior vice president of External Affairs, and Paulette McRae, PhD, assistant director of Special Programs and Diversity. John McCann, a research associate, presented research on tetralogy of fallot, a congenital heart defect, and Sujay Guha, a research post-doctoral fellow, shared work on using simple model organisms to study metabolic disorders and develop targeted therapies.

New PolicyLab Blog Sheds Light on Home Visiting Programs in Rural Counties  

More than half of rural counties do not have a hospital where a woman can deliver a baby, according to research reports. Maternal and child home visiting programs in these areas provide an invaluable service, addressing much more beyond ensuring healthy pregnancies and timely child development. In a new PolicyLab blog post, Jennifer Whittaker, a clinical research associate at PolicyLab at CHOP, discusses a new research study published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice that explores the impact of such home visiting programs on the health needs of pregnant women living in low-density and underserved communities. 

“Overall, our findings suggest that investment in home visiting programs, and their subsequent dedication to addressing social determinants of health for mothers and infants, may result in not just healthier children, but stronger rural communities,” writes Whittaker in the blog post. “Our study findings suggest an encouraging approach for local community and economic development stakeholders to stand alongside home visiting programs in supporting positive maternal and child health outcomes community-wide.”

American Society of Hematology Awards Sriram Krishnaswamy, PhD, with Ernest Beutler Prize

A warm congratulations goes out to Sriram Krishnaswamy, PhD, a researcher at CHOP and professor of Pediatrics Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. The American Society of Hematology honored Dr. Krishnaswamy with their 2019 Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize. Dr. Krishnaswamy received the award for his basic science research contributions to the understanding and treatment of blood clots. Every year, the two-part award recognizes one basic science honoree and one clinical science or translational research honoree, with the two individuals presenting a lecture together. Dr. Krishnaswamy received the Beutler Prize alongside Jeffrey Weitz, MD, of Canada’s McMaster University. 

“The novel anticoagulants we have access to today for blood disorders and many other conditions began with key insights made in a laboratory, and there is a clear translational path from the laboratory to the bedside,” Dr. Krishnaswamy said. “I am deeply honored to be recognized for this prestigious award and to share this lecture with Dr. Jeff Weitz.”

Drs. Krishnaswamy and Weitz will present their lecture on the bench-to-bedside development of novel anticoagulants for the treatment of venous thromboembolism at the 61st ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition to be held in December.

Study on Underreported Child Abuse in Army Families Featured on

Doug Strane, MPH, a research project manager at PolicyLab, is quoted in a article on updated findings about underreported child abuse and neglect in U.S. Army families. Strane confirmed that new data bolstered findings from a previous study that found only one-fifth of diagnosed child maltreatment cases in active-duty Army families resulted in a substantiated report to the service's Family Advocacy Program (FAP). That report examined medically diagnosed cases of maltreatment among the dependent children of active-duty soldiers. 

"These findings raise serious concerns for underreporting of child maltreatment to the Army Family Advocacy Program," Strane stated in the article. He added that underreporting puts children at risk and can "falsely reassure military leadership of maltreatment risk among Army service members' families."

In the last few years, Strane and fellow PolicyLab researchers have taken an active lead in identifying opportunities to address child abuse and neglect in the military, with their research work featured in mainstream media outlets such as the Huffington Post

Learn more about PolicyLab’s research into underreported maltreatment in U.S. military families.


Catch up on our headlines from our last edition of In the News:

  • Would You Let Your Child Ride Alone in a Self-Driving Vehicle?
  • Mother-Infant Dyad Could be Key to Perinatal Care
  • Private Sector Working Families Turn to Medicaid, CHIP for Dependent Coverage
  • Two Rare Pediatric Bone Diseases May Be Treated With Same Drug
  • Tools Aid Doctors’ Efforts in Helping Cancer Patients Quit Tobacco 
  • Collaborative Pediatric Brain Tumor Pilot Study Releases Proteomic Dataset

That’s it for this briefing! Keep up with our news, stories, and updates in real time by following us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Or subscribe to our newsletter to get an email sent every other Friday by signing up here.