Academic Pediatrics November Issue Features Stories by Several RWJF Alumni

Scholars' articles address new research on childhood obesity, chronic conditions, the length of intern shifts and more.

    • December 6, 2010

Seven alumni of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital programs contributed articles to the most recent issue of Academic Pediatrics, covering topics ranging from teaching teamwork skills in medical school to the effect of mothers’ use of medicine that can harm developing fetuses. To read an abstract of each article, use the "table of contents" above.

Angelo P. Giardino, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program (1990-1992), and colleagues report on their recent research examining how pediatric residents at in-patient facilities regard community-based general pediatricians. They found that residents tend to express neutral or somewhat negative views of their general pediatric community counterparts, and call for explicit teamwork training designed to encourage cooperation and better attitudes across the pediatrics specialty.

John M. Leventhal, M.D., an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program (1976-1978), and colleagues report on their recent research on the impact of Utah’s efforts to warn new mothers about the dangers of infant shaking. Many states have created such programs, the authors report, but few have been evaluated for effectiveness. The authors conducted a statistical analysis of data from a trauma center and from a medical examiner’s office, seeking to determine whether the state’s educational video on infant shaking has had an impact. They conclude that while small reductions in abusive head trauma were associated with the video, the differences were not statistically significant, casting doubt on the effectiveness of the program.

William O. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., an alumnus of the RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars (1999 –2003) program, and colleagues report on their recent research into the use by pregnant women in developing countries of medicine that can harm developing fetuses. Their research focused on Haiti where, the authors write, “the combination of unregulated acquisition of medications and cultural practices result[s] in unique patterns of off-label use and may lead to exposures that potentially place developing fetuses at risk.” The study found an elevated use among new mothers of drugs that could cause harm to the fetus, by comparison to other studies from North America and Europe. Many of the new mothers in the study reported that they had used such drugs to induce an abortion, unsuccessfully.

Two alumni of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program—Anisha I. Patel, M.D., M.S.P.H., (2006-2009) and Michael D. Cabana, M.D., M.P.H., (1997-1999)— join several colleagues in reporting on their recent research into rates of diagnosis, counseling and laboratory testing for pediatric obesity. They conclude that rates for all three were “suboptimal,” and urged that future efforts should be focused on diagnosis “as a first step toward improving pediatric obesity management.”

James W. Stout, M.D., M.P.H., an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program (1989-1991), tested a method of identifying children with lifelong chronic conditions, with an eye toward eventually improving the coordination of care such children receive. Specifically, the research evaluated a risk-adjustment method developed by 3M Health Information Systems and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions. Their “Clinical Risk Groups” (CRG) method uses data, usually medical claims data, to assign patients a specific risk category, based on their specific chronic conditions. In the study, researchers merged the CRG data with hospital discharge data, and concluded that the method was effective at identifying children with lifelong chronic conditions, allowing providers to better coordinate their care.

Jerry Rushton, M.D., an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program (1997-1999), joins fellow members of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors in an article expressing concerns about recent proposals for new shift-length requirements for interns, and embracing further study and analysis of the issue with the goal of identifying unforeseen consequences.