PHOENIX [May 25, 2023] – Phoenix Children’s, one of the nation’s fastest-growing pediatric healthcare systems, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, today announced the creation of The Phoenix Children’s Research Institute at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, a collaboration that will allow clinicians to accelerate research efforts.
“This institute formalizes a longstanding research collaboration between Phoenix Children’s and the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix,” said Robert L. Meyer, President and CEO of Phoenix Children’s. “Top priorities for the institute include recruiting additional investigators, bolstering an environment of scientific discovery, and ultimately increasing bench-to-bedside treatments for our patients.”
Vlad Kalinichenko, MD, PhD will serve as director for the Phoenix Children’s Research Institute at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, and professor of Child Health with tenure. Internationally renowned for his research in lung development and regeneration, Dr. Kalinichenko is principal investigator on three R01 NIH-funded research grants and co-investigator on another three R01 grants totaling more than $13.5 million in lifetime funding. He will work alongside pediatric cancer research luminary Stewart Goldman, MD, senior vice president of research for Phoenix Children’s and chair of the Department of Child Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
“We’re committed to finding as many new cures and improved treatments as possible for children with devastating childhood illnesses,” said Dr. Goldman. “In the near term, we’re focusing on workforce expansion and training the next generation of researchers who will have a profound impact on pediatric patients in Arizona and beyond.”
“We created The Phoenix Children’s Research Institute at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix to become a premier center for scientific discovery and the development of new therapeutics for previously untreatable diseases in children. After an extensive national search, we were fortunate to recruit Dr. Kalinichenko, a world-class physician-scientist, to amplify his scientific discoveries as he builds a pre-eminent research institute,” said Guy Reed, MD, MS, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “We are grateful for the close partnership we have with Phoenix Children’s that has enabled us to launch this institute.”
The formation of the institute comes on the heels of Phoenix Children’s joining a groundbreaking initiative to accelerate the widespread implementation of new research results within the U.S. healthcare community. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) Health Systems Implementation Initiative offers participating systems up to $500,000 in initial funding to plan implementation strategies. A second funding opportunity, up to $5 million per project, will support practical and innovative ways participating health systems can promote uptake of evidence from PCORI-funded research studies.
Recent research milestones from Phoenix Children’s
Phoenix Children’s has a longstanding history of making significant breakthroughs to advance pediatric treatments and cures. Clinicians’ latest research initiatives include efforts devoted to cerebral palsy, vaccine safety, dyslexia and fractures.
Michael Kruer, MD, a pediatric neurologist and director of the Cerebral Palsy and Pediatric Movement Disorders Program at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s, received an RO1 grant totaling more than $3 million to study the genetic causes of cerebral palsy. Identifying a patient’s genetic cause allows clinicians to personalize their treatment. This grant is the latest development in Dr. Kruer’s voluminous body of research dedicated to cerebral palsy.
Arash Sabati, MD, with a team of investigators nationwide, recently published the results of a multicenter study in JAMA Network Open. The study found those with a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), who received a COVID-19 vaccine at least 90 days after diagnosis, reported no serious complications, with no incidence of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or recurrent MIS-C.
A recently initiated study led by Carla C. Allan, PhD, division chief of psychology at Phoenix Children’s, in collaboration with Arizona State University, is helping identify 6-year-old children at risk for dyslexia and provide early intervention options. The assessment will screen for reading and language disorders at a young age, allowing children to benefit from early treatment. The study’s outcomes, which are forthcoming, will provide data to establish guidelines for a new screening tool.
Mohan Belthur, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Phoenix Children’s, was awarded a planning grant from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America. Dr. Belthur and his co-investigators will study the safety and efficacy of various methods for repairing elbow fractures in children.