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Children's Hospital Colorado Launches Colorado Child Health Research Institute

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AURORA
Posted at 1:52 PM, Jun 19, 2024

AURORA, Colo. — Today, Children's Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado) in partnership with University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz Medical Campus) announced the launch of the Colorado Child Health Research Institute, which creates a unique culture of research partnership to improve the lives of children everywhere.

The campus-wide research partnership enables more than 500 physician scientists, PhDs, nurse scientists and other investigators to collaborate across disciplines to make research discoveries that will have a broad impact on human health from childhood to adulthood. The Colorado Child Health Research Institute will continue to enhance administrative and operational efficiencies for investigators so they can focus on science, with the goal of more rapid translation of discoveries to patients and families. The institute also offers access to the most advanced clinical care through more than 1,100 clinical research studies and trials.

"Medical advances happen faster here because we've broken down silos and embraced an intentional culture of multi-disciplinary collaboration and teamwork, which enables discovery to thrive," said Ronald J. Sokol, MD, FAASLD, inaugural Chief Scientific Officer of Child Health at Children's Colorado and the Bruce and Bev Wagner Family Endowed Chair for Child Health Research.

The Colorado Child Health Research Institute brings together experts, peers and colleagues from Children's Colorado and six health professional schools at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus: School of Medicine, College of Nursing, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, the Colorado School of Public Health and the Graduate School.

"Our differentiator is our partnership. We collaborate with all of the University of Colorado schools and colleges as well as the adult hospital system, building a community of researchers for child health in Colorado," said Dr. Sokol. "Treating kids can prevent disease as adults; many diseases in adults actually have their origins in childhood. Today, kids with previously life-limiting conditions can become healthy adults because of our breakthrough treatments and cures. From researching conditions in-utero to understanding maternal health to following pediatric conditions into adulthood, our research grows with our patients."

"A dedicated institute for pediatric health research bolsters our shared commitment to bringing the latest and best to patients across the lifespan, and to delivering hope and healing to all those we serve," said CU Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Donald M. Elliman. "Through this partnership, we advance vital research with life-changing impact for the patients and families under our care."

The institute serves as an administrative, scientific and operational home for child health research, supporting infrastructure for research at Children's Colorado and across the medical campus. It has eight major functions: Research strategy and administration, research operations administration, research education, regulatory affairs, research business services, internal grant awards, clinical research contracting and research informatics and data science. The Colorado Child Health Research Institute will work with research teams from dozens of specialties, programs and centers on campus, touching all aspects of child health.

"Children's Colorado and our partners on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus are in the top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded pediatric research institutions nationally. With more than 50 years of partnership and collaboration and the generosity of visionary donors who fund research, we can advance child health to an even greater level," said Jena Hausmann, CEO and President of Children's Colorado and the Cille B. and Ronald W. Williams Endowed Chair in Executive Leadership. "Together, we train, nurture and challenge the next generation of child health researchers and leaders to advance treatments that could become the standard of care in the future. Research as part of our mission and culture allows us to treat every child we serve and transform pediatric medicine around the world."

An example of work already accomplished includes brain tumor research. With the largest group of pediatric physician scientists in North America focused on childhood brain tumors, Children's Colorado created an international registry of data and tissue samples for collaboration with leading scientists around the world to identify how tumors develop and what new therapies can be developed to treat them.

Another example includes cystic fibrosis (CF) research. Experts on campus were selected by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to lead clinical trials of treatments targeting the abnormal protein pathways of CF and have proved the safety and effectiveness of new drugs now available to a range of patients, from adolescents to infants with CF. Dedicated researchers on the medical campus have helped move CF from a fatal childhood disease to a condition managed into adulthood.

"We continue to advance lifesaving research and translate our discoveries to the bedside today to ensure innovative treatments tomorrow," said Jenae Neiman, VP of Research Operations at Children's Colorado. "Caring for patients is much more than managing their symptoms – it's working to establish innovative, personalized care that incorporates the latest research findings. Our partnerships across the campus on behalf of child health research accelerate our capabilities to benefit our patients and their families."

"Despite the incredible promise of child health research, we recognize that federal funding for physician-scientists' work is scarcer than ever," said Bruce Wagner, Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation Trustee. "That's why our family has made philanthropic investments in research. Pediatric research is too important to be delayed by insufficient funding. Philanthropy fills funding gaps and propels research that leads to groundbreaking discoveries."

To learn more about funding opportunities for research, visit Research and Innovation - Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation.
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