Child Health Research

Goal: to improve child health and well-being through research by:

  • Establishing a network of research collaborations in child health across Signature Programs, School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing
  • Increasing the number of faculty proposing, applying for, and conducting research in child health
  • Establishing a series of structured events that showcase and support child health research
  • Supporting collaborative investigations in child health research by funding pilot projects
  • Increasing the utilization of evidence-based practices in child health programs
  • Establishing a programmatic structure that facilitates achievement of these objectives

Specific Aims

  • Focus and integrate areas of excellence in child health research by:
    • Linking with and promoting the utilization of the UNM HSC Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) resources and expertise;
    • Working closely with the UNM HSC research Strategic Planning Committee, the School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and College of Nursing to determine the feasibility of and resources available for the proposed objectives;
    • Encouraging and supporting faculty, residents, students and professional staff in their efforts to initiate and sustain research in child health;
    • Promoting collaboration across academic departments, Signature Programs and other institutions of higher learning;
    • Assisting investigators to seek both internal and external funding to support child health research;
    • Increasing the number of faculty proposing and/or conducting child health research;
    • Strengthening the existing infrastructure that supports research in child health across the Health Sciences Center;
    • Developing a directory of individuals performing research in child health.
  • Create an environment that proactively encourages and supports critical thinking, as well as integrative and innovative research in child health by:
    • Promoting research mentoring of faculty, residents, students and professional staff;
    • Facilitating high-quality innovative research that embodies state-of-the-art science and is responsive to the needs of children in New Mexico and the nation;
    • Holding structured events showcasing and supporting child health research, thereby increasing awareness of research resources and activities;
    • Supporting the UNM HSC’s commitment of space, time, staff support, and ‘bridge funds’ to promote research success.

Programmatic structure

Leader: The Signature Program in Child Health Research is under the direction of Kristi Watterberg, MD, Professor of Pediatrics. She is responsible for the overall leadership and oversight of the development, organization and administration of the SPCHR. With the support and involvement of the Steering Committee, she works to facilitate interactions between basic, clinical, translational and community researchers specifically as they relate to Child Health; to establish a network of Child Health researchers and other interested parties; to facilitate collaborations with other Signature Research Programs; and to achieve the aims of the Signature Program in Child Health Research.

Steering Committee: This group of individuals from programs throughout the Health Sciences Center meets on a regular basis to guide and direct the development and implementation of the SPCHR activities, to identify assets and needs, to review and fund pilot projects, and to identify issues and future directions for the Program. The steering committee welcomes the participation of interested individuals from all HSC colleges, schools and programs.

Working groups: The SPCHR will join with other interested individuals and collaborative investigators to establish working groups in areas of specific interest, such as neurodevelopment and obesity & diabetes, with the goal of facilitating the development and submission of program level projects and other grant applications.