Andrew Barnes

University pediatric researcher awarded role in new multi-site, multidisciplinary child health research program

Department of Pediatrics Assistant Professor Andrew Barnes, MD, MPH, will represent the University of Minnesota’s CTSI as part of a new multi-site, multidisciplinary effort within the Clinical and Translational Science Award network to accelerate child health research across the 64-institution CTSA hub sites.

The Child Health Research Acceleration thru Multi-site Planning (CHAMP) program includes 15 institutions categorized into three pods of five institutions each. Each pod is awarded up to $50,000 to help in the initial team-building and design that advances a novel, high-impact child health topic.

The University’s pod also includes researchers from the University of Florida, University of Texas Medical Branch, Georgetown University, and a researcher from the University of Southern California may also be included at a future date. This pod will focus on developing an evidence-based screening process for adverse childhood experiences that could ultimately be used by healthcare communities.

“Exposure to adverse childhood experiences like parental divorce, physical or sexual abuse, or food insecurity have been strongly associated with a host of negative outcomes, including childhood and adult behavioral disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer,” says Dr. Barnes. “We aim to lay the groundwork to reducing the impact of ACEs on lifelong morbidity and mortality.”

Dr. Barnes, who has expertise in screening children exposed to toxic stress, and his colleagues will link data from the respective institutions’ currently used screening systems to existing electronic health record data, use natural language processing and other techniques to identify commonalities that help clarify which ACEs, in what combinations, and at which stages of developmental stages predict significant outcomes.

“This is a unique opportunity to be part of a multi-site, multidisciplinary collaboration among talented child health researchers across the CTSA networks,” said Mark R. Schleiss, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, CTSI's Child Health Champion, and the University’s liaison for the program. “This program serves CTSI’s broader goal of translating science into discoveries that lead to improved human health.”

The CHAMP program is led by the University of California Irvine Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, which is part of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) CTSA program. NCATS is one of 27 National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes and centers, and funds the University of Minnesota’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) through its CTSA program.