By Allison Lea
The Society for Pediatric Research (SPR) is known for its advocacy of pediatric research and its support of young investigators and future pediatric scientists. Through the Pediatric Policy Council, which serves as a collective voice for several pediatric societies, SPR brought academic pediatricians to Capitol Hill in May to urge members of Congress to support gun violence prevention research and to reverse sequestration cuts to critical programs affecting children. The Society has also recently established a program that connects successful investigators with young pediatric facility members to create a mentoring relationship and provide networking opportunities.
Joining in 2012, SPR is one of FASEB’s newest member societies. However, the Society itself has been an active scientific organization for nearly nine decades. With over 3,200 members and 276 fellows worldwide, SPR aims to promote the research and career development of investigators engaged in advancing the health and well-being of children and youth. To achieve its mission, SPR co-hosts an annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) that provides an international forum for investigators to share their original research and its application to clinical pediatrics with physicians, medical universities, and affiliate societies and committees.
The most recent PAS meeting was held in May in Washington, DC, with a record attendance of over 8,000 participants. The four-day symposium covered a broad range of topics related to child health, such as the risk factors for socio‐emotional development in urban children; childhood hypertension and neurocognition; and training for sustainable clinical and research programs in global child health. PAS is currently accepting submissions for science proposals for its 2014 meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The deadline for these submissions is June 28.
Last fall, SPR partnered with several pediatric organizations in an effort to understand factors that will influence the future of the pediatric workforce. This was accomplished through four working groups charged with identifying the trends, forces, issues, threats, and opportunities in the areas of (1) child health research and training; (2) diversity and inclusion; (3) gender and generations; and (4) pediatric training along the continuum. These working groups will convene with key stakeholders at a Visioning Summit on September 22 and 23, 2013 in Crystal City, VA, to further develop potential scenarios that may arise in pediatrics over the next 10 to 15 years.
SPR’s current President, David A. Ingram, MD, is Section Director of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, and Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Ingram also directs the National Cancer Institute-funded Angiogenesis and Endothelial Progenitor Cell Core at the Indiana University Cancer Center. His current research interests involve understanding how errors in the development of stem cells into human blood cells can lead to blood disorders and leukemias.
SPR is represented on FASEB’s Board of Directors by John Schreiber, MD, MPH, who is the David and Leona Karp Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston. In addition, Dr. Schreiber also serves as Chief Administrative Officer of the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, which is a 100 bed primary affiliate children’s hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine.
Leona Cuttler, MD, serves as the SPR representative for FASEB’s Science Policy Committee. Dr. Cuttler is Director of the Center for Child Health and Policy and Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She is also Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
For more information on upcoming activities at SPR or about membership opportunities, visit its website at: https://www.aps-spr.org/home.asp.