Transition Plan for a Leading Nation
Childhood forms the foundation of lifelong health. By answering crucial questions about the childhood antecedents of the costly diseases of adulthood, we can improve treatment, better prevent illness, and increase the health of the population across the lifespan. Biomedical research is key to unlocking a deeper understanding of child health and development through basic science research while improving child health through the development of innovative drug therapies and immunizations. The administration must prioritize policies to improve pediatric research and bolster the pediatric research pipeline.
Strengthen the implementation of policies aimed at ensuring children are included in federally funded research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) December 2017 Inclusion Across the Lifespan policy was an important step toward ensuring that children benefit from important scientific advances. Moving forward, the ability to regularly monitor the enrollment of children in NIH-funded studies will be central to making sure children are being meaningfully included in federally funded research. The administration must publicly report such data on a regular basis using developmentally appropriate age groupings and actively address barriers that are preventing specific populations from being included in research studies.
Coordinate pediatric research across the NIH. As the primary funder of biomedical research in the United States, the NIH plays a critical role in driving advancement in pediatric research. Because pediatric research is conducted at a variety of institutes and centers across NIH, appropriate coordination is paramount. The administration should continue and elevate the Trans-NIH Pediatric Research Consortium (N-PeRC) to ensure that the needs of children are being included in research across the agency.
Prioritize research to reduce health disparities. Racism is a core determinant of child health, and failure to address it will continue to undermine efforts to achieve health equity for all children. The administration must make the funding and dissemination of rigorous research that examines a wide range of research pertaining to health inequities, including research into the impact of perceived and observed experiences of discrimination on child and family health outcomes, a top priority to reduce health disparities.
Support the next generation of pediatric researchers. Funding new and emerging scientists is absolutely essential to ensure that important scientific advances will continue in the future. Physician-scientists have unique financial and institutional challenges that deserve special attention from the NIH in order to maintain the long-term viability of these researchers who have contributed so much to the medical field. The federal government must support a concerted effort to invest in training the next generation of pediatric researchers.
Complete an accurate 2020 Census. The decennial Census plays an important role in longitudinal research studies. It is critical that the federal government support the completion of an accurate Census by conducting necessary data validation and analysis activities prior to finalizing 2020 Census data and support congressional action to extend the statutory reporting deadlines for Census data.
American Academy of Pediatrics