Milestone in the Mile-High City

Posted on Jun 02, 2022

Assistant professor John Morrison, M.D., and trainees at the conference.
Assistant professor John Morrison, M.D., and trainees at the conference. Front row: Reka Gupta M.D., McKenna Murphy, M.D., Madhuri Prasad, M.D.; Back row: Dr. Morrison, Maddie Mier, M.D., Priya Patel, M.D., and Liz Masotti, M.D. (Photo from April 2022)

A record number of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital faculty and trainees presented at the 2022 National Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting held in April in Denver. This prestigious annual conference brings together pediatric health care organizations that are leaders in advancing pediatric research and child advocacy.

The Johns Hopkins All Children’s trainees and faculty who attended the conference highlighted the growing scope of pediatric clinical research being done in St. Petersburg, Florida, with 14 presenting author poster presentations, 18 contributing author poster presentations and six scientific presentations from the podium.

Second-year pediatric resident Elizabeth (Liz) Masotti, M.D., had the honor of a podium presentation of her abstract on the retrospective analysis of using left ventricular ejection fraction as a predictive measure in optimizing the match of a donor heart to a pediatric heart transplant patient.

As a first-year resident, Masotti was accepted into the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Clinical and Translational Research Training Track (CTRT) – a yearlong research program that includes structured lessons in research methods and design, development and execution of an original research project, quarterly presentations and one-on-one mentorship. Early on, she learned that transplant cardiologist Alfred Asante-Korang, M.D., was looking for a resident to pursue this research question. She had been considering cardiac intensive care as one of the pediatric subspecialties she wished to explore, and she took advantage of this opportunity.

By her second year of residency, Masotti found that her heart was actually with the tiny infants of the Level IV neonatal intensive care unit and their families. She began aiming for a neonatology fellowship. The PAS conference was a great place to learn more about that journey.

“Beyond the exhilaration of presenting my research in front of the audience, I loved the opportunity to network and meet so many other fellows, program directors and neonatologists in my field of interest,” Masotti says. She attended workshops on topics that included a neonatal gastrointestinal forum and a non-invasive ventilation simulation.

“All Children’s had a phenomenal presence at this year’s PAS conference,” notes Raquel Hernandez, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics and director of the Center for Pediatric Health Equity Research at Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “The posters and presentations reflected work across multiple institutes and departments. It speaks to the incredible productivity and perseverance of our trainees, faculty and staff to complete these research efforts, even with the challenges of COVID-19 in the background. It was particularly exciting to see our current residents and fellows thrive in this setting and meet up with some of our graduates, all presenting their work in an international forum with leaders and experts from many pediatric specialties.”

Hernandez’s two presentations spotlighted issues central to her work. She described the hospital’s Healthy Weight Initiative, sharing some of the program’s clinical and research efforts that address pediatric obesity. At a workshop she co-led on Health Equity Integration, she explained how Johns Hopkins All Children’s is applying this concept through its LEAD curriculum (Leadership Executive Academic Development) for residents, engaging them in the critically important concept of promoting health for all children. 

Now in her final year of a fellowship in pediatric hospital medicine, Madeline (Maddie) Mier, M.D., observed that health disparities and social factors play a role in a patient’s continued recovery after discharge from the hospital. The research project she presented focused on the importance of considering whether a patient may have an unmet social need and the benefit of having inpatient providers discuss this concern with the outpatient providers who will continue the child’s care. She was mentored in her project by Hernandez and John Morrison, M.D., Ph.D.

The contributing authors who were a vital part of the research presented at PAS include current faculty who trained as residents and/or fellows at Johns Hopkins All Children’s. Morrison, also a mentor to Masotti, did his residency and fellowship at the hospital and then joined the pediatric hospitalist program faculty. “His enthusiasm for research has had a big influence on me, and I can't thank him enough for the support he has shown me throughout the steps of our project,” Masotti says. 

Morrison is now assistant professor of pediatrics and co-director of the research training track, which is part of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Center for Clinical/Translational Research Training, Education, Engagement and Mentorship.

“Engaging trainees in research and scholarship is vital to our journey to becoming a leading academic children’s hospital,” he notes. “As a mentor, it is fun to see their interest in research grow as they complete their projects and disseminate their findings across the nation. Johns Hopkins All Children’s has done a phenomenal job in supporting the trainee research efforts with programs such as the CTRT.”

The Johns Hopkins All Children’s contingent at PAS also had the opportunity to meet with Hopkins colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics in Baltimore and attend one another’s presentations. Hernandez and Morrison agree that this cross-campus connectivity led to new awareness of opportunities to improve children’s health through collaborative research.

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