Tag: public health

November 2016 Writing for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

I wrote the following articles published in November 2016 by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute:

Linking Patients and Data, Medicine and Science: CAVATICA Data Analysis Platform Launches

Untangling Attention Difficulties in Autism

Smart Robotic Toy Gym Could Identify Early Signs of Babies’ Developmental Delay

Cellular Energy Flaws Studied as Contributor to Schizophrenia

A ‘Critical Mass’ of Mitochondrial Disease Research Accelerates Treatment Quest

CHOP Research In the News: Body and Mind, Stayin’ Alive, ADHD Guidelines, Innovation Leadership

Q&A: How Pediatricians Can Help Suburban Families in Poverty

CHOP Research In the News: From Good Starts to Young Adult Transitions

CHOP Honors Superhuman Abilities of Clinical Research Coordinators

August 2016 Writing for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

I wrote the following stories published in August 2016 by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute except as otherwise indicated:

How Reformed ‘Mean Girls’ Can Help Their Classmates

Competing in ‘Olympics’ Helped Teens Retain CPR Skills

Children May Be Overtreated for Joint Pain Resulting from Infection

Positive Parenting Program Improves Bad Behavior in Preschool-Age Children

Childhood Cancer Advocates Find Strength in Numbers

Laws Limiting School Junk Food Sales and Ads Show Potential to Impact Obesity

“We’re Just Laughing About Poop”: A Clinical Research Study Experience Q&A

This article was written by our intern, Elyse Siravo, under my editorial guidance. I helped develop the concept for this Q&A as part of an initiative to improve clinical research recruitment. I sought and identified the interviewees, helped Elyse shape the questions, sat in on the interview, took the photo, and substantially edited Elyse’s written draft of the Q&A and its introduction in multiple stages.

CHOP Research In the News: Policies Protecting Children and a Portal for Parents and Teachers

Safety, Thinking, Partnerships, Motherhood: Six Key Quotes from a Physician Scientist on a Mission

Behavioral Health Prevention Efforts Prepare Kids to Learn in School

CHOP Research In the News: Allergies and Asthma, Arthritis, and Immunology of Inflammation

April 2016 Writing for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

I wrote the following articles published by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute in April 2016:

Restoring Balance in the Brain After Concussion

CHOP Oncologist Appointed to Blue Ribbon Panel for National Cancer Moonshot

Teaching a Computer to See Like a Dermatologist

Study Maps Early Connectivity Networks in Newborn Babies’ Brains

CHOP Research In the News: Transgender Youth, Vaccines, and Sleep

In Bench to Bedside: Finding Research Success in Setbacks

Growing Into Healthy Relationships: A Teen Dating Violence Q&A

CHOP Research In the News: Genetic Superheroes, Excess Bone, and Secondhand Smoke

Coordinating Research with 80 Million Participants: A PCORnet Q&A

Hakon Hakonarson Honored for Excellence in Research Mentoring

CHOP Research In the News: Plastic Bronchitis, Baby BMI, Voice at the Vatican

How Children’s Hospitals Can Gain Social Awareness Via ACOs

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog.

I composed this original article based on an interview with the investigator.


Five-year-old Jasmine’s family hears from her pediatrician’s office a lot more often than they used to, and they discuss topics ranging far beyond Jasmine’s health and development. That is because Jasmine (a fictional example) sees a doctor in a health network that has a different kind of contract with her insurance provider, designating it as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), and as a result it takes a broader view of its role in preventive care than most.

Health policy experts anticipate that ACOs will improve population health under the Affordable Care Act, but demonstrating the value of pediatric ACOs remains a challenge. Policy researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are among those leading a public conversation about how pediatric hospitals and health systems can address social factors affecting health within ACO structures, now that some of the first research on the effect of pediatric ACOs on the use and costs of healthcare resources has begun to emerge.

Going Back to the Future of Obesity and Osteoporosis

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog.

I composed this original article based on an interview with the investigator.


In medicine, prevention costs a lot less than a time machine. Fifty to 60 years in the future, many of today’s healthy children and teens will develop later-onset chronic conditions including heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. But some of the factors that put them at risk are already beginning now. Prevention of these chronic diseases during childhood may be far more effective than treating them later in adulthood, particularly if we can predict today who will benefit most from these preventive efforts in the future.

This childhood prevention of adult disease is the pursuit of Jonathan Mitchell, PhD, an instructor of Pediatrics in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Mitchell was recently awarded a training grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health for a study of connections between sleep and obesity risk in teenagers as they transition from middle school to high school. Obese teens tend to become obese adults who face increased risk for heart disease and cancers, so there could be a major long-term public health benefit in understanding how sleep patterns, physical activity-related factors, and genetic factors influence obesity in early adolescence.

“I want to address the question of whether or not short sleep duration leads to the development of adolescent obesity, but we know that other factors, such as physical activity and genetics are also important,” Dr. Mitchell said.

Educational Intervention Decreases Mean Girls’ Relational Aggression

Originally published in Bench to Bedside, the CHOP Research monthly publication

I edited this article based in part on a CHOP press release and in part on a blog post published by the investigator.


The “Mean Girls” phenomenon is not just the subject of fiction. Relational aggression, such as using gossip and social exclusion to harm others, is all too common among preadolescent and adolescent girls. A new study from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia suggests that educational interventions including problem-solving skills and leadership opportunities can help, with lasting effects.

“As a psychologist and researcher with a particular interest in bullying, I am always interested in digging deeper into the ‘why,’” wrote Stephen Leff, PhD, in a blog post about the study, which he led. “Why is relational aggression — which involves the manipulation of social standing or reputations through gossip and social exclusion — so predominant among girls? Why is it associated with detrimental long-term outcomes for victims such as high levels of anxiety and depression? And, beyond the ‘why,’ how can we develop and test interventions that can combat this pervasive type of school violence, before it has a chance to become entrenched?”

The study, published in the journal Psychology of Violence, provides a partial answer to that last question.

Teens Receive Inconsistent Emergency Care After Sexual Assault

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog

I composed this original article based on an interview with the investigator.


About 10 percent of high school girls and half as many high school boys report that they have been sexually assaulted in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys. But when these young victims come to pediatric emergency rooms,, they are not consistently getting recommended tests and treatment, according to new research from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Our study was remarkable in that there was so much variation in the care adolescents received after sexual assault,” said Samantha Schilling, MD, MSHP, an assistant clinical professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is first author of the study, conducted when she was a fellow at CHOP and at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania (LDI). “While overall performance wasn’t ideal, there were also wide ranges in testing and treatment for infections and pregnancy.”

Driving Safety Research Gets Traction as Business Venture

Originally published in two versions, on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog, and in Bench to Bedside, the CHOP Research monthly publication

I composed these original articles based on interviews with the investigators.


If you do not expect pediatric research to have anything to do with improving the bottom line of a parcel delivery service or cable company, then the story of Diagnostic Driving may surprise you.

Diagnostic Driving, a startup company spun out from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, has spent the past several months accelerating from an idea based on teen driver safety research into a thoroughly researched, successfully piloted business model for improving the safety of corporate automotive fleets. At the end of October, Venk Kandadai, MPH, co-founder of the company, traveled across the country presenting Diagnostic Driving’s success to date and seeking investments so the company can continue its growth.

The company’s journey is an illustration of what a growing number of CHOP-generated ideas may experience soon under the guidance of the new Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

To trace this company’s road from research to the startup world, let’s hit reverse and see where it began.

HealthCare.Gov Upgrades Are Just What This Doctor Ordered

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog

I composed this original blog post based on an interview with the investigator and aggregation of related published material.


When the third round of open enrollment begins on the federal health insurance marketplace Nov. 1, shoppers will see some major changes. These changes might be just what the doctor ordered — if the doctor you are talking to is Charlene Wong, MD, MSHP, a health policy researcher and adolescent medicine fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Wong and colleagues have studied how young adults experience the use of the federal site, HealthCare.gov, and state-based exchanges. Access to health care in this age group is critical for the success of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as for setting young adults up for healthy lives with regular preventive care services.

Universal Autism Screening in Young Children Under Question

Originally published on Cornerstone, the CHOP Research Blog

I wrote the introduction and edited the body of this article based on a Q&A published by Medscape.


Many parents and clinicians are in a bind between conflicting recommendations about autism. Newly issued recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTSF) suggest that current evidence is not strong enough to justify universal screening for the condition in young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics takes an opposite stance and supports such screenings— typically a structured parental survey and short interview about a child’s behavior — for toddlers at 18 and 24 months of age.

How are autism experts weighing in about this conflict? Two experts from the Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, David Mandell, ScD, the center’s associate director, and Juhi Pandey, PhD, a pediatric neuropsychologist, participated in a Medscape Q&A to answer many key questions. In their in-depth conversation with the publication, Dr. Mandell and Dr. Pandey discussed the role of early autism screening compared to comprehensive clinical evaluation, as well as the value of early intervention for children who show signs of developmental delay on a screening.