Research Horizons


Pediatric Policy Council Calls for Action to Support Life Course Research

photo of Tina Cheng, MD, MPH

A growing body of research demonstrates that many diseases and chronic health conditions can be traced back to developmental origins. In addition, evidence indicates that some traumatic events that impact a person’s health can be passed on to the next generation.

New findings further describing how preterm birth can have lifelong consequences serve as examples that show why expanded support for maternal and child health research is critical to life course health, according to a policy call for action from the Pediatric Policy Council published Feb. 21, 2022, in the journal Pediatric Research.

Tina Cheng, MD, MPH, Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati, Director of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation, and Chief Medical Officer for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, served as lead author for the article.

“While it is often stated that children are not simply ‘little adults,’ these studies strongly suggest that to prevent disease in childhood and adulthood, research on mechanisms and early antecedents requires prioritizing pediatric research,” Cheng and colleagues state.

The article urges further funding and policy implementation in three areas:

  • Adopting the PACT Act (Pediatricians Accelerate Childhood Therapies) to support early-career pediatric physician scientists
  • Funding the CARES Act, which would reauthorize the Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment Program
  • Continued implementation of recent National Institutes of Health policies that require children to be included in medical research, unless certain exceptions apply.

Co-authors on the article were Conrad Cole, MD, MPH, MSc, Cincinnati Children’s; Carolyn Russo, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and David Williams, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital.

The Pediatric Policy Council (PPC), active since 1984, reflects the combined legislative advocacy efforts of the Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, the American Pediatric Society and the Society for Pediatric Research.

Cheng sits on the council as a representative of the AMSPDC (Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs).

More publications co-authored by Dr. Cheng

Infant mortality, poverty and reproductive justice

Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms among Assault-injured Youth: Parallel Process Models Addressing Comorbidity

Publication Information
Original title: Advocacy for research starting early in the life course
Published in: Pediatric Research
Publish date: Feb. 21, 2022
Read the Article