Research Horizons


Researcher Recognition, June 2024

Congratulations to these Cincinnati Children’s scientists who have recently been recognized in their fields of expertise. 

Theresa Alenghat Named Margaret K. Hostetter Endowed Chair
Theresa Alenghat, VMD, PhD, professor, Immunobiology, was selected as the new Margaret K. Hostetter Endowed Chair, which recognizes female faculty who have developed and sustained outstanding research careers. The award, given every three years, is named in honor of Margaret “Peggy” Hostetter, MD, whose nationally recognized career embodies research excellence and advocacy for the advancement of women in academic medicine. Hostetter was the first woman to serve as Cincinnati Children’s physician-in-chief, director of the Research Foundation, and chair of Pediatrics, from 2014 to 2020.

Kara Ayers Elected President of the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council
Kara Ayers, PhD, associate director, UC Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and associate professor, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, was elected president of the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council (Ohio SILC). According to their website, “The Ohio SILC’s is responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of the State Plan for Independent Living, a three-year strategic plan for Ohio to work towards goals of greater access, inclusion and independence.”

Andrew Beck Receives Academic Pediatric Association Research Award- Mid-Career
The Academic Pediatric Association Research Award- Mid-Career recognizes an individual who, through his/her/their research, the investigator has epitomized the mission of the APA and contributed significantly to the general health of children in such areas as understanding mechanisms of health and disease, methods of education, and innovative ways of providing children’s services, especially in the setting of vulnerable populations. Recipient Andrew Beck, MD, MPH, is director of Population Health Research & Innovation at HealthVine as well as faculty co-lead in the Fisher Center and an attending physician.

Tina Cheng Honored by Modern Healthcare, Becker’s Hospital Review
Tina Cheng, MD, MPH, B.K. Rachford Chair of Pediatrics, chief medical officer at Cincinnati Children’s and director of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation, was recently named one of America’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives by the trade publication Modern Healthcare. The Modern Healthcare program honors licensed clinicians in executive roles who are deemed by their peers and the publication’s senior editors to be paving the way to better health through their executive responsibility, leadership qualities, innovation, community service and achievements inside and outside of their respective organizations. Read more.

Cheng also was recognized in April by Becker’s Hospital Review among 180 “exceptional chief medical officers in health care.” The article says Cheng “greatly contributed to Cincinnati Children’s clinical outcomes and culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, which in part led to the hospital being named the No. 1 Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report in 2023.” Read more.

Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation Endowed Scholars: Laura Walkup and John Erickson
Laura Walkup, PhD, and John Erickson, MD, PhD, were named 2024 Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation Endowed Scholars. This program was designed to recognize and accelerate the success of assistant and associate professors who are emerging leaders as demonstrated by their scientific contributions and their impact. The program focuses on current rising stars to provide additional support that will allow creative extension of existing work, or taking on new projects, to enhance ongoing extramural funding and overall productivity. Walkup is an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, and Erickson is an assistant professor in the Divisions of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology.

Clinical Research Professionals Publish Two Abstracts in Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
A team of clinical research professionals recently had two abstracts published in the April issue of Journal of Clinical and Translational Science. Authors include Holly Flake, Andrea Meisman, Erin Fontaine, Farrah Jackson, Bradford McClain, Erin Kingsley and Angela Mendell. Background on how the group came into existence is covered in “History of Clinical Research Professionals at Cincinnati Children’s,” and “Modernizing Onboarding for Clinical Research Professionals: An Interactive and Adoptable Approach” describes how they identified and addressed gaps in onboarding material to better meet researcher needs across the institution. These abstracts were featured at the Association for Clinical and Translational Science 2024 Conference.

Clinical Research Professionals: Outstanding CRPs Carson Caldwell, Megan Quinlan-Waters and Devan Vaughn
Megan Quinlan-Waters, Carson Caldwell and Devan Vaughn received Outstanding Clinical Research Professional (CRP) Awards for their important contributions to the health system. A CRP is anyone who works in clinical research and can come from a variety of disciplines and settings across the institution, such as clinical research coordinators, research nurses, research assistants, regulatory affairs specialists, project managers, data managers, and principal investigators.
Read more.

Lori Crosby Named President Elect of Society of Pediatric Psychology
Lori Crosby, PsyD, was named the president elect of the Society of Pediatric Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association that seeks to actively promote the health and psychological well-being of all children, youth and families. Crosby is the co-director of Innovations in Community Research, a psychologist and professor in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology. She is also the director of the CCTST Community Engagement Core and DEI co-director in the Office of Academic Affairs in Career Development.

Lara Danziger-Isakov Receives Two American Society of Transplantation Awards
Lara Danziger-Isakov, MD, MPH, interim director of Infectious Diseases and director of Immunocompromised Host Infectious Disease, received two awards from the American Society of Transplantation (AST) at its annual meeting. She received the AST Physician of Distinction Award, which recognizes outstanding transplant physicians whose careers are focused on clinical care, and the 2024 Dr. Robert Rubin Infectious Disease Community of Practice Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field.

Every Child Succeeds Chosen to Launch Family Connects Program in Hamilton County
Eleven counties in Ohio have been selected to receive a universal nurse home visiting program, Family Connects. Every Child Succeeds (ECS), Cincinnati Children’s program that partners with families to strengthen their at-home environment, support parental mental health, and promote child development from prenatal stages to age 3, was chosen as one of five programs to implement Phase I of this programming in 10 zip codes in Hamilton County.

As part of Family Connects, all families with newborns who are not already enrolled in ECS’ Nurse Family Partnership Program will receive a nurse home visit around three weeks after they bring their baby home. During these visits, nurses will check in on the physical and emotional health of moms and their babies and address any questions or concerns that may need clinical attention while also providing referrals to critical community resources.

Maria Fields Receives American Liver Foundation Liver Scholar Research Award
Maria Fields, PhD, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, was one of three researchers to receive the Liver Scholar Award. This award will fund early career scientists working in basic and translational liver disease research. Fields will receive $225,000 in funding over three years for her research.
Read more.

Aria Fiat Co-Authors New Student Wellbeing Book
Aria Fiat, PhD, pediatric psychologist, Integrated Behavioral Health Program, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, has co-authored a 232-page book for education leaders, titled The Recipe for Student Well-Being. She and her co-authors, Brian Smith, PhD, and Clayton Cook, PhD, detail the five essential ingredients for ensuring all students succeed academically, socially, and behaviorally. This practical guide covers how different factors integrate to comprehensively meet students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs as enablers of academic success.
Learn more.

Robert Frenck Receives AAHRPP 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award
Robert Frenck, MD, director, Vaccine Research Center, executive chair, Institutional Review Board, and professor, was named the recipient of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs’ (AAHRPP) 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award. He was chosen, as the organization says, “for his many dedicated years of service to AAHRPP as a Site Visitor, Team Leader, and Council member. Bob Frenck embodies the spirit of AAHRPP’s mission and is a deeply valued and highly respected AAHRPP ambassador.” Frenck received his award at the AAHRPP annual conference in May.

Courtney Gilliam Receives APA Emerging Leader: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 2024 Award
Courtney Gilliam, MD, attending physician, Hospital Medicine, and assistant professor, received the Academic Pediatric Association’s (APA) Emerging Leader: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award for 2024. This award recognizes early-career individuals who are developing expertise in DEI-related activities in one or more academic domains, and has established at minimum a local impact.
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Innovation Awards Honor More than 50 in 2024
Innovation is at the heart of our mission to improve outcomes for our patients and families. In April, the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation and Innovation Ventures took recognizing innovators to a whole new level during the annual Innovation Awards. More than 50 innovators were honored throughout the ceremony.
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Jessica Kahn Receives Outstanding Achievement in Adolescent Health and Medicine Award
Jessica Kahn, MD, MPH, received the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine Outstanding Achievement in Adolescent Health and Medicine Award. The award honors individuals who have made a lifelong commitment to the health and wellbeing of adolescents, who have exhibited leadership in the field, made significant contributions to the advancement of the field, or has inspired others through their work, research, education or leadership. Kahn is the associate chair of Academic Affairs and Career Development and co-director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training.

Nikki Kamos Named Director of Office for Clinical and Translational Research
Nikki Kamos, MSN, RN, has been selected as the new director of the Office for Clinical and Translational Research (OCTR). In her new position, she will be responsible for the overall operations of the OCTR, including a portfolio of more than 200 clinical trials across the regulatory, marketing and clinical trial support teams. Kamos earned her master’s degree in Nursing, Nurse Executive, from Purdue University Northwest, and her bachelor’s degree in Nursing with a minor in Psychology from Purdue University. She first joined Cincinnati Children’s in 2008 as a clinical nurse before making the transition to clinical research. Kamos has worked in the OCTR for 11 years, and has been the clinical research manager overseeing the clinical trial support team for the past five.

Jennifer Kaplan Named UC College of Medicine Distinguished Alumni
Jennifer Kaplan, MD, director of Clinical Research, Division of Critical Care Medicine, was one of four alumni honored earlier this month during University of Cincinnati’s Reunion Weekend for her distinguished career. Kaplan was selected as one of the College of Medicine’s 2024 Distinguished Alumni.
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Jareen Meinzen-Derr Receives ACTS Team Science Award
Jareen Meinzen-Derr, PhD, MPH, co-director for the Center for Clinical & Translational Science & Training, co-director for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and a professor in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and the UC Department of Otolaryngology, received the Association for Clinical and Translational Sciences 2024 Team Science Award. The award was established to acknowledge and catalyze the growing importance of interdisciplinary teams to the translation of research discoveries into clinical applications and widespread clinical practice.
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Carlie Myers Selected as Health Affairs Journal Health Equity Fellow
Carlie Myers, MD, MS, has been selected as one of eight Health Affairs Journal 2024 Cohort of Health Equity for Trainees. These early-career researchers will be working with experienced Health Affairs authors and editorial staff for the next 18 months as they prepare manuscripts to be published in Health Affairs or another journal.
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National Academy of Medicine’s Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Forum Features Hitesh Deshmukh, Amy Shah and Sonya Tang Girdwood
Hitesh Deshmukh, MD, PhD, Amy Sanghavi Shah, MD, MS, and Sonya Tang Girdwood, MD, PhD, were selected for the 2024 National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine (RLHM) Forum in April, in Washington, DC. The exclusive, invitation-only forum is a key gathering of the ELHM Program, which aims to increase the NAM’s engagement with exceptional, interdisciplinary early- to mid-career professionals working in biomedical science, population health, health care, health policy, and related fields. The ELHM Program facilitates opportunities for mentorship, collaboration, and innovation between emerging leaders, NAM members, and experts across sectors. 
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Ohio Technology Validation Start-up Fund Awardees: Wanda Baker, Carina Braeutigam, Robyn McArthur
Innovators from the Integrative Care team Wanda Baker, DNP, RN, Carina Braeutigam, MD, and Robyn McArthur, BSN, RN, received an Ohio Technology Validation Start-Up Fund Award for their development of a child-safe, direct inhalation device that combines diaphragmatic breathing with high-quality essential oils for clinical aromatherapy. This device has demonstrated efficacy through successful pilots with pediatric immunocompromised and gastroenterology patients, providing an evidence-informed, therapeutic approach for symptom relief as a complementary treatment. The group is now focused on refining the device through prototype development and external manufacturing to make this aromatherapy solution available to a wider range of patient populations within and beyond Cincinnati Children’s.

Nicole Pek Wins UC Three Minute Thesis Competition
Nicole Pek, a doctoral student in the Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program, won the University of Cincinnati Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition last winter. The 3MT competition challenges students to summarize their research or scholarship for a non-specialist audience using only three minutes of speech and one PowerPoint slide. Pek’s research focused on using complex stem cell-based organoid models to examine lung development and disease. She went on to compete in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools regional 3MT competition in April.

Dan Schumacher Receives Association of Pediatric Program Directors Award, Co-Edits Academic Medicine Supplement, Guests on Podcast
Dan Schumacher, MD, PhD, was named the 2024 recipient of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors’ (APPD) Walter W. Tunnessen, Jr. MD Award for the Advancement of Pediatric Resident Education. This award is given annually and honors a member who has shown extraordinary or innovative contributions to pediatric graduate medical education at the national level. Schumacher is a professor and director of the Education Research Unit in the division of Emergency Medicine. Read more.

Schumacher also was a recent featured guest on the Academic Medicine Podcast from the Association of American Medical Colleges in the episode, “Putting Learners in the Driver’s Seat for the Next Era of Assessment and Precision Education.” Additionally, he served as co-editor of a special supplement on precision education and assessment in the April 2024 issue of Academic Medicine.

Leanne Tamm Receives Inaugural MBHI BAM Health Award
The Mental and Behavioral Health Institute (MBHI) has awarded its first research grant under the new Behavioral and Mental (BAM) Health funding mechanism to Leanne Tamm, PhD, a pediatric research psychologist and professor in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology and co-director of the Center for ADHD. Tamm’s project, “Regulating Together for Emotionally Dysregulated Children with ADHD,” adapts an outpatient group therapy developed to target emotion dysregulation in autistic children for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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Sarat Thikkurissy Co-Edits Dental Safety Book
The world of pediatric dentistry now has a safety resource for dentists who perform physical exams before the sedation and treatment of their patients. Sarat Thikkurissy, DDS, MS, Robert Creedon Endowed Chair, Division of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, and professor,co-edited a book, History and Physical for the Pediatric Dental Patient: Establishing a Systematic Approach for Procedural Sedation (Springer), that will serve as a quick reference. Each chapter of the book was written by a different physician or physician team and is dedicated to a single area of the physical exam. Several chapters were written by physicians from Cincinnati Children’s, such as Eniolami Dosunmu, MD, pediatric ophthalmologist and associate professor; Daniel Choo, MD, division director of Pediatric Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery; Sherief Mansi, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist and assistant professor; and Ajay Kaul, MD, director, Neurogastroenterology and Motility Disorders Center.
Read more.

Elaine Urbina Wins a 2024 World Hypertension League Excellence Award
Elaine Urbina, MD, MS, director, Preventive Cardiology, research integrity officer and faculty conflict of interest officer, was named the recipient of the World Hypertension League 2024 Claude Lenfant Excellence Award in Population Hypertension Control Through Educational Activities and Guideline Implementation. This award goes to an individual who has written or implemented hypertension guidelines at a national or international level.
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David Vitale Receives National Pancreas Foundation Award
The National Pancreas Foundation recently presented David Vitale, MD, with the 2024 Ohio Courage for a Cure Rising Star Award. Vitale is director, Interventional Endoscopy Center and Pancreas Care Center, and pediatric gastroenterologist, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. This award recognizes the outstanding achievements and dedication of a rising star in the field of pancreatic research and treatment, and celebrates the contributions of a doctor who has demonstrated promise, innovation, and compassion in their work to advance the understanding and management of pancreatic disease.




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