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revised 05-Feb-2015

About the Network

The Problem

Child getting a check up.Pediatric critical care, or the effective and efficient care of children with critical or unstable conditions, is an important and growing subspecialty in pediatrics. The number of pediatric intensivists, pediatric intensive care units (PICU’s), and pediatric intensive care beds in the United States have increased dramatically in recent years.

However, much of the technology and many therapies in pediatric critical care have evolved without adequate study or have been adopted uncritically from adult, neonatal, or anesthetic practice. Because of this, the risks and benefits of much of intensive care practice remains largely unknown. Research is needed in order to make good decisions regarding effective critical care practices. Yet research in pediatric critical care is difficult as it requires expensive multi-center studies that allow the ability to track many children over time.

The Solution

To meet this challenge, in April 2004 the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) put forth a request for applications (RFA) to establish a collaborative pediatric critical care clinical research network. Six clinical sites and a data-coordinating center were identified through a competitive application process. An RFA for the second funding cycle was published in 2008, and following another competitive application process in 2009, seven clinical sites and a data coordinating center were funded. In 2014, the Division of Extramural Research (DER) of the new Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch (PTCIB) issued a third RFA, and a competitive renewal of the network occurred.  The current network remains funded for seven clinical sites and a data coordinating center.

The goal of the network is to develop an infrastructure to pursue well-designed collaborative clinical trials and meaningful descriptive studies in pediatric critical care medicine. The Network seeks to reduce morbidity and mortality in pediatric critical illness and injury, and to provide a framework for the development of the scientific basis of pediatric critical care practice.