Dr. Robert Sapien
Dr. Robert Sapien is chief of the University of New Mexico's Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

The University of New Mexico's Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and the UNM Emergency Medical Service Consortium will collaborate with multiple sites and investigators to conduct research studies that improve emergency medical care for ill and injured children.

UNM joins the universities of Arizona and Oklahoma in the newly formed Southwest Research Node Center in Tucson, AZ. The research node is one of six within the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network, or PECARN. The alliance will use $2.4 million federal funding to develop and conduct PECARN-approved studies that focus on preventing and reducing child and youth morbidity and mortality.

“New Mexico’s children can benefit greatly from our frontline participation in PECARN studies,” says Dr. Robert Sapien, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at UNM. “We’re excited to be a part of a research effort that can improve the lives of one of our most vulnerable populations – our youth.”

Founded in 2001, PECARN is funded through grants from the Emergency Medical Services for Children, a branch of the Health Resources Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau. It’s the nation’s first federally funded pediatric research network dedicated to the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children, like head and spine injuries, cardiac arrest, uncontrolled seizures, asthma and psychiatric emergencies.

PECARN provides leadership and infrastructure to conduct multicenter research studies, bringing together the large pediatric populations necessary to speed the discovery of answers to important issues affecting children and their families. The Southwest node will develop and test new clinical trials in an emergency medical services environment, train new pediatric emergency clinical research leaders and build on PECARN’s existing robust and innovative clinical trials infrastructure.

With New Mexico’s unique populations and geographies, UNM is poised to contribute significantly to the Southwest Node.