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May 1, 2013

The Transformation of Child Health Research: Innovation, Market Failure, and the Public Good

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Stoll); and Department of Pediatrics (Drs Stevenson and Wise), Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California.

JAMA. 2013;309(17):1779-1780. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3257

Despite a remarkable record of accomplishments, the pediatric research community faces mounting evidence that the nature and scope of current research are inadequate. The Editorial “Challenges to Excellence in Child Health Research,” by Zylke et al,1 casts this paradox in sharp relief by summarizing a series of articles suggesting that the quality and number of pediatric research studies lag behind research focused on adults. For measurable and sustainable gains in child health, pediatric research should be informed by the changing epidemiology of childhood illness, the need to monitor both survival and long-term outcomes, and the increasing recognition of pediatric origins of adult chronic disease and social determinants of health. Recent advances in genetics, imaging, and bioinformatics provide new venues for productive research. Moreover, the status of children in society must be elevated and the political will necessary to provide adequate financial support for research enhanced.