Delaware Health Sciences Alliance partners with Christiana Care in global research for women’s and children’s health

Delaware Health Sciences Alliance partners with Christiana Care in global research for women’s and children’s health

Based on a research partnership between Christiana Care Health System and a major academic health center in India, the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance has agreed to collaborate in their research and education efforts to advance maternal and child health worldwide.

Christiana Care’s partnership with the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) of KLE Medical University of Belgaum, India, is one of seven research units of the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Principal investigator is Richard J. Derman, M.D., MPH, the Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Christiana Care. The senior foreign Indian investigator is B.F. Kodkany, M.D.  Since it began in 2001, the unit has received more than $10 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

“This partnership with the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance will advance research and education to reduce major risks to maternal, neonatal, infant and early childhood health around the world,” Dr. Derman said. “The causes of death and illness in women and babies in India are the same in the U.S and the developed world. The difference is that the numbers are greater in India.”

“The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance is a powerful platform to accelerate interdisciplinary and translational research and education,” said Kathy Matt, Ph.D., executive director of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance and dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Delaware. ”By partnering with our colleagues in India, the member institutions of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance can participate in projects that impact the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease in women and children globally.”

“The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance’s participation with Christiana Care and JNMC will strengthen the research infrastructure, increase the capacity for women’s and children’s health research and expand scientific knowledge for the benefit of communities locally and globally,” said Omar Khan, M.D., associate director of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance and associate vice chair in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at Christiana Care. “It also is a perfect fit with our increasing global health interests across the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance.”

“Our collaboration with the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance will provide my colleagues in India with opportunities to undertake community-based research across a large population base and explore new areas of disease,” said Shivaprasad S. Goudar, M.D., MHPE, research coordinator at JNMC of KLE University.

“Areas of clinical research collaboration among DHSA partners could include cancer, obesity, nutrition, infant brain development, neonatal abstinence and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy,” Dr. Derman said.

“The new partnership will also help develop an educational curriculum in global health and assist developing countries to create a format for the ethical evaluation of research studies,” Dr. Kodkany said.

Since 2001, the Global Network has supported clinical trials in resource-limited countries by pairing foreign and U.S. investigators, with the goal of evaluating low-cost, sustainable projects to improve maternal and child health and simultaneously build local research capacity and infrastructure. These activities help local research activities continue that will ultimately lead to improved health care systems and improved health.

The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance will participate in the goals of the Christiana Care-JNMC of KLE University research unit, which include:

  • To provide for continued growth and development of the research unit that oversees the women’s and children’s health research program based in JNMC in Belgaum, India, and to ensure sustainability of the research infrastructure at JNMC, integrated within the larger KLE University and surrounding districts.
  • To strengthen the Global Network and its role in international collaborative research by participating in research projects that address the major causes of death and illness in women and young children in the developing world.
  • To identify and address gaps in maternal and child research and, working with other Global Network participants, to implement and evaluate promising health interventions, formative and translational studies, and to disseminate findings.

As principal investigator, Dr. Derman has worked with JNMC of KLE Medical University on numerous research studies and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles since 2001, more than any other research unit in the NIH Global Network. The first project on postpartum bleeding led the World Health Organization to declare a new standard of care. Dr. Derman has written extensively on the topic, most recently in the November 2012 edition of The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in Britain. In July 2013, Dr. Derman and Dr. Khan co-authored an editorial on maternal survival worldwide, published in BMC Public Health.

NIH initiated the Global Network in 2001 as a public-private partnership between the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Center for Research for Mothers and Children and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provides scientific oversight for the Global Network and all of its activities.

The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance was established in 2009 with four founding partners: Christiana Care Health System, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Delaware.