At Meeting with University Hospital Leadership, Brown Calls for Continued Support of Pediatric Research and Graduate Medical Education

Despite Children Making Up 20 Percent of U.S. Population, Just 5 Percent of NIH’s Research is Dedicated to Pediatric Research; National Pediatric Research Network Act Expands NIH’s Investments into Pediatric Research, Including Rare Diseases

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At a meeting today with representatives from three Ohio children’s hospitals—including Char Fowler and Heidi Gartland of University Hospital Rainbow Babies—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) continued his support for critical funding in the areas of children’s hospital graduate medical education and pediatric research. Earlier this year, Brown reintroduced his bi-partisan National Pediatric Research Network Act aimed at strengthening pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“Ohio is fortunate to have top-tier hospitals like UH Rainbow Babies,” Brown said. “But pediatric research institutions and pediatric researchers face real financial challenges that threaten their important work. That’s why I introduced the National Pediatric Research Network Act, to improve and increase investments into pediatric research—especially research on pediatric rare diseases.”

Although children make up about 20 percent of the entire U.S. population, NIH dedicates only about 5 percent of its annual extramural research budget to pediatric research. If this rate of investment is not expanded, discoveries of new treatments and therapies for some of the most devastating childhood diseases and conditions will be hindered, and the next generation of researchers will be less likely to enter the field of pediatrics. The National Pediatric Research Network Act would work to reverse the current situation by strengthening and expanding NIH's investments into pediatric research.  This expanded investment will help accelerate new discoveries and directly impact the health and well-being of children throughout the country. 

In April, Brown led 25 Senators in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-Health and Human Services-Education urging the committee to provide Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) funding support necessary to maintain the gains made under the program over the last decade. CHGME helps cover training and residents’ salaries for those who treat pediatric populations. 

Brown has led the fight in Congress to expand research into pediatric illnesses and their treatments, and has worked to increase funding to train medical professionals that treat children. While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Brown authored the Children’s Hospitals Education and Research Act of 1998, which first proposed the CHGME program. In March 2011, Brown led 19 other senators in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) urging him to preserve the funding. In May 2011, he led 15 senators in urging Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary Wakefield to allocate ample funding for Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program in the 2011 operating budget. Ohio is home to seven institutions that depend on more than $30 million annually in CHGME funds. Brown is also the author of the Creating Hope Act, which works to spur private-sector innovation aimed at treating rare and neglected pediatric diseases.