We have made great efforts to try to foster careers in pediatric trauma and pediatric trauma research. One of the reasons that there is inadequate research in this field is inadequate funding for it.
We have been fortunate enough to identify several people who were interested in furthering their career by studying pediatric trauma, and who were at a real crossroads in their life in terms of where to go. They were headed down the path that would be more likely to be funded, or down a path where their heart or passion was leading them but they weren’t able to find funding. We were able to find a few of these talented individuals and provide funding for a year of their research, which allowed them time to deepen their commitment to pediatric trauma. Dr.Laura Veach, Dr. Alison Gardner and Dr. Andrea Doud are just a few that instantly come to mind.
Some of those people have been interested in researching child abuse, the determining factors and ways to create a scale for prevalence toward abuse to cut down on repeat visits to the emergency room for children. With what would be considered modest funding in the terms of what big scientific studies cost nowadays and compared to the development and the R&D costs of what drug development have been, the funding spent has been a miniscule thing. In terms of turning someone’s career toward the specialty of pediatric trauma, it’s been a big opportunity.
As we have heard and seen, it turns out that violence, to some extent, teaches violence. People who are likely to abuse children are much more likely to have been abused as a child. If we can find ways to break that cycle, it is likely that we will be able to reduce the burden of injury and death to children from abuse.
Trauma is not the number one cause of death in children under 1 year old. For that particular age group, it’s a couple of other things. Among those very young children who die of trauma in the under 1 age group, the most common cause is child abuse. We see it in the news almost every day, unfortunately.
Just last night I saw a story about twin toddlers that were locked in a closet by their mother for days until they were found starving and covered in their own mess. We constantly hear these stories but are we missing a chance to make that child’s situation different? We have the opportunity to fund a variety of research for very little money that can change not only the life of one child, but the life of passionate researchers who will then dedicate their lives to saving hundreds of children through their work.
Sometimes people do not understand the value of research, but please know that it is making a difference. It is changing your life and you may not even know it yet.
When a child is lost it is a tragic loss of life. You are losing an entire lifetime of a life and all that life’s potential and worldly impact. The wealth of opportunity that goes with that varies all the way through our society. Imagine all the people that are affected by their death, and how many more could be touched by saving their life instead. We can…we need to break that cycle.
Wayne Meredith, M.D., Executive Director, Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma
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