Thomas M. Badger, PhD, is first recipient of The Dr. Robert H. Fiser, Jr. Research Achievement Award. The award was presented by Dr. Richard Jacobs at the annual Ruth Olive Beall Service Awards banquet on April 25, 2013. The award was created to honor the accomplishments of an ACHRI research scientist who has distinguished himself or herself through extraordinary scientific research that will have lasting impact on the health, development, and well-being of children and their families.
In a few short years, he was successful in facilitating the completion of the first task. In 1990 the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Center was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation exclusively to support ACH research. He was named the first president and led the institute for the next nine years.
Dr. Badger has devoted most of his career to understanding the role of nutritional status and dietary factors on development, growth, and metabolism. Leading a multidisciplinary team of scientists, he uses a translational research approach, which moves between studies of genes, cells, animals, pregnant women, and their children.
To date, under his leadership the ACNC has been awarded $122 million. Among many studies currently underway, the Center is conducting the largest, most comprehensive longitudinal study of children from age 3 months through 6 years which aims to reveal effects of early nutrition on child development.
Cool Research Receives Hot Reception
To provide the VR distraction for the participating adolescents receiving burn wound care, Dr. Jeffs used SnowWorld, a three-dimensional computer-generated, interactive computer program developed specifically for burn patients. As the patients explore SnowWorld using a VR viewer and computer mouse, they chase snowmen and have an occasional snowball fight. Dr. Jeffs examined whether the SnowWorld excursions decreased pain intensity and if it was more effective than other distractions or standard care. The study is one of the few randomized controlled studies to examine the effectiveness of non-pharmacological strategies in ameliorating the burn treatment pain for pediatric patients.
Despite more pre-procedure pain, the VR group reported less pain during wound care than either passive distraction (watching a DVD) or standard care. The VR group was the only group to have a decrease in pain perception from pre-procedure pain reported to procedural pain reported. Adolescents pre-treated with opiate analgesics and female adolescents reported more pain during wound care. Her study extends evidence supporting VR as effective in lessening burn wound care pain to the adolescent population.
Dr. Jeffs presented her results in a podium presentation, “Effect of Virtual Reality on Adolescent Pain During Burn Wound Care,” at the American Burn Association (ABA) Annual Meeting in April. Her presentation was the first abstract accepted for podium presentation at the ABA annual meeting from the Burn Center at ACH. Her presentation was well received, including praise from Dr. Daniel Peterson of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Washington. Dr. Peterson and his colleague Dr. Hunter Hoffman pioneered the use of VR for burn wound care and are the creators of SnowWorld. Their VR studies often focus on the treatment of burns received by military personnel. Dr. Peterson praised the rigorousness of Dr. Jeffs’ study and was impressed by her undertaking for the benefit of pediatric patients.
Dr. Jeffs and her research team are currently completing minor revisions to a manuscript to be published in the Journal of Burn Care and Research. This pilot study has also provided preliminary data for a future study testing the effect of tailoring non-pharmacologic interventions including VR during burn wound care. Dr. Jeffs has contacted other burn treatment centers to secure sites for a multisite study she will propose later this year as part of a grant application to the National Institute of Nursing Research at NIH.
Dr. Jeffs’ study received support from the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute/Arkansas Biosciences Institute competitive grant program and the Burn Center at ACH.ACHRI Hosts Successful AAALAC Site Visit
Since 2001, ACHRI has been accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs. To maintain AAALAC accreditation, ACHRI undergoes a comprehensive, extensive evaluation of laboratory animal care and use in our biomedical pediatric research program every three years.
AAALAC conducted its most recent site visit to ACHRI on May 9 to review our institutional support, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the management of animal research, and the management of animal care and husbandry. In the exit briefing, the site visitors expressed that ACHRI will be recommended for continued full AAALAC accreditation. This recommendation will be confirmed by the AAALAC Council on Accreditation in September at AAALAC’s annual board meeting.
More than 880 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 37 countries have earned AAALAC accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to responsible animal care and use. These institutions volunteer to participate in AAALAC's program, in addition to complying with the local, state, and federal laws that regulate animal research.
Congratulations Blake Harrison, director of animal operations, and his team for the hard work and commitment to ensure responsible animal care and use that resulted in another successful site visit.
ACHRI would like to know about your published findings. As your articles are published, please email or mail a copy to Phaedra Yount (mail slot 842). The number of publications by our researchers is reported to the hospital and ACHRI boards, so it is important that we receive an accurate count of the publications your research produces.
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