Organizers and award recipients from the 2018 Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting describe talks that left a lasting impression.
The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting, held this year May 5–8 in Toronto, Canada brings together the American Pediatric Society (APS), the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR), the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for four days of presentations, meetings, and inspiration for pediatricians. This year, PLOS Medicine asked several organizers and award recipients from the conference to relay their lasting impressions. The physicians quoted below vary by specialty, region within the United States, career stage, and by their specific passion for practice, research, or leadership. Nonetheless, each quote underscores the breadth of commitment and responsibility—for access to care, treatments and cures, the social fabric, and even the climate—that pediatricians assume when they speak about these vulnerable, cherished patients.
“PAS 2018 delivered inspiring cardiology content. The opening session included a mesmerizing story of human will, told by Dr. Roberto Canessa, who survived a horrific plane crash and then dedicated his life to Pediatric Cardiology. Platform sessions on myocardial disease and neonatal cardiology were well attended and informative. The power of scientific collaboration was demonstrated by PIs from the NHLBI Bench to Bassinet Program. New synergistic discoveries and publicly available data sets from the Pediatric Heart Network, Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium and Cardiovascular Development Consortium were highlighted. Many of these resources are available to new investigators to further the treatment of patients with congenital heart disease.”
Jamie L Lohr, MD served on the PAS Program Committee as a representative of the SPR. She is an Associate Professor of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiology at the University of Minnesota.
“With PAS 2018, the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology celebrated its 50th anniversary. The speakers wove historical context into nearly every session. We honored pioneers, such as Dr. Russell Chesney, and reflected on the dramatically improved quality and duration of life among children with kidney disease, notably due to advances in pediatric dialysis technologies and improvement in pediatric transplant access and outcomes. Highlights included a personal story of home hemodialysis from a teenage patient and her mother, novel biomarkers in urinary tract infections, and new formulas to predict when a child will need a transplant or dialysis.”
Sandra Amaral, MD, MHS was the ASPN Program Chair for PAS 2018. She is an attending physician in the Division of Nephrology and medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Among the highlights of the PAS meeting was the Academic Pediatric Association’s George Armstrong lecture Awardee presentation by Dr. Sue Bennett from the University of Ottawa. In 30 minutes, she was able to synthesize medical, developmental, climate and planetary science—and the principles of human rights—into a framework for our work as pediatricians. She reminded us of the power of our voice and our duties as advocates for children. Her presentation was absolutely inspiring and relevant to the entire spectrum of child health including clinical care, education, research, advocacy and public policy. Dr. Bennett, like many other PAS presenters, challenged us to think in innovative ways about improving the health and wellbeing of children.”
Elisa A. Zenni, MD was an Organizing Committee member and the PAS Workshop Coordinator for PAS 2018. She is the Associate Dean for Educational Affairs and Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.
“The Pediatric Academic Societies meeting is an annual highlight for pediatric endocrinologists. The Pediatric Endocrine Society Presidential Plenary was one of the last pediatric endocrine sessions of the meeting and left a lasting impression. I was both inspired and humbled by the Presidential address of the outgoing PES President Dr. Mary Min-Chin Lee on Monday, May 7th. She presented data on how PES is doing as a society and the distribution of pediatric endocrinologists across the country. It is amazing to see how women physicians have transformed the face of pediatric endocrinology in the US. However, the data on how large areas of our country do not have access to pediatric endocrinology care was eye-opening.”
Shylaja Srinivasan, MD, was awarded a PES Clinical Scholar Award at PAS. She is a Pediatric endocrinologist in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco.
“PAS 2018 was a strong meeting for neonatologists and lung biologists. Particularly striking for me was an Abstract presented as a platform presentation from Dr. Shu Wu, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics from the University of Miami, who demonstrated a role for circulating exosomes in mediating the effects of hyperoxia. Her group transferred circulating exosomes from newborn rats exposed to 14 days of hyperoxia to unexposed newborn rats and showed many of the effects of hyperoxia exposure including slow growth, increase in proinflammatory cytokines in the lung and brain, and decreased pulmonary vascular density. This was important because we have always believed that the effects of hyperoxia exposure are systemic. Now, we have a new mechanism to explore in understanding how these effects cause problems in organs other than the lung.”
Rita M. Ryan, MD served on the Program Committee for PAS 2018. She is a Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology) at the Medical University of South Carolina.
“The breadth of the scientific work presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting was impressive. I was particularly encouraged to see many presentations focused on addressing the complex subject of the opioid crisis. This crisis involves more than just individuals. It involves families. It affects the life course. From caring for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome to tackling the challenges of prevention and treatment among adolescents to ensuring pregnant women with opioid use disorder have access to medication-assisted therapy, we can only address the crisis through the collaborative efforts of many. The academics, researchers, clinical care providers, government entities and community practitioners presenting in Toronto gave me hope that we can confront this public health challenge together.”
Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH, FAAP was awarded the William A. Silverman Award at PAS. She is the Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Director of the Division of Reproductive Health, at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.
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