University of Southern California

$5M DHHS Grant to Childrens Hospital Will Spur ISI Research on Pediatric Emergency Response

October 5, 2007

Childrens Hospital's Dr. Jeffrey S. Upperman, who has long collaborated with ISI's Robert Neches on designs for next- generation pediatric emergency response systems, has just received a $5 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to develop such a system.

The $5 million grant awarded to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles will be used for pediatric disaster preparedness plans and strategies for including children and pediatric- related issues in drills and training activities, regional strategy, and planning for evacuation and reunification, according to Upperman, M.D., FACS, FAAP, project director and director of the Trauma Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and associate professor of pediatric surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

"We will focus on developing pediatric disaster preparedness strategies including evacuation and reunification plans, telecommunication education strategies and planning, including telemedicine robots, pediatric disaster drill training and assessment in Los Angeles County, as well as hospital disaster plan preparation and a multi- center disaster response training exercise planning tools," Dr. Upperman said.


Dr. Upperman has been collaborating for years on use of advanced software systems for pediatric emergency response strategy, training and execution with Robert Neches, Ph.D., (left) division director of the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute, part of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Drs. Upperman and Neches anticipate that continued, intensified Children/ISI collaboration on what they call an "adaptive planning paradigm" will be one result of the new grant.

The pair began collaborating last year on the paradigm, using internal USC funding, working on the belief that in the confusion following a large earthquake or other major disaster, the lives of children will depend on ways to get the latest, best information about resources and needs into the hands of decision makers, quickly, accurately, and flexibly, in a form that enables them to make the right moves.

"Adaptive planning breaks down the barriers between preparation and execution; it eliminates the dual problems of creating plans that are not followed and following plans that don't fit," explains Neches. "The key is the ability to speedily gather and assess information from a huge variety of sources, including real time sensors, and to package and disseminate results so plans can be executed - or changed."

In addition to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the other HHS grant recipients include Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indianapolis; Rhode Island Hospital, Providence; the University of California, Davis; and Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is designated as a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center by the Los Angeles County EMS Agency, and it is one of only a dozen Level I Pediatric Trauma Centers in America accredited by the American College of Surgeons.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America's premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (below) one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.