The Pediatric Emergency Research Network (PERN): A decade of global research cooperation in paediatric emergency care

Terry P. Klassen*, Stuart R. Dalziel, Franz E. Babl, Javier Benito, Silvia Bressan, James Chamberlain, Todd P. Chang, Stephen B. Freedman, Guillermo Kohn Loncarica, Mark D. Lyttle, Santiago Mintegi, Rakesh D. Mistry, Lise E. Nigrovic, Rianne Oostenbrink, Amy C. Plint, Pedro Rino, Damian Roland, Greg Van de Mosselaer, Nathan Kuppermann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives: The Pediatric Emergency Research Network (PERN) was launched in 2009 with the intent for existing national and regional research networks in paediatric emergency care to organise globally for the conduct of collaborative research across networks. Methods: PERN has grown from five to eight member networks over the past decade. With an executive committee comprising representatives from all member networks, PERN plays a supportive and collaborative rather than governing role. The full impact of PERN's facilitation of international collaborative research, although somewhat difficult to quantify empirically, can be measured indirectly by the observed growth of the field, the nature of the increasingly challenging research questions now being addressed and the collective capacity to generate and implement new knowledge in treating acutely ill and injured children. Results: Beginning as a pandemic response studying H1N1 influenza risk factors in children, PERN research has progressed to multiple observational studies and ongoing global randomised controlled trials (RCTs). As a recent example, PERN has developed sufficient network infrastructure to enable the rapid initiation of a prospective observational study in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: Following its success with developing global research, the PERN goal now is to promote the implementation of scientific advances into everyday clinical practice by: (i) expanding the capacity for global RCTs; (ii) deepening the focus on implementation science; (iii) increasing attention to healthcare disparities; and (iv) expanding PERN's reach into resource-restricted regions. Through these actions, PERN aims to meet the needs of acutely ill and injured children throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-910
Number of pages11
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Observational studies also continue to benefit from PERN infrastructure and collaboration. An ongoing large‐scale (~2600 participants) prospective cohort study of community‐acquired pneumonia (CAP) will result in an accurate, objective model of prognosis in paediatric CAP from a global cohort, from which adequate numbers with severe disease will ensure precision and generalisability to a worldwide population. While the COVID‐19 pandemic has reduced CAP presentations internationally, the network's established CAP infrastructure, with both research ethics and data sharing in place, has allowed a nimble response to the current global health crisis, with the rapid mobilisation of a prospective cohort study to collect data on SARS‐CoV‐2‐positive and ‐negative patients presenting to PERN study sites. A second ongoing observational study is examining household transmission among asymptomatic SARS‐CoV‐2‐infected children. The relative speed with which these two studies were launched compared to the retrospective study during the previous (H1N1) pandemic over a decade ago is a testament to the level of global infrastructure and efficiency that PERN has developed over time. In contrast to the first (H1N1) PERN study, which was unfunded, these two SARS‐CoV‐2 PERN studies have secured over CDN$1 million (US$790 000) in research funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and separate grant funding from the United States. Notwithstanding the generalisability of findings, a unique advantage of PERN's collaboration in observational studies is the ability to achieve adequate numbers of severe outcomes for frequent presentations (H1N1, bronchiolitis, CAP), or adequate numbers of infrequent presentations (intussusception). A summary of ongoing and published PERN research (also highlighted on PERN's website, ) can be found in Table 2 . 28 6

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc/John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.


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