Special Interest Groups

The Center for Translational Research has a portfolio of special interest groups (SIGs) that are organized as collaborative hubs for defined areas of research focus within the Center. They serve as “catalyst programs” for specific research themes involving a broad range of investigators within the center and from the greater Children's National Research Institute community. The SIGs also generate new research initiatives and connect these to clinical care priorities. Active membership in each of the SIGs ranges from 10 to 25 investigators, with more than 10 disciplines represented.

Behavioral Medicine Research

Leadership: Steven Hardy, Ph.D., and Randi Streisand, Ph.D. 

This long standing SIG brings faculty and staff together from a variety of disciplines (e.g. medicine, nursing, psychology, public health) to learn about current behavioral and community research, brainstorm and problem solve barriers to research, and generate collaborative research submissions. Topics covered include adherence and adjustment to medical illness, screening for behavioral/mental health concerns in pediatric clinics, medical decision-making, transition to adult medical care and promoting behavior change.


LeadershipMichele Mietus-Snyder, M.D

This SIG is deploying an interdisciplinary approach to one of society’s most pressing problems — the disordered energy regulation of insulin resistance and obesity that disproportionately burden youth at a socioeconomic disadvantage. Their efforts are targeted at the child in both the family and community context, with the overarching aims of developing more sensitive diagnostic biomarkers of risk and more effective lifestyle, pharmacologic, and when necessary, surgical interventions to optimize metabolism and health.

Inter-Professional Education

Leadership: Priti Bhansali, M.D., M.Ed. and Heather Walsh, M.S.N., R.N., PCNS-BC, CHSE, CPN

The goal of the Inter-Professional Education SIG is to facilitate interdisciplinary and inter-professional partnerships among educators at Children's National Hospital. The focus is collaboration around best practices in health professions education, including professional development and discussion of opportunities around inter-professional research in health professionals education.

Global Health

Leadership: Natella Rakhmanina, M.D., AAHIVS, Ph.D.

This SIG addresses issues related to major health challenges to the health and well-being of mothers, infants, children and adolescents around the world. Bi-annually, SIG supports a two-day Global Health workshop to teach, train and ensure faculty, fellows and residents are knowledgeable about global health issues.

Health Disparities

Leadership: Erin Sadler, Psy.D. and Anita Krishnan, M.D.

The goal of the Child Health Disparities SIG is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration among child health disparities researchers in the DC-Baltimore region and improve the quality and scope of research relevant to health disparities. Specific goals include the following:

  • Facilitating regular meetings with members of the community who are conducting or interested in pediatric health disparities research to share ideas (proposed, ongoing or completed projects) and obtain feedback
  • Hosting/promoting annual events (such as grand rounds) that showcase pediatric health disparities research
  • Fostering mentorships and collaborations among pediatric health disparities researchers that may lead to the development of project ideas, grant proposals, presentations and publications

Palliative and End of Life Care and Research

Leadership: Pamela Hinds, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN, and Shana Jacobs, M.D.

This SIG, comprised of members from diverse disciplines and settings in 10 states, collaborate in writing publications, submitting grants and addressing policy and clinical care issues. The SIG purposefully includes clinicians, researchers and administrators to facilitate addressing pressing clinical and administrative issues in pediatric palliative and end-of-life care and research. 

Social Determinants of Health

Leadership: Tamara Gayle, M.D., M.Ed., F.A.A.P. 

The goal of our SIG is to address public health by instituting hospital wide screening for Social Determinants of Health during each unique clinic visit and inpatient admission, to research and therefore evaluate how addressing known contributing factors to children's health can effect their clinical outcomes. We hope to recruit hospital wide representatives that include physicians, nurses, social workers, case managers, etc. from both inpatient and outpatient entities and gauge their understand of social determinants of health and how screening might affect their patients. The hope is to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing social determinant of health screening in a large tertiary care hospital system while researching and sharing the steps along the way to achieve this goal.