Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN)

The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) is composed of pediatric emergency care providers throughout the United States, including Children’s National, who combined provide care to well over a million acutely ill and injured children each year. 

PECARN is an initiative funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration — the first and only federally funded research network dedicated to pediatric emergency medicine research. 

Our Goal

To conduct meaningful and rigorous multi-institutional research into the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children and youth across the continuum of emergency medicine health care.

Our Commitment to Improve Patient Care and Outcomes 

Children’s National is the largest provider of pediatric care in the District of Columbia, and the regional referral center for pediatric emergencies. Our emergency medicine specialists see tens of thousands of patients annually.

Children’s Division of Emergency Medicine serves as the Chesapeake Applied Research Network for Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) (CARN-EMSC), one of four PECARN Regional Node Centers (RNC). The purpose of the Node Centers is to build a regional research network that serves as a platform for collaborative investigations across the EMSC system. 

As a national research network, PECARN addresses traditional barriers to research, including the need for large and diverse representative study samples, an infrastructure to evaluate prehospital protocols, and a process to transfer research results to the treatment setting.

For more information about the network in your region call us at 301-244-6300 or email us at

Mission Statement 

The CARN-EMSC is dedicated to improving care for ill and injured children. CARN-EMSC performs rigorous research to determine the best strategies to promote health in the preventive, prehospital, hospital, and rehabilitative phases of care. CARN-EMSC collaborates with Emergency Management Services (EMS) agencies and community groups to address local level needs, and coordinates with national researchers to develop widely applicable evaluations.

Goals and Objectives 

Children’s National, serving as the RNC, is working with the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center (JHCC) in Baltimore, Md., serving as the primary Hospital Emergency Department Affiliate (HEDA), to achieve the following: 

Goal 1

Engage a regional network of hospitals, emergency personnel and community and professional advisors in the prioritization of and strategic planning for a consensus-derived clinical research agenda that both ensures alignment with community needs and provides a forum for collaborative and bi-directional exchange of information and ideas:

  • Establish and maintain a Community Advisory Board
  • Establish and maintain a Professional Advisory Board
  • Disseminate knowledge and study results

  • Goal 1 Strategies: Engage the community
    • Community Advisory Board: recruit parents, prehospital providers and community advocates to provide meaningful input regarding community needs and allow feedback to the community regarding the results of evolving best practices
    • Professional Advisory Board: recruit regional experts in clinical research to provide insight into priorities for research and assistance in program evaluation
    • Dissemination of Knowledge: build upon extensive regional educational activities in EMSC to coordinate the dissemination of knowledge regarding rapidly-evolving best practices for optimizing the care of ill and injured children

Goal 2

Develop a regional infrastructure capable of rigorous clinical research in both prehospital and hospital setting:

  • Establish a RNC at Children’s National
  • Establish a primary HEDA at JHCC
  • Engage at least two other HEDAs in year one and three others in year two
  • Engage EMS leaders and providers in our jurisdictions
  • Engage pediatric critical care and trauma specialists

  • Goal 2 Strategies: Develop regional infrastructure
    • Establish a RNC at Children’s National: provide a collaborative infrastructure capable of supporting rigorous, high-quality research, including senior leadership, biostatistics and bioinformatics
    • Establish a primary HEDA at the JHCC: contribute substantively to the inpatient and critical-care components of the continuum of care as the region’s only other designated pediatric trauma center, provide complementary research capabilities, and collaborate by serving other HEDA functions
    • Engage other HEDAs: recruit institutions with diverse patient populations, each serving greater than 10,000 children per year, and each capable of recruiting patients for enrollment in clinical trials
    • Engage EMS: through leadership positions in the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) and Washington, DC Fire, actively involve EMS leaders and providers in these jurisdictions
    • Engage pediatric critical care and trauma specialists: focus on specialists at the RNC and primary HEDA because together they provide care to 100 percent of pediatric trauma patients and greater than 85 percent of critical care patients in the region

Goal 3

Collaborate in a national network of centers to prioritize, plan and conduct clinical research through carefully designed and relevant pilot studies:

  • Contribute collaboratively to the PECARN national network
  • Contribute substantively to the PECARN Steering Committee Method

  • Goal 3 Strategies
    • Collaborate with the national network
    • Contribute collaboratively to the PECARN national network: work with other investigators to achieve consensus and take part in scheduled meetings
    • Contribute substantively to the PECARN Steering Committee: propose significant, innovative, and feasible suggestions for a national research agenda

This highly integrated and collaborative effort focuses on a fluid flow of ideas and knowledge between the RNC, HEDAs, MIEMSS, Washington, DC Fire and EMS, and state and District departments of health. 


Kate Shreve, MPH, Project Coordinator

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