As the new director of CHOP’s Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness (CPCE), Theoklis Zaoutis, MD, MSCE, will do what he enjoys most — create, develop, and build new ideas.
Dr. Zaoutis co-founded the CPCE, a Center of Emphasis within the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. It provides infrastructure for training in and performance of clinical effectiveness research, which is aimed at understanding the best ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases in children.
One of his first priorities as director will be “outreach to increase awareness of the CPCE by developing collaborations and synergies with other researchers,” Dr. Zaoutis said.
He sees tremendous opportunity for population level research to cross over to projects being conducted by bench scientists and translational researchers.
“The link between these two can be phenomenally strong,” Dr. Zaoutis said.
He described the CPCE as an “intellectual home” for clinical researchers. In the same way that scientists learn essential skills at the bench, the CPCE uses a laboratory model to teach junior faculty and other interested clinicians the elements of good clinical research design, implementation, and practices.
“The CPCE has grown tremendously in the six years that it’s been in existence,” said Dr. Zaoutis, who previously served as its associate director of research.
The total grant funding that CPCE has obtained is $71.7 million. A database of funded grants is available for CPCE members to use as examples of effective grant submissions. Another CPCE achievement is the establishment of the Healthcare Analytics Unit, which has expertise in using large datasets to answer research questions.
Dr. Zaoutis is enthusiastic about taking the center’s success to the next level. He envisions more partnership with the hospital to create pathways and guidelines that are real-world applications of the CPCE’s research.
A recent example is a study led by CPCE faculty member Jeffrey S. Gerber, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at CHOP, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that described an intervention to improve antibiotic prescribing at outpatient practices.
“The research is moving into the community and making an impact on care,” Dr. Zaoutis said.
He feels well-prepared to expand his responsibilities, after working closely with the CPCE’s former director, Ron Keren, MD, MPH, who was appointed recently as CHOP’s vice president of quality and chief quality officer. In his new role, Dr. Keren will be a bridge for the CPCE to disseminate and implement research findings about best practices and safety, Dr. Zaoutis said.
“We have the unique advantage that Dr. Keren’s been on the research side creating this knowledge, and now we have a natural partnership to fulfill the CPCE’s whole mission,” Dr. Zaoutis said.
Dr. Zaoutis is also the Thomas Frederick McNair Scott Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and associate chief in the division of infectious diseases at CHOP.