At a meeting this week with patients, families, and representatives from five Ohio children’s hospitals, including Akron Children’s, Cincinnati Children’s, Rainbow Babies & Children’s, Nationwide Children’s, and Dayton Children’s, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announced that he plans to reintroduce his Pediatric Research Consortia Establishment Act, aimed at strengthening and expanding pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“A healthy and productive adulthood begins with a healthy childhood. Although children make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population, the NIH dedicates only about 5 percent of its annual research budget to pediatrics. This is deeply concerning, not only for the health of our children, but because a number of serious illnesses like diabetes and heart disease have their roots during early infancy and childhood,” Brown said. “As one of our nation’s premier research institutions, NIH has the potential to promote tremendously valuable research that can help save lives. We must increase our efforts to cure and treat pediatric illnesses and that begins at the NIH.”

According to Sen. Brown’s office, despite the fact that children make up about 20 percent of the entire U.S. population, the NIH dedicates only about 5 percent of its annual extramural research budget to pediatric research.

The centerpiece of the legislation will be the authorization of up to 20 National Pediatric Research Consortiums at institutions throughout the nation. The consortiums will be modeled after the highly successful National Cancer Institute (NCI) Centers and will conduct both basic and translational research.

It is appropriate that a member of Ohio’s Congressional delegation would be a proponent of pediatric research. Once again this year, four Ohio children’s hospitals are ranked in the top 25 in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” issue. And once again, that’s more than any other state.

To view a press release with more details on the Pediatric Research Consortia Establishment Act, click here.