Sharp hospitals receive NIH cooperative agreement

April 5, 2023

Sharp Mary Birch and Sharp Grossmont Hospitals for Women & Newborns received approval to participate in a cooperative agreement with an award supported by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Selected among the most experienced centers in neonatal clinical research in the nation, the $2.3 million funding allows Sharp to join the Neonatal Research Network (NRN), a collaborative group of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) nationwide that conduct multi-center clinical trials and observational studies in neonatal medicine.

Over the next seven years, Sharp will be the only center in Southern California that will be part of this collaborative network. “We are honored to be the first community hospital system without a university affiliation selected as an NRN clinical center,” said Anup Katheria, MD, director of the Sharp Mary Birch Neonatal Research Institute. “We are committed to providing high-level, cutting-edge newborn care to transform the way research is done. We have developed new technologies and medical breakthroughs that have helped many babies in San Diego, and beyond, thrive in the NICU and after discharge.”

The NRN is currently comprised of 15 centers across the United States and focuses on newborns, primarily extremely low birthweight infants. Clinical trials include preterm birth complications and neurodevelopmental outcomes, chronic lung disease, anemia, sepsis, congenital anomalies and reducing neonatal deaths.

“Research is an integral part of The Sharp Experience - being the best place to work, practice medicine and receive care,” said Trisha Khaleghi, senior vice president and market chief executive officer of Sharp HealthCare Metropolitan Hospitals. “Our teams lead groundbreaking and lifesaving research which focuses on improving care for at-risk newborns to provide the best possible outcomes.”

Kari Bernet, director of women’s and infant services at Sharp Grossmont Hospital for Women & Newborns, said, “The neonatal intensive care units at Sharp are state-of-the-art environments that provide around-the-clock, lifesaving support for high-risk newborns and their families. Our ability to provide this level of specialized care relies heavily on research, and we’re pleased to receive funding that allows us to help our most vulnerable patients thrive at this critical time in their lives.”

"Federal grant awards and private philanthropy helped launch the Neonatal Research Institute a decade ago, and today they continue to play an integral role in sustaining Sharp HealthCare as a national leader in neonatal research and care,” said Bill Littlejohn, senior vice president and chief executive officer of Sharp HealthCare Foundation.

Sharp’s Level III NICUs have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and Press Ganey for their high safety and quality standards.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UG1HD112100. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.