Dr. Heather Brumberg Named President of Eastern Society of Pediatric Research
Slated to be the first woman to lead the largest of four regional societies for pediatric research
Heather L. Brumberg, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, professor of pediatrics and professor of clinical public health, has assumed the role of president of the Eastern Society of Pediatric Research (ESPR)—the first woman to do so. ESPR is the largest of four regional societies for pediatric research with approximately 400 members from academic pediatric centers from throughout the northeast and middle Atlantic regions of the United States and eastern portions of Canada.
“Our goal, which has been updated as part of our initiative to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, is to provide investigators of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and those with disabilities, especially trainees and junior faculty members, an opportunity to meet and present their recent research data for critical review,” says Dr. Brumberg, who also serves as the director of Neonatal Public Health Programs, associate director of the Regional Perinatal Center, and medical director of the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. “I am excited that since I was named president, we have updated our goals and created a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. This committee has already sponsored a workshop on unconscious bias and how it affects medical research for ESPR leadership. Our upcoming March annual conference, as always, will showcase the best scientific research from our young investigators, and we will be paying special attention to highlighting diversity in the research workforce.”
Dr. Brumberg’s own research interests include electronic cigarette use in pregnancy, pre-conception health, health policy and perinatal regionalization. She is the recipient of the National Perinatal Association Research Award and has served as an invited lecturer at many academic conferences and children’s hospitals across the country.
“I chose public health for my research as I hope ultimately that my work and the work of my fellow researchers can help improve the health of families and even across generations,” she says. “My focus has included looking at the influence of level of care on preterm infants’ long and short term outcomes, congenital anomalies in the region, and more recently the impact of maternal and paternal social determinants of health in relation to parental lifestyle behaviors and neonatal outcomes.”
In her research, she has found that often parents do not identify themselves as smokers when using electronic cigarettes or marijuana, which “may change the way we need to assess and counsel for substance use” and that a third of mothers, regardless of where they gave birth, the well-baby nursery or neonatal intensive care unit, thought it was acceptable to deliver prematurely, “suggesting a parental lack of knowledge regarding the implications of health related to preterm delivery.”
“In our most recent research, we are excited to be able to include data on fathers,” says Dr. Brumberg. “Fathers’ impact on birth outcomes has been under-appreciated, and we hope to draw attention to this, so that more studies will include fathers and policies will incorporate ways to support them.”
“Understanding these topics better can help us optimize care and hopefully determine ways to prevent poor birth outcomes, as well as inform policy and impact advocacy to improve family health over the life-course.”