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From proposals to protocols: AAP’s research network turns 30 :

November 2, 2016

Over the last 30 years, some landmark pediatric studies got their start as a result of astute observations of pediatric professionals in everyday office practice.

The Academy’s Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS), the first national pediatric primary care research network in this country, has made headlines with research showing that puberty was starting at younger ages for both boys and girls and that febrile infants could be cared for without aggressive hospital interventions. PROS research also has led to changes in guidelines such as the age at which vision screening should take place.

PROS got its start in the mid-’80s when then-AAP President Robert J. Haggerty, M.D., FAAP (1984-’85), asked University of Rochester colleague Evan Charney, M.D., FAAP, to chair a task force on collaborative research — much like a successful program at their institution. Dr. Haggerty envisioned the potential benefits of a national version bringing together pediatric professionals.

A steering committee was established, and PROS was born at the Academy and located in the Department of Research. Richard C. “Mort” Wasserman, M.D., FAAP, was appointed director and would lead PROS for the next nearly 25 years. Alexander G. Fiks, M.D., M.S.C.E., FAAP, took the helm as PROS director in January, and a new associate director will join him by 2017.

To date, PROS has conducted more than 30 studies in a network that includes more than 700 practices and 1,700 pediatric clinicians. Collectively, at least 60,000 participants, including children, parents and clinicians, have contributed to new knowledge and policy change in areas such as onset of puberty, household safety and childhood obesity treatment.

Since 2010, PROS has created a database of electronic health records representing more than 1.2 million children. Now known as Comparative Effectiveness Research through Collaborative Electronic Reporting or CER2, these data are being used to address questions about medication use, safety and side effects related to the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act.

Looking ahead, PROS has added a parent adviser and plans to include youth advisers in future projects. Several large studies will launch during 2016-’17, addressing key issues in primary care such as antibiotic prescribing, childhood obesity and influenza vaccination. PROS invites existing members to join these studies and welcomes new members to get involved.

To learn more, contact Laura Shone, Dr.P.H., M.S.W., in the AAP Division of Primary Care Research, at 800-433-9016, ext. 7910, or email


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