ABCD Group Mentorship Leads to Findings with Important Implications for At-Risk Pediatric Patients

Sutro Tower seen from the Mission Bay parking garage, on the day the sun was obscured by orange and yellow smoke from the 2020 West Coast fires.

Does wildfire smoke impact respiratory events in pediatric patients undergoing anesthesia? When Division of Pediatric Anesthesia team members Marla Ferschl, MD and Benjamin Marsh, MD, sought to answer this question during the 2020 Northern California wildfire season, they turned to the UCSF Anesthesia Biostats and Clinical Research Design (ABCD) group for a clinical research road-map.

Established in 2018 and led by Romain Pirracchio, MD, PhD, chief of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), the ABCD group provides guidance and mentorship for faculty undertaking clinical research projects. This includes a lecture series (see below), help with study design, clinical research methodology, data acquisition and management, statistical planning, and grant writing. In addition, they help orient clinical researchers to appropriate resources and to colleagues with similar interests. 

After submitting the ABCD intake form, Kerstin Kolodzie, MD, PhD, MAS, the principal investigator of the Perioperative Clinical Research Group, was assigned as the Pediatric Anesthesia study team’s project mentor. According to Ferschl, Kolodzie’s guidance and extensive training and experience with clinical research, including a 2-year clinical research fellowship in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care and completion of a 2-year master’s program in clinical research with the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, proved to be crucial to the study team’s success. 

Published in the August 11, 2022 issue of Anesthesiology, the study authors concluded that “pediatric patients with underlying risk factors for respiratory complications under general anesthesia had a greater incidence of adverse respiratory events during periods of unhealthy air quality caused by wildfire smoke,” and that importantly, providers should consider postponing elective anesthetics for this vulnerable patient population when air quality is poor. David Robinowitz, MD, MHS, MS and Adam Jacobson, director of Anesthesia IT, are also co-authors on the publication. 

ABCD Lecture Series  

December 1, 2020

How to Get Started in Clinical Research – Jacqueline Leung, MD, MPH, Anesthesia

January 19, 2021

History of Epidemiologic Approach – Michael Kohn, MD, MPP, Epidemiology & Biostatistics

February 16, 2021

Working with Report Writers – Rishi Kothari, MD & Jon Spinner, Anesthesia

March 16, 2021

Subgroup Analysis and Heterogeneity of Treatment Effect – Romain Pirracchio, MD, PhD, Anesthesia

May 11, 2021

How to Disseminate Your Research Using Social Media Tools – Alexander Smith, MD, MS, MPH, Geriatrics

May 25, 2021

P-values – Elizabeth Whitlock, MD, MS, Anesthesia

June 22, 2021

Tips and Tricks on Writing a Paper – Catherine Chen, MD, MPH, Anesthesia

September 28, 2021

How to Find a Research Mentor - Catherine Chen, MD, MPH , Adrian Gelb, MBChB, Jacqueline Leung, MD, MPH, Anesthesia

November 30, 2021 

Design and Conception of Randomized Trials – Matthieu Legrand, MD, PhD

March 22, 2022 

Working with MPOG Data – Catherine Chen, MD, MPH and Matthieu Legrand, MD, PhD, Anesthesia

June 14, 2022 

Research Grants: Inside View from an NIH Study Section Member – Jacqueline Leung, MD, MPH, Anesthesia