Painful mouth sores caused by viruses are common in childhood and often seen in emergency rooms, peaking in the summer and early fall. The highest rates are seen in infants and young children who suffer from poor appetite, pain and even fever.
Nidhi “Nina” Vaidya, MD, is trying to find a better answer to treat pain for these children with mouth sores. Nina — who is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Dell Medical School and Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas — recently earned a prestigious honor from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and was awarded the Ken Graff Young Investigator Award for her research project investigating a medicine to improve pain for children with mouth sores.
Despite the prevalence, pain and disruption of family life that mouth sores can cause, there is very little evidence-based research to help physicians with treatment and care plans. Nina plans to do a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial starting this summer and enroll 100 children. If her hypothesis is confirmed, clinicians will have a new option for preventing dehydration in young children with this condition, leading to significant health benefits for patients and cost savings for health care systems.
By investigating better treatments for alleviating pain in children, Nina is directly contributing to the vision of Dell Med by improving health in our community as a model for the nation and advancing innovation from discovery to outcomes.
The AAP Ken Graff Young Investigator Award is given to a fellow or junior faculty member in honor of Dr. Graff’s memory and in support of young investigators in their pursuit of quality pediatric emergency medicine research. The award is given to recognize issues pertinent to the acutely ill or injured child. Nina will receive the Ken Graff Award at the 2017 AAP National Conference and Exhibition in Chicago this September.
Nina developed her protocol as part of her research requirement for the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship. Nina’s mentor, Matthew Wilkinson, MD, serves as the Research Director for the PEM Fellowship.
“This is the most prestigious research award available to fellows and young faculty in our field,” Matthew says. “Every year researchers from the most respected fellowship programs in the nation compete for this honor, and we are extremely proud of Nina and her work. This is the first step on the path to a successful career in pediatric emergency research.”