About Our Team

Center for Excellence in Child and Adolescent Research teamThe mission of the Center team is to enhance the understanding and advancement of clinical research through the education, empowerment, and engagement of clinical researchers, health care providers, families and caregivers, teens and emerging young adults, and the community. Combined, the members of this team have more than 100 years of experience conducting pediatric clinical research, and they have collaborated on and led regional, national and international studies involving thousands of pediatric participants.

Meet Some of Our Team Members:

Sonika Bhatnagar, MD, MPH
Alejandro Hoberman, MD
Judith M. Martin, MD
Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD
Dianna L. Ploof, EdD
Kumaravel Rajakumar, MD, MS
Evelyn C. Reis, MD

Sonika Bhatnagar, MD, MPH

Since 2008, Dr. Bhatnagar has conducted clinical research on a variety of primary care topics, including diagnosis and management of common pediatric infections such as otitis media, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections. Her interest in these fields reflects her passion to address broader public health issues, such as prevention of illnesses and consideration of the development of antimicrobial resistance, health care expenditures, and quality of life. Her area of expertise has expanded to include enhancing the steps in clinical research including recruitment, informed consent/assent, retention/adherence, and dissemination of these materials through education.

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Alejandro Hoberman, MD

For more than 25 years, Dr. Hoberman has conducted large-scale, randomized controlled trials to evaluate pediatric treatments and procedures for frequently occurring pediatric conditions that entail substantial use of health care resources but whose value has not been adequately substantiated. These trials have included outpatient versus inpatient antibiotics for acute pyelonephritis, influenza vaccine for preventing AOM, prophylactic antimicrobials for children with vesicoureteral reflux, antimicrobials for AOM in children under age 2, duration of therapy for AOM in children under age 2, and duration of therapy for urinary tract infection.

Dr. Hoberman is chief of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics, vice chair for Clinical Research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, professor of Pediatrics and Clinical and Translational Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and is the Jack L. Paradise, MD, Endowed Professor of Pediatric Research. In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Hoberman received the Academic Pediatric Association’s Research Award in 2014. This award acknowledges the contribution of an individual in advancing pediatric knowledge through excellence in research, characterized by originality, creativity, and methodological soundness.

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Judith M. Martin, MD

Dr. Martin came to Pittsburgh in 1991 for her pediatric residency training and fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases and subsequently joined the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh as a faculty member. Her research interests are common outpatient infections, including Group A streptococcal infections. She completed a 5-year longitudinal study of strep infections in school-aged children and is involved in outpatient studies on otitis media, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections. She is committed to improving the process of conducting clinical research and is a vice chair of the Institutional Review Board for the University of Pittsburgh.

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Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD

Dr. Miller is a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and is chief of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She is trained in internal medicine, pediatrics and medical anthropology with more than a decade of practice and research experience in addressing interpersonal violence in clinical and community settings.

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Dianna L. Ploof, EdD

Dr. Ploof has expertise in pediatric resident education, faculty development and program evaluation. Since 2007, she has directed the Lee Bass Community Pediatric Education Network. She also co-directs the BRIDGES pediatric resident mentoring and faculty development program at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Dr. Ploof is recognized for her contributions to numerous collaborative efforts and brings her expertise in education to the development of curricula, websites, educational, and consent materials for families, youth, and people with intellectual disabilities. She was instrumental in helping Children’s Division of General Academic Pediatrics achieve the Academic Pediatric Association Teaching Program Award in 2009.

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Kumaravel Rajakumar, MD, MS

With more than two decades of active engagement in pediatric clinical research, Dr. Rajakumar’s studies have focused on vitamin D nutrition in children with an emphasis on racial differences and health disparities. He has also explored the role of parental trust in enrollment of children in clinical research. His expertise includes designing and conducting randomized controlled vitamin D intervention clinical trials in children.

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Evelyn C. Reis, MD

Dr. Reis has been conducting clinical research for more than 25 years in a variety of primary care topics, including interventions to improve immunization, nutrition, and screening for heart disease risk factors. She currently directs the University of Pittsburgh Clinical & Translational Science Institute’s Pediatric PittNet, a practice-based research network partnering with over 20 community pediatric practices in southwest Pennsylvania.

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