Johns Hopkins Children’s Center pediatricians Robert Wood, M.D., and Tina Cheng, M.D., M.P.H., were recently honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) at the organization’s national conference in New Orleans, Oct. 20-23.
Wood received the 2012 Bret Ratner Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Research Award, given every two years to an outstanding pediatric allergist-immunologist for contributions in basic and/or clinical research in allergy.
Cheng received the AAP’s Job Lewis Smith Award for lifetime achievement and outstanding service in community pediatrics through clinical care, teaching, advocacy and innovations in patient care.
Wood, who directs the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Johns Hopkins, is one of the world’s foremost experts on food allergies and is conducting both clinical and translational research to unravel the underpinnings of food allergy.
Wood’s current work focuses on oral immunotherapy for the treatment of several food allergies, including egg, milk and peanut. The method involves treating children with increasingly high doses of the very food they are allergic to, thereby training their immune systems to adapt. Wood has published a series of scientific studies on the subject over the last several years, the latest of which appeared this summer in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“Dr. Wood’s relentless pursuit of therapies for food allergies has brought us closer than ever to a real treatment for a disease that affects millions of children,” said Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Director George Dover, M.D. “I am confident that in the next 20 years, we will have a mainstream frontline therapy for food allergies, in great part thanks to Dr. Wood’s research.”
Cheng, professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins and director of its Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, has been a relentless and outspoken advocate on reducing health disparities and violence prevention in children. Her research interests include injury prevention, positive youth development and access to care, among other areas. Her commitment to improving child health starts at the individual level, with patients and families and extends all the way to the federal level through her work to promote health policies designed to improve pediatric care and health outcomes. She has conducted randomized trials of community-based violence prevention programs with adolescents in the emergency department and with high-risk sixth graders in persistently violent schools, and has led primary care programs to reduce health disparities.
“Dr. Cheng’s passion and tireless efforts to reduce teen violence, close gaps in access and care, and improve child health have had wide and far-reaching effects that extend well beyond the local community and have informed policies on regional and national levels,” Dover said.
Cheng is a principal investigator on the NIH-funded D.C. Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities with Howard University and Children’s National Medical Center. She currently leads three randomized trials of youth development and prevention with disadvantaged children, teens and their families. Cheng is the author of more than 100 original articles. She is past president of the Academic Pediatric Association and currently chairs the AAP’s Committee on Pediatric Research and is associate editor of Pediatrics in Review.