PECARNDid you know that many of the landmark pediatric emergency medicine (EM) studies come from the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) collaborative? It works to address the challenging pediatric questions that only multicenter studies can. In this blog post, we highlight PECARN’s goal to translate, disseminate, and implement evidence to all providers of emergent and urgent care for pediatric patients.

What is PECARN?

PECARN is an ever-productive collaborative, dedicated to publishing high-priority, multi-institutional research on pediatric emergency care, applicable to all healthcare providers the fields of emergency medicine and pediatrics. It is the first federally-funded pediatric EM research network in the United States and is supported by cooperative agreements between seven academic medical centers and the Health Resources Services Administration / Maternal and Child Health Bureau / Emergency Medical Services for Children Program. Since 2001, it has provided both the leadership and infrastructure to conduct multicenter research studies, support research collaboration, and promote necessary informational exchanges between investigators and providers. Read more at the PECARN home page.

Research Priorities

  • Best practices in patient care
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cervical spine immobilization
  • Education/training outcomes
  • Infectious diseases
  • Injury prevention
  • Medication error reduction
  • Mental health
  • Pain and anxiety management
  • Practice protocols
  • Prediction rules for high stakes/low likelihood diseases
  • Race, ethnic, class disparities in health
  • Respiratory illnesses/asthma
  • Seizure management
  • Treatment algorithms
  • Urgency and acuity scaling

The Numbers

PECARN promotes the health of children in all phases of care, from diverse demographic populations, and across varied geographical regions. The hospital and emergency medical services (EMS) affiliates represent academic, community, urban, general, and children’s hospitals. Here are the numbers from the PECARN site:

  • The PECARN network’s Emergency Departments serve approximately 1.3 million patients every year.
  • The 9 EMS affiliates account for more than 113,000 pediatric runs annually.
  • As of December 2019, PECARN has published 143 peer-reviewed journal publications in a wide range of scientific and academic journals. Data sets are available for public use to qualified researchers.
  • There are 8 research nodes across the United States.

ALiEM’s Support of Knowledge Translation

Because we at ALiEM support bringing up-to-date, high-quality research evidence immediately to the bedside, we have created 3 initiatives to help amplify and complement PECARN’s data science efforts with our own dissemination and translation channels.

  1. PECARN Podcast Episodes: We have a podcast channel dedicated solely to PECARN-related discussions on Soundcloud and iTunes. Listen to co-hosts, Dr. Jason Woods and Dr. Derek Monette, discuss 3 landmark studies with the study authors.


  1. ALiEM P3 App: We created an open-access, living repository of every PECARN’s journal publication to date. This catalog is called PECARN Publication Prospectus, or P3 for short. Whenever PECARN publishes a new paper, we provide a quick practical summary and take home-points. As we continue to build upon this collection, we hope this platform provides clinicians a meaningful way to understand and apply PECARN’s quality research in pediatric EM and critical care practices.


  1. PECARN Head Injury Decision Tool Infographic: In 2017, we teamed up with PECARN and CanadiEM to create visual aids to help clinicians decide on whether to observe versus CT image a pediatric patient who sustained blunt head trauma. See the original post for the high-resolution PDF’s if you would like to print them. We have loved seeing these visual aids printed in poster size in various Emergency Departments around North America.

Behind the Scenes Chat with Dr. Nate Kuppermann

We are not alone in supporting PECARN. Take a listen to Dr. Julia Magaña, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at UC Davis, in EM Pulse’s “Let’s Talk about PECARN” episode talking with Dr. Nate Kuppermann, the Founding Chair of the PECARN Steering Committee. It’s well worth the 18 minutes of your time for the fascinating behind-the-scenes stories and a heads up on what the future holds.

Bryn Dhir

Bryn Dhir

Research investigator
Johns Hopkins University;
Medical student
International American University College of Medicine
Jason Woods, MD

Jason Woods, MD

ALiEM Podcast Editor for ACEP E-QUAL Series
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Section of Emergency Medicine
University of Colorado, School of Medicine
Jason Woods, MD


PEM physician. Creator of @littlebigmed podcast. Views are my own and do not represent medical advice. RT≠endorsement