Pediatric Biomedical Research Bill Passes Congress

November 15, 2013

A bill eight years in the making to strengthen pediatric biomedical research is headed to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation, known as the National Pediatric Research Network Act and strongly supported by The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, passed the U.S. Senate November 14 by unanimous voice vote, two days after passing the House of Representatives in similar fashion as part of a three-bill package.

The National Pediatric Research Network Act is bipartisan legislation that aims to accelerate research breakthroughs to develop new treatments and therapies for pediatric diseases and conditions. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the legislation and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was a co-sponsor. The bill also received critical support from U.S. House of Representatives leadership and members.

“This bipartisan legislation will use a proven national network model to strengthen the effectiveness of pediatric medical research that is vital to improving the health of our nation’s children, especially those with rare and incurable diseases,” said John Barnard, MD, president of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “We thank Senator Brown for his continued dedication to pediatric biomedical research and to finding new treatments for diseases in children.  We appreciate the support of all our members of Congress.”

The legislation authorizes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish pediatric research consortia throughout the nation. Each consortium will be investigator-initiated, consist of multiple institutions in a "hub and spoke" arrangement, and be competitively selected through a rigorous peer review process.  The bill includes a focus on pediatric rare diseases and conditions or those related to birth defects, including through multi-site clinical trials.

The bill does not increase federal spending; rather, it enables NIH to establish the network to maximize the impact of funding committed to pediatric research.

The Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research, a coalition made up of more than 20 of the nation’s leading children’s hospital’s and pediatric research institutions, helped lead the push to enact the legislation into law.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at