The National Eczema Association (NEA) and the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance’s (PeDRA) inaugural Childhood Eczema Challenge Grant goes to Junko Takeshita, MD, PhD, MSCE of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

The grant of $50,000 will commence in August 2020.

NEA and PeDRA together created the Childhood Eczema Challenge Grant to accelerate research that improves the health and quality of life of pediatric eczema patients and their families.

Takeshita will be awarded for her grant proposal titled "Understanding Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health Care Utilization for Childhood Atopic Dermatitis."

Atopic dermatitis (AD) disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic children and is associated with significant financial burden in the U.S. In previous research, Takeshita and her team found that Black children are less likely than white children to seek any outpatient care for their AD, and among children who do access care, Black and Hispanic children are more likely to go to the emergency room for their AD than white children. For this grant, Takeshita aims to identify and understand the barriers to outpatient health care use and reasons for specific health care utilization patterns, especially emergency room use, for AD among white, Black and Hispanic children from the caregiver perspective. The qualitative study will include interviews with caregivers of white, Black, and Hispanic children with AD across a spectrum of health care use patterns.

The findings will directly inform the development and implementation of future interventions to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in health care use for childhood AD, optimize care utilization, and improve outcomes.

"Addressing disparities in the management of childhood eczema is such an important topic.  The outcomes of this grant are likely to have an impact beyond the award period, and beyond the field of pediatric dermatology," says Michael Siegel, PhD, executive director of PeDRA, in a news release. "We are so excited to see our partnership with NEA move into the next phase as the 2020 Challenge Grant project gets underway."

"Dr. Takeshita's work is a perfect example of why we collaborated with PeDRA to create this grant," says Julie Block, president and CEO of NEA. "We know the burden for children with eczema and their families can be enormous, and this new research has potential to relieve some burden from those who feel it most acutely."

For more information on the 2020 Childhood Eczema Challenge Grant, visit https://pedraresearch.org/grants-awards or https://nationaleczema.org/research/research-we-fund/for-researchers/