Research and Clinical Trials

Seattle Children’s is the only member of the Children’s Hospital Neonatal Consortium in the Pacific Northwest. The group tracks quality and outcomes across Level IV NICUs to improve care for babies born very early or with complex conditions.

Recent research breakthroughs have made it possible for babies born very early or with complex conditions to survive. However, many of these babies must cope with significant lifelong mental and physical challenges.

Our neonatologists are leading pioneering research efforts to improve the outcome for these tiny patients so that they don't just live – they thrive.

Studying – and Reducing – Newborn Stress

Neonatologist Dr. Sandra “Sunny” Juul is studying the long-term effects of severe neonatal stress and pain on the developing brain. She is also looking at the long-term effects on the brain of narcotics such as morphine, which are frequently used to reduce neonatal pain.

Caregivers in the NICU work to reduce the environmental stresses in the NICU and use nondrug comfort measures. These include "nesting" the baby in the incubator and keeping the noise level down.

The goal is to find the safest, most effective ways to both decrease stress in the NICU and to relieve pain with medicine.

Hands-on Training to Help Babies Breathe

Luckily, most babies don’t have breathing difficulties at birth. When they do, childbirth providers and transport teams need to act quickly and surely. That’s why we created hands-on, simulation-based training on placing a breathing tube and resuscitating a baby.

Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington offer the training for healthcare providers across the region. It is called Neonatal Education and Simulation-based Training (NEST).

Participate in Research

You can help us answer questions about childhood health and illness and help other children in the future. Learn more about clinical trials and research studies at Seattle Children’s.