The adage that children should be seen but not heard does not ring true for Debbie Gipson. A pediatric nephrologist at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital of the University of Michigan, she has devoted her research career to investigating the health needs and outcomes of children suffering from diseases involving the kidneys. Fittingly, as high blood pressure can damage these organs, she serves as a member of the steering committee for the PTN hypertension trials.
Dr. Gipson’s research interests extend beyond diseases of the kidneys to the general conduct of pediatric clinical trials and the usefulness of patient-reported outcomes. “Patient-reported outcomes” are data reflecting self-reports from patients about how they feel following treatment. Because patients’ perspectives can play an important role in drug approval, this information can provide crucial insight about the relative success of a treatment. Integration of patient-reported outcomes into pediatric trial conduct helps to ensure that children have a voice in the clinical research process—an objective that Dr. Gipson believes to be very worthwhile.
As associate director for the University of Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research and member of the operations committee for the CTSA Child Health Oversight Committee, she is well positioned to keep children’s needs at the center of the research process. Notably, the NIH-sponsored Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program encourages collaborative teams of investigators to tackle complex health and research challenges and find ways to turn their discoveries into practical solutions for patients. As such, it provides an exceptional vantage point from which Dr. Gipson can help to ensure that the national investment in health-related discovery includes children and their needs.
In her free time, Dr. Gipson enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling, and spending time with family.