John E. Fortunato, Jr, MD, Director of the Neurointestinal and Motility Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, recently received the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) Foundation/Takeda Pharmaceutical Products Research Innovation Award. The grant will provide $75,000 annually for two years (total $150,000) for innovative, high-impact research in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition. 

The funds will support Dr. Fortunato’s research investigating ways to improve diagnosis and treatment of functional gastrointestinal health conditions known as disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI). These are challenging for doctors to diagnose and treat because of their heterogeneous presentation and multiple biopsychosocial co-morbidities. 

The purpose of the project is to incorporate the perspectives of key stakeholders through a user-centered design approach to design a method for digital capture of patient- and parent-reported information and dissemination to clinical providers. Dr. Fortunato and his collaborators—Bonnie Essner, PhD, Pediatric Psychologist with the Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie Children’s, and Andrew B.L. Berry, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medical Social Sciences (Intervention Science) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine—will identify design requirements for clinician-facing workflow and technology through observations and interviews with clinicians. They will then develop and evaluate a prototype system and establish a workflow with end-users. By the end of the project, the team will have a clear idea of the design requirements for adolescent- and parent-facing and clinician-facing interfaces to improve diagnosis and treatment of DGBI. 

Pediatric research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.