Barbara Schmidt, MD, MSc, is a professor of Pediatrics and senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She is also a staff neonatologist in the Division of Neonatology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
Dr. Schmidt’s research focuses on collaborative neonatal randomized trials that have clinically important, long-term outcomes such as growth and development. Examples of trials she directed in the past include the “Trial of Indomethacin Prophylaxis in Preterms.” In this study, 1,202 extremely low-birth-weight infants from five countries were followed to the end of the second year of life. The results from the study showed that the high rate of mental and motor deficits in these children is not improved by prophylactic treatment with indomethacin. She is also the principal investigator of the “Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity” trial, which enrolled over 2,000 very low-birth-weight infants in North America, Europe, Israel and Australia. Caffeine has been used for more than 30 years to regulate the breathing of very preterm babies, but without sufficient knowledge of the possible benefits and risks. To date, this trial has shown that caffeine therapy for apnea of prematurity improves the rate of survival without neurodevelopmental disability up to two years after very preterm birth. This study will continue to follow the study participants well into school age.
Since May 2010, Dr. Schmidt is a co-principal investigator of the Data Coordinating Center for the Prematurity and Respiratory Outcomes Program (PROP) sponsored by NHLBI and located at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. One of the goals of this multi-center collaboration is the identification of predictors of respiratory outcomes that may serve as surrogate endpoints in future trials of prevention and therapy of respiratory diseases in preterm infants. In addition, since April 2011, Dr. Schmidt is the clinical center PI for the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the reconfigured Neonatal Research Network (NRN) of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD.