UT Southwestern Medical Center receives grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Dr. Jane Brotanek
Dr. Jane Brotanek

DALLAS — April 22, 2008 — The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Physician Faculty Scholars program has awarded a two-year, $203,626 grant to Dr. Jane Brotanek, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The funding will support Dr. Brotanek’s research, which investigates the relationship between infant feeding practices and iron deficiency in Hispanic toddlers.

Dr. Brotanek is one of a small group of junior faculty nationwide selected to receive this grant. The Physician Faculty Scholars program provides talented faculty with support early in their careers to enhance their skills and productivity through institutional and national mentoring, protected time and research experience. The grant period is from Nov. 1, 2007 to Oct. 31, 2009. Dr. Brotanek finished her first year as a Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholar at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee before joining the faculty at UT Southwestern.

“I am grateful that the foundation chose to support my research,” Dr. Brotanek said. “The award will substantially advance my professional development and career goals by allowing me to successfully complete an important series of interrelated projects while providing excellent mentorship and opportunities to interact with national leaders.”

Dr. Brotanek’s previous research has shown that toddlers who are overweight and not enrolled in day care are at high risk of iron deficiency. Her most recent article, published in the April edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, showed that despite improvements in infant nutrition, iron deficiency prevalence in U.S. toddlers has not changed in the past 26 years.

The condition remains particularly problematic in certain high-risk populations. Iron deficiency prevalence has declined among 1-year-old, black and poor children, but remains elevated among Hispanic and overweight toddlers. A limited number of studies suggest an association between prolonged bottle-feeding and iron deficiency, but little is known about the full range of factors contributing to this association.

Dr. Brotanek is conducting a series of studies using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to provide a comprehensive understanding of how infant feeding practices contribute to iron deficiency.

She recently completed a series of focus groups with Hispanic mothers that suggest clinic-based educational programs aimed at improving parents’ understanding of healthy infant feeding practices can reduce prolonged bottle-feeding.

“Given the detrimental long-term effects and high prevalence of iron deficiency, its prevention in early childhood is an important public health issue,” Dr. Brotanek said. “Efforts to prevent the condition in infancy and early childhood are urgently needed and should target high-risk groups.”

Dr. Brotanek earned her medical degree at New York University School of Medicine in New York City and completed her residency at New York University/St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Staten Island, N.Y.

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Media Contact: Erin Prather Stafford
214-648-3404
erin.pratherstafford@utsouthwestern.edu

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