CHOC has recruited dual-boarded neonatologist and child neurologist Dr. Terrie Inder, internationally known for her clinical and scholarly innovation, leadership, and mentoring, to the newly created position of chair of neonatal research.
Currently chair of the department of pediatric newborn medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a major teaching hospital at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Dr. Inder will lead the development of the Center of Neonatal Research at CHOC starting Sept. 1, 2022.
Her appointment highlights CHOC’s mission to advance research and clinical outcomes for children and families, said Dr. Vijay Dhar, division chief of neonatology for CHOC Specialists.
“She joins a stellar team of clinicians,” Dr. Dhar said. “Together, we will make CHOC the leading destination for neonatal-perinatal care, research and training.”
Dr. Inder, an expert in the development of the newborn brain, aims to build on her track record of clinical and academic excellence at CHOC, where she’ll lead efforts to advance scientific studies and improve clinical outcomes in neonatal-perinatal medicine.
“CHOC has a very dedicated group of clinicians who are hungry to make a difference, and I hope, with true humility and privilege, to be able to help them a little bit,” said Dr. Inder, adding that she found CHOC’s leaders to be “phenomenally grounded, aspirational and hard-working.”
Will lead 80 neonatologists
The Center of Neonatal Research at CHOC will advance scientific studies and improve clinical outcomes in the field of neonatal-perinatal medicine. In collaboration with UC Irvine, Dr. Inder will coordinate participation at conferences, develop doctoral and post-doctoral programs, recruit research scientists, and provide research opportunities for residents and fellows.
She also will mentor a staff of 80 neonatologists based at CHOC, UCI and a network of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and birthing centers totaling more than 300 NICU beds and nearly 50,000 births a year.
“I am thrilled that Dr. Inder will be joining us,” said Dr. Terry Sanger, CHOC’s chief scientific officer. “Her research has been foundational to the understanding of early brain development and disorders of neonates, including the origins of cerebral palsy. She will be a tremendous contributor to children’s health in Southern California, and I am excited to think that the resources of CHOC, UCI and Orange County will be able to support and grow her groundbreaking research.”
A record of firsts
A native of New Zealand, Dr. Inder started practicing medicine in the U.S. in 2005 after being recruited by St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the pediatric teaching hospital for Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.
There, she founded the Washington University Neonatal Development Research team, which has grown to 55 investigators, and succeeded in securing National Institutes of Health funding to establish the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.
Dr. Inder joined Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2013 as its first chair of pediatric newborn medicine. There, she assisted with rebuilding a new clinical facility with a novel design system optimizing differing models of care, established a neonatal transport program and built a consolidated network, and established more than 50 clinical care pathways and created programs in fetal care and specialized clinical care for neonatal neurocritical care.
At Brigham and Women’s, Dr. Inder also increased research funding by tenfold, grew her department’s research faculty, and opened a state-of-the-art NICU with single-family rooms and a first-of-its-kind, dedicated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that expanded neurocritical care for babies.
Her department at Brigham and Women’s now educates more than 200 trainees in pediatric and neonatal medicine with a commitment to national and international teaching.
While practicing in Australia between 2001 and 2005, Dr. Inder also became known for innovation. She founded an MRI facility at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. The novel imaging center required cooperation across multiple departments, research institutes and with the regional and state government.
Recruited by several leading pediatric healthcare systems during her time in Boston, Dr. Inder said she decided to join CHOC because of its people and promise of significant growth in its clinical, research and educational missions.
“I think with the investments being made now, CHOC is on a steady upward trajectory,” Dr. Inder said.
With more than 200 peer-reviewed articles published, Dr. Inder’s primary research is targeted at understanding the timing, mechanisms and impact of cerebral injury and altered cerebral development in infants at high risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcome, including the prematurely born infant, the sick term-born infant, and the infant with congenital heart disease.
“All of my research efforts are designed to be immediately translatable to impact care,” Dr. Inder said.
One of her many side projects includes working as an editor on the seventh-edition of a landmark work in her field, “Volpe’s Neurology of the Newborn,” written by Dr. Joseph Volpe, a mentor.
Outside of work, Dr. Inder, who has three adult children, enjoys gardening and spending time her mini-Goldendoodle, Oscar.