Featured Faculty: Young Investigators Unite

Featured Faculty: Young Investigators Unite

By: HIPRC Communications Team Date: February 26th, 2020

Psychology, pediatrics, new trauma surgeons; these are just a few of the many backgrounds represented in Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center’s new Young Investigators Group. Elizabeth Killien, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics and a core faculty member here at HIPRC, is one of the researchers working together with others during the early stages of her career.

“Our goal is to be able to learn from each other,” Killien said. “This comes in terms of similar struggles or successes that we have in navigating our early professional lives.”

The Young Investigators Group started in December 2019 and has about a dozen members. They meet monthly to share ideas on navigating challenges such as balancing clinical time and research time, applying for grant funding, and progressing toward their professional goals.

“Even though all of us are coming from different backgrounds and different departments, we share similar interests that are overlapping between people who wouldn’t have even known they were overlapping with others,” Killien said.

“I am very excited about this new initiative at HIPRC,” said Education Core Assistant Director Christopher DeCou, Ph.D., who organizes the group. “This new group will help establish and expand the scope of collaborations between early career investigators affiliated with HIPRC.”

Many of the members have shared similar experiences. Their hope as a group is to make more connections with other young investigators in other departments to find mutual interests and collaborate on future projects.

Killien says most recently she’s proud of her accomplishments she’s been able to bring to the group. Last year she won the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Young Investigator Award. This was awarded to an author of an abstract who’s within three years of finishing their training. Killien’s abstract was titled, “Prediction of Pediatric Critical Care Resource Utilization for Disaster Triage,” For that same abstract, Killien won the Pediatrics Section Travel Grant. For her abstract titled, “Components of Health-Related Quality of Life Most Affected Following Pediatric Critical Illness,” Killien won the Society of Critical Care Medicine Star Research Award.

Elizabeth Killien, M.D.

Her main research interests are in severe pediatric trauma, and she plans to develop a primary research career that grants her additional time in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Through the Young Investigators Group, she hopes to collaborate with more doctors and researchers who are also in the early stages of their career and share similar goals.

On her off time, Killien enjoys running with her 80-pound pup named Blue. She loves travelling and most recently went on a two-week trek through the Himalayas to Everest Base Camp. She’s set a goal for 2020 to visit all the national parks in the U.S., and has six trips already planned for spring and summer. While she’s not away she enjoys all the trails and hikes in the Washington area.

Her message for anyone in their early stages of their career is to find the right support and mentorship along the way.

“Even without an extensive research background, it’s possible to learn a lot in a short period of time about research,” Killien said. “The support and collaboration here at HIPRC is a great way to get a research career started.”

The Young Investigators Group is open to anyone in their early medical career affiliated with UW Medicine and HIPRC. For more on joining, email DeCou at decou@uw.edu.