Department of Pediatrics

By: Ada Chong

Third-year resident Anand Salem is currently on the Pediatrics Residency Investigative Scholar at Emory (PRISE) track and is interested in pursuing a fellowship in neonatology post-residency. He says neonatology is a research driven field and neonatologists constantly evaluate what treatments are out there and what interventions are done for babies. Dr. Salem says he wants to focus on improving outcomes for babies after they’re extubated from ventilators and look at contributors to infections.

Dr. Salem’s interest in neonatology stems from it being an environment that is constantly subject to change in way of asking, “how can I make things better?” By incorporating novel research methods and modeling systems, the field has experienced tremendous growth, especially when it comes to improving outcomes for babies. Importantly, as the field has continued to expand, one of the growing areas of interest for Dr. Salem is ethics, as there are a lot of ethical situations that arise in the NICU.

“There are families involved in decisions and that matters. The medicine is intricate, dynamic and can change in an instant and you have to be on your toes. Patients can be sensitive to any type of changes and I have a curiosity in figuring out how to make things better, for science, and ultimately having empathy for families and patients,” says Dr. Salem.

Dr. Salem has firsthand experience as a family member interacting with a physician when he would visit his younger brother in the NICU after school. He says his experiences with his brother made him want to be a physician.

“Investing in people is one of the best ways for me to have reward and meaning in life and investing in kids and serving people is enjoyable. Making sure you are doing something that has impact in the future and when it comes to babies, we’re learning so much everyday about different diseases and conditions. There’s an empathetic part to it, especially if babies don’t have the outcomes we want and we can learn as physicians,” says Dr. Salem.

One of the research projects Dr. Salem was involved in looked at how caffeine could be optimized to help babies transition off ventilators in the NICU. The study involved ~200 babies and it was done in an electronic chart review. Dr. Salem says caffeine is commonly used in the NICU and has been long established to help infants with their breathing. Dr. Salem looked at how to better utilize the timing of  caffeine administration to help improve the the extubation process. Ultimately, results showed caffeine timing was not significantly associated with increased odds of extubation success, but it has brought up more questions about caffeine and its role in the extubation process.  

Another research project Dr. Salem was involved in was looking at the utilization of an externally validated extubation calculator on babies at the Emory Midtown Hospital. A specialized calculator, developed at Wayne State University, was used to estimate the probability of success a baby would tolerate extubation based on 6 clinical variables. Results showed the calculator had moderate success, but it needs to be tested on more babies and in different environments for a more holistic view.

In Dr. Salem’s free time, he enjoys working out, exploring coffee shops, and hanging with friends!