University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine, General Pediatrics
University of Colorado School of Medicine, General Pediatrics
Primary Care Research Fellowship, Research
Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Pediatric Hospital Medicine
Tamara D. Simon, MD, MSPH, is a pediatric hospitalist with a research focus on improving the quality of evidence in inpatient health care provided to children with medical complexity. Since April 2020, Dr. Simon has held numerous leadership positions including faculty in the Division of Hospital Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC; member of the hospital medicine team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; principal investigator at The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (TSRI); faculty lead for the Office of Training, Education, Career Planning and Development (TECPAD) at TSRI; and Lead within the Workforce Development group at the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
After graduating magna cum laude from Colgate University, Dr. Simon spent two years in Ghana while serving in the Peace Corps. In 2001, she graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, followed by a pediatrics residency, master’s degree and research fellowship at the University of Colorado / Children’s Hospital Denver. Prior to joining CHLA, Dr. Simon served as faculty in the Division of Inpatient Medicine at the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Medical Center and the Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, as well as a principal investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
Clinical Research Focus
Dr. Simon’s main clinical research focus is on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt infections and re-infections in children with hydrocephalus. She has been an active investigator in the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) since 2007. In 2009 she obtained a 5 ½-year K23 career development award from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to focus on conduct of multi-center studies to determine risk factors for CSF shunt infections. Funding from her career development award has allowed Dr. Simon to conduct rigorous observational multicenter studies through the HCRN, expanding upon similar work conducted using single center data and multicenter administrative databases.
Despite finding relatively few factors associated with risk for a first CSF shunt infection, HCRN has observed that implementation of a standardized surgical protocol reduces CSF shunt infection rates. One of Dr. Simon’s subsequent lines of inquiry has focused on surgical decision making in the prevention of CSF shunt infection, specifically looking at the effectiveness of intrathecal antibiotics and antibiotic-impregnated shunt catheters in the prevention of post-surgical CSF shunt infection. Dr. Simon’s investigation of this question using the PHIS+ database (PHIS+ Shunt Infection Prevention) is currently supported through a 3 ½-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Translational Research Focus
Another of Dr. Simon’s subsequent translational lines of inquiry has focused on the microbial environment of CSF shunt infections. With new collaborators, her lab has described wide bacterial and fungal diversity in the CSF of children with CSF shunt infections and is actively investigating the presence of biofilms on shunt apparatus. A grant to characterize the microbiota across the time course of shunted hydrocephalus (Cerebrospinal FLuId MicroBiota in Shunts Study or CLIMB) is currently being supported through a 5-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Health Service Research Focus
Dr. Simon’s health service research focus is on improving the quality of care provided to children with medical complexity in the inpatient setting. It is critical to accurately identify this vulnerable population of children in order to study and better understand where evidence gaps exist in their care and to inform development of interventions to improve their care. Dr. Simon was the scientific lead of the AHRQ-funded Working Group on Identification of Medically Complex Children in Administrative Data, and a driving force for the development of a strategy to identify children with medical complexity in Medicaid administrative data. The resulting Pediatric Medical Complexity Algorithm (PMCA) identifies children with medical complexity with high sensitivity and specificity using hospital discharge or health plan administrative data. PMCA is now in use by institutions both nationally and internationally. With her move to CHLA, Dr. Simon is interested in potential multicenter investigations of service provision for children with medical complexity.
Dr. Simon’s contributions to research in the field of pediatric hospital medicine have garnered national recognition. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Outstanding Research Award in Pediatric Hospital Medicine. In 2019, she was elected to the Society for Pediatric Research as an at-large member of the Council for a 3-year term, and was recently named to the Executive Council as the Lead of Diversity & Inclusion. Dr. Simon was also inducted into the American Pediatric Society in 2019.
Dr. Simon is passionate about the mentorship she provides to residents, fellows and junior faculty with specific research interests in hospital medicine and other generalist fields, specifically those interested in the physician-scientist career path in this growing field. She was a mentor and helped develop the Clinical Research Scholar Program in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, as well as serving as Associate Program Director for the Quality of Care Research fellowship from 2015-18. In Seattle, she also organized the Center for Clinical and Translational Research Pediatric Health Information System Working Group.
Dr. Simon is a mentor in the Academic Pediatric Association Research Scholar Program, and she will parlay her passion for mentorship into a leadership role as Faculty Director for Training, Education, Career Planning and Development (TECPAD) within The Saban Research Institute at CHLA. She hopes to refine existing programs and to develop new programs that promote the conduct of high-quality research. These goals will include nurturing and supporting the research passions of all learners. These activities will be leveraged through Dr. Simon’s participation in promoting and supporting the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
Dr. Simon’s administrative responsibilities cohere with her research and teaching interests. Because multicenter investigations are critical to identifying which interventions to study in order to eventually improve the evidence base of care for children, she served on the Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings Executive Council from 2009-12.
In the national arena, Dr. Simon completed a 4-year term (2009-13) as the Academic Pediatric Association Hospital Medicine Special Interest Group co-chair. Dr. Simon co-chaired the Pediatric Hospital Medicine annual meeting in 2012 and co-chaired the 2015 Academic Pediatric Association Leadership Precourse planning committee. Dr. Simon served on the Pediatric Academic Society planning committee representing Pediatric Hospital Medicine from 2017-20. With her election to the Society for Pediatric Research as an at-large member of the Council for a 3-year term in 2017, Dr. Simon leads the Society for Pediatric Research Diversity taskforce and was recently named to the Executive Council as the Lead of Diversity & Inclusion.
In the regional arena, Dr. Simon served for several years as co-Chair of the Academic Pediatric Association Region X . A member of the editorial board of Hospital Pediatrics since 2010, Dr. Simon has been an Associate Editor since 2014. Dr. Simon also serves as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and various foundations.