Implementation and Quantification of the General Movement Assessment for Early Detection of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Infants
Tara Johnson, M.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics/Division of Pediatric Neurology in the UAMS College of Medicine. She is the Founding Director of the Arkansas Children’s Biomedical Innovations Program. Prior to joining the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and UAMS faculty in 2018, Dr. Johnson was at Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, where she completed her training in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. Dr. Johnson’s research work is focused on the early identification of infants at high risk for the development of cerebral palsy and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Her KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Award project will transform current clinical practice at Arkansas Children’s Hospital by implementing the General Movement Assessment, a low-cost diagnostic tool, to identify Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at an earlier age in high-risk infants. By further enhancing qualitative assessments with quantitative engineering methods, she will advance the technical capability of the General Movement Assessment on a larger scale. She will transform the General Movement Assessment into a quantitative algorithm through her novel artificial-intelligence based analysis of the general movements in healthy and high-risk infants. This work will promote the initiation of proven therapies at a younger age, leading to improved outcomes in children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.
Successful completion of her work will bring novel approaches to the “bedside” for early identification and treatment of children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. She is poised to further develop her knowledge in engineering and clinical research to further benefit individuals from her translational study. Through her translational research, she will transform the standard of care for high-risk infants by incorporating the General Movement Assessment into day-to-day clinical care for these infants at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The translational impact of the concurrent quantification of the general movements will outperform qualitative analyses and ultimately reach beyond ACH and can be adopted worldwide.
Alan Tackett, Ph.D., Scharlau Family Endowed Chair for Cancer Research; Associate Director for Basic Research, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute; Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UAMS College of Medicine
Kenneth Knecht, M.D., Associate Professor, Pediatrics, UAMS College of Medicine
Gresham Richter, M.D., President, Physician Hospital Organization, Children’s Health Care System Inc.; Vice Chairman and Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, UAMS College of Medicine