The day Dr. Terri Marin began working at Augusta University more than two years ago, she dove head-first into her work.
Now she’s hoping her recent acceptance to the Neonatal Kidney Collaborative (NKC) will continue to boost the university’s national presence.
“I cannot wait to get involved with the remarkable collaborations in progress,” said Marin, who is the first neonatal nurse practitioner to join the collaboration. “Wherever I can contribute and learn, I am ready to jump in.”
Neonatal nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who care for premature and sick newborns in neonatal intensive care units, emergency rooms, delivery rooms or specialty clinics.
“In my research, I am exploring avenues for noninvasive, biomarker identification that can predict acute kidney injury in preterm infants prior to its becoming severe enough to cause damage. My purpose is to develop, implement, and standardize a noninvasive approach,” she said.
The Neonatal Kidney Collaborative is an alliance of neonatologists and pediatric nephrologists dedicated to improving outcomes in neonates at risk for acute kidney injury. Dr. David Askenazi of the University of Alabama-Birmingham heads the NKC.
The group’s mission is to improve the understanding and outcomes associated with kidney health in newborns globally. Its vision is to improve the lives of babies worldwide by performing high-quality clinical research, providing meaningful education to clinicians, enabling providers with safe/effective therapies, and advocating for neonates at risk for kidney disease.
Askenazi said Marin will have plenty of information to bring back to the university.
“We are dedicated to improving outcomes in babies and the insights, collaborations, education materials with research opportunities opening up with a clear vision while developing a plan,” he said.
The NKC formed in 2013 and as of December 2018 had 24 institutions working together. Their first study together, Assessment of Worldwide Acute Kidney Epidemiology in Neonates, they gathered data from over 2,000 critically ill newborns in four countries.
Marin earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Tennessee in 1986 then spent two years at Vanderbilt before moving to Florida, where she worked in an adult ICU. After getting married in 1991, she and her husband moved to Atlanta, where she practiced as an NICU nurse until 2000.
That year she started working toward becoming a master’s prepared neonatal nurse practitioner through distance learning at Stonybrook (New York), did her residency work at Emory NICU in the process, then worked with Emory Neonatology until 2008. She graduated with a doctorate from Emory in 2012 and was on faculty there until 2016.
“The AU College of Nursing is proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Marin in her short time with us and are delighted with the prospects of advancing care of vulnerable neonates through this collaborative effort,” said Dr. Lucy Marion, dean of the College of Nursing.
Marin is looking forward to working with the NKC investigators group to advance the education of nurses, nurse practitioners and clinicians from other professions.
“This collaborative only started six years ago and they figured out, ‘We’re not diagnosing acute kidney injury early with our current diagnostic criteria. So the diagnostic criteria changed based on the work of this group and others,” Marin said.
“To accelerate the use of this new information in the NICU, we have the job of educating our medical and nursing teams. … It’s slowly getting traction and the NKC is a major force for this change in the standard of care. In my current position, I can promote this change on the nursing end, our neonatologists can address medical education, and then we join forces.”
Dr. Matthew Harer, who works for the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and focuses on neonatal acute kidney injury, said he believes Marin’s passion and background will bring a different perspective to the group regardless of what her overall role will be.
“She might be able to reach other NNP groups and elevate the work we’re doing and hopefully educate them as well as help get our information out there,” said Harer, who has been with the group since 2014.