Who We Are

PURPOSe is a collaborative research study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  RTI International in partnership with investigators at KLE University, BelgaumAga Khan University, and Columbia University are leading a project to investigate causes of death among infants who are born preterm or are stillborn.

Team Members

Elizabeth M. McClure, PhD, Prinicipal Investigator
Elizabeth M. McClure, PhD, an epidemiologist, has been with RTI since 2001. She has over 15 years of experience with project management activities for global research in maternal and newborn health. Currently, in collaboration with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development investigators, she is a co-investigator and leads the data center activities on a multisite, Global Research Network, with studies being conducted in India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Argentina, and Guatemala. Dr. McClure leads the data center activities for the trials of ultrasound to improve antenatal care, maternal and newborn outcomes, neonatal resuscitation, antenatal corticosteroids, and the recently completed trials of Emergency Maternal and Neonatal Care newborn resuscitation. She also provides leadership of maternal and child health studies, collaborating with investigators and research coordinators in the field, organizing related scientific conferences, presenting study results at scientific meetings, and reviewing and editing manuscripts. Dr. McClure has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Robert L. Goldenberg, MD, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Robert L. Goldenberg, the co-Principal Investigator for PURPOSe, is an obstetrician at Columbia University School of Medicine. Dr. Goldenberg has extensive experience in research to improve pregnancy outcomes and especially in designing and leading large multicenter studies. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the Columbia/Aga Khan University partnership within the NICHD Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research.  Examples of other studies in which he has played a leading role include: 1) the March of Dimes Prematurity Prevention Study; 2) the NICHD - funded study of risk factors for fetal growth retardation; 3) the NICHD Preterm Prediction Study; 4) the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research’s Low Birth-weight Patient Outcomes Research Team; 5) the NICHD Maternal Fetal Medicine Network. Over the last 40 years, a majority of Dr. Goldenberg’s research has been focused on understanding the causes of preterm birth and using what we know about preterm birth to create prevention strategies. I am a member of the GAPPS group studying the various phenotypes of preterm birth. I have published more than 600 peer reviewed articles, the vast majority on improving birth outcomes.
Shivaprasad S Goudar, MD, MHPE, Study Investigator, India
Dr Goudar is the Senior Foreign Investigator for the Belgaum site of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research. He is the Principal Investigator for studies aimed at testing interventions for reducing maternal and newborn mortality funded by the National Institutes of Health, USA; World Health Organization; UK Medical Research Council; American Academy of Pediatrics; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Thrasher Research Fund; and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. The research areas relate to: Postpartum Hemorrhage; Active Management of Third Stage Labour; Skilled Birth Attendance; Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care; adverse pregnancy outcomes from hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and preterm birth; preconception maternal nutrition; management of birth asphyxia; infant nutrition; and early home based education for optimizing infant growth and development. Dr Goudar is engaged in the conduct of community based research aimed at reducing maternal and newborn mortality in Belgaum, Bagalkot and Bijapur and Davangere Districts of Karnataka.
Dr Shivaprasad S. Goudar completed his MBBS and MD Physiology training from Karnatak Medical College, Hubballi, Karnataka, India. He is working as a Professor of Physiology and Research Coordinator of the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Unit of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Belagavi in Karnataka, India. He has a Masters’ degree in Health Professions Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.
Gowdar Guruprasad, MD, Study Investigator, India
Sarah Saleem, MD, Study Investigator, Pakistan


What We Do


PURPOSE is a collaborative research project that will build knowledge base on causes of death among infants born preterm and stillborns in Asia.  We will prospectively enroll participants in the study and collect data to determine risk factors.  Minimally-invasive tissue sampling (MITS) will be a technique employed to better understanding the causes of death. A panel of experts will review all data and use a validated method to determine the cause of death.  Our findings will be used to help develop interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes of women in Asia.

The primary objective of this prospective study being conducted in two sites in Asia to determine the cause of deaths among preterm births and stillbirths.

Secondary outcome s include determining the specific pathogens responsible for infection-related deaths, potential preventability of these deaths and interventions which may be effective in reducing mortality. All women who deliver a preterm birth or a stillbirth at the study hospitals will be eligible for inclusion. Among those who consent, an obstetric history, clinical obstetric and (if applicable) neonatal care will be collected as well as research investigations including ultrasound, x-ray, microbiology and minimally invasive tissue sampling (MITS) and autopsy will be collected.


Through funding by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), this study will align with other BMGF-funded efforts to determine cause of death among infants and children (i.e., the CHAMPS study) and ultimately the results will inform future interventions to reduce neonatal mortality and stillbirth.