Research Overview

"Indiana Children’s Health Services Research strives to improve the health and health care of children by developing and applying best scientific evidence and methods in health services research and informatics."

In 2001, Children’s Health Services Research (CHSR) was established as a dedicated research section within the Indiana University School of Medicine. With an extramurally funded research budget exceeding $4 million, CHSR has 11 tenured or tenure-track faculty members, all of whom are affiliate scientists of the Regenstrief Institute. Together, CHSR faculty members have published over 423 peer-reviewed articles. In addition, as part of its commitment to improving child health through research, CHSR offers an interdisciplinary fellowship program. Its focus is on training and mentoring health professionals to enable them to conduct high quality clinical pediatric investigations.

Research conducted by the CHSR faculty is concentrated within four priority areas.

Information Technology

CHSR has one of the largest and most active pediatric informatics programs in the country. The Child Health Informatics Research and Development Lab (CHIRDL) developed the computer-based pediatric clinical decision support system called CHICA, which improves the delivery of primary care to children. Faculty members are leaders in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Partnership for Policy Implementation (PPI) and Child Health Informatics Center (CHIC), programs to integrate health information technology functionalities into AAP policy

Other examples of incorporating IT with pediatric research include:

  • Using geostatistical data to study how physical and social environments impact children’s health.
  • The development and evaluation of a cell phone application that monitors glucose to increase self-management behaviors in adolescents with diabetes.
  • Utilizing global positioning systems to track the movement and context associated with risky behaviors among adolescent women.

Health Policy and Advocacy

Faculty members are active on committees that generate local and national health care guidelines. Other activities include advising Medicaid through the Medicaid Medical Advisory Cabinet (MMAC) and bringing best medical evidence before legislators, administrators, and other community members who determine health policy.

Vulnerable Populations

Helping vulnerable children is another commitment of CHSR. Efforts include longitudinal surveillance of families with children with special health care needs, and partnering with centers that serve families who face linguistic or economic barriers that affect health or health care.

Global Pediatrics and HIV

CHSR faculty are leaders in the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), a partnership with Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kenya, and a consortium of North American academic health centers led by Indiana University, working in partnership with the Government of Kenya.  CHSR has also been a leader in the development of the OpenMRS, an open source medical record system platform for developing countries and a multi-institution, non-profit software development collaborative.

Faculty of CHSR are involved in a wide-range of research projects that include:

  • Utilization of geostatistical data to link neighborhood characteristics with risk of obesity in children as well as risk behaviors and outcomes among teens
  • Design and implementation of a computer-based pediatric preventive care decision support system to improve delivery of primary care in busy pediatric practices
  • Development and evaluation of a cell phone glucose monitoring device to decrease parent-adolescent conflict and increase self-management behaviors
  • Measurement of the extent to which race of patients affects diagnosis of child abuse and development of an intervention to sensitize clinicians to unconscious racial stereotypes
  • The Dyson Community Pediatrics Training initiative--development and evaluation of training curriculums that enhance pediatric residents' understanding of medical home, public health, and the community role of pediatricians
  • AAP Partnership for Policy Implementation (PPI)--a program to integrate health information technology functionalities into AAP policy

The Pediatric Research Network (PResNet)

PResNet was created within CHSR to act as a resource for faculty by facilitating patient recruiting in an outpatient setting and support a broad range of research initiatives originated by PResNet practitioners and investigators from within and from outside of the network