Since I was five years old, I’ve wanted to be a pediatrician — just like my grandfather, Dr. Edwin Vaden. He would let me look at his tools in his black leather doctor’s bag, and he even stitched up my leg once after a fall. He was my hero, and I wanted to be just like him. In high school, I started learning more about the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system through my mother. She served as a guardian ad litem for children who were often overlooked by the healthcare system. I had great mentors early on during medical school and residency, including Dr. Robin Foster and Dr. Sara Sinal. That is how I found my calling in the field of child abuse pediatrics.
I specialize in foster care health. In 2012, I started the Comprehensive Health Evaluations for Cincinnati’s Kids (CHECK) Center to provide multidisciplinary and comprehensive healthcare to children with child welfare involvement. I collaborate with Dr. Sarah Beal, PhD, in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology (BMCP) at Cincinnati Children’s, working in our child welfare research lab to ensure that the clinical care we deliver is evidence-based.
My research aims to understand the health risks of children with child welfare involvement and evaluate innovative healthcare delivery approaches for children in or at risk of entering foster care. One of my goals is to identify which clinical interventions are most effective in improving health outcomes for these children, including the role of data sharing as an intervention to improve health outcomes. My ultimate goal is to optimize the wellbeing of all children and youth identified as high-risk due to child welfare involvement. I work to improve health outcomes in the areas of medical, dental, developmental and mental health, from birth to transition to adulthood.
Our research team is multidisciplinary and collaborative both across divisions at Cincinnati Children’s and in partnership with the community, including Hamilton County Job and Family Services.
I have received the following awards and appointments:
MD: Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA, 2005.
Residency: Pediatrics, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, 2008.
Fellowship: Child Abuse, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2011.
Foster care health
General and Community Pediatrics, Foster Care
Foster care health
General and Community Pediatrics
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The Impact of Health Care Education on Utilization Among Adolescents Preparing for Emancipation From Foster Care. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2020; 66:740-746.
Perspectives on Informed Consent Practices for Minimal-Risk Research Involving Foster Youth. Pediatrics. 2020; 145:e20192845.
Automated Patient Linking for Electronic Health Record and Child Welfare Databases. Journal of Technology in Human Services. 2019; 37:286-292.
Improving Information Sharing for Youth in Foster Care. Pediatrics. 2019; 144:e20190580.
Understanding Health Risks for Adolescents in Protective Custody. Journal of Applied Research on Children. 2019; 9:2.
Developing a Health Care System for Children in Foster Care. Health Promotion Practice. 2018; 19:621-628.
Putting families first: How the opioid epidemic is affecting children and families, and the child welfare policy options to address it. Journal of Applied Research on Children. 2018; 9:1-35.
Laboratory Screening for Children Entering Foster Care. Pediatrics. 2017; 140:e20163778.
Children in nonparental care: health and social risks. Pediatric Research. 2016; 79:184-190.
Adding Insult to Injury: Nonconvulsive Seizures in Abusive Head Trauma. Journal of Child Neurology. 2015; 30:1778-1784.
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