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:
- Cincinnati Business Courier’s Health Care Heroes finalist (2016)
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Advocacy Achievement Award for Junior Faculty (2017)
- Inducted as a State Honorary Member in the Alpha Delta State Ohio Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, the International Society for Key Women Educators (2018)
- Keynote Speaker, Cincinnati Assistance League’s Aspire Luncheon (2019)
Visit the Child Welfare Research Lab.