A photo of Carley L. Riley.

Carley Riley, MD, MPP, MHS, FAAP

  • Attending Physician, Critical Care Medicine
  • Steward, Community Systems, Michael Fisher Child Health Equity Center
  • Director, Mayerson Child Well-being Initiative, Cincinnati Children’s;
  • Associate Director, Integrating Special Populations, CCTST
  • Co-Lead, Collective Well-being Equity & Learning Lab
  • Fellow, The Nova Institute for Health
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



My clinical specialty is pediatric critical care. Many people and experiences inspired me to first become a pediatrician, then a pediatric critical care physician, and then a researcher as well. In doing so, these people and experiences have helped me realize my life purpose and motivated me to work with others to change the world for the better.

I am dedicated to improving well-being and reducing related inequities by developing and implementing evidence-driven interventions within multidisciplinary collaborations. I seek to understand and cultivate the conditions and systems that address social adversities and health disparities in ways that help people and communities thrive.

In my research, I focus on social and environmental factors that promote optimal health and well-being, across a lifetime, particularly for people and places with disproportionately high rates of social hardships and adverse health outcomes. Ultimately, I want to identify, develop and implement effective interventions to promote health and well-being and mitigate related inequities.

This ambition requires identifying novel indicators and targets for our most prevalent and challenging health and social concerns and developing the knowledge to inform interventions. My research areas include community health and well-being, social determinants of health and well-being, equity, co-production, community science and cross-sector intervention.

In medical school, I glimpsed the power of both place and policy in creating health, well-being and equity. Then, in public policy school, I saw that others shared my ambition for creating the conditions in which people would live their best possible lives, including the fields of education, environment, international relations and more. I began to understand the value and need for cross-sector collaboration to change the world. From there, my interests evolved and further matured. During my years in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, I learned the power of participatory research. This kind of research is co-created and produced with the people and communities who are the intended beneficiaries of the research.

My existing research portfolio has been developed intentionally in pursuit of a mission shared with Brita Roy, MD, MPH, MHS. In 2013, we crafted a shared mission statement: To cultivate a nation of thriving individuals and communities across all demographics from childhood through adulthood by building positive health assets through research, policy and activism. This research is only possible through the collaborative efforts of transdisciplinary teams of extraordinary people who bring their minds, hearts and hands to the mission of this research program.

I am honored to be the recipient of many awards, including:

  • Ann E. Nolte Writing Award, Foundation for the Advancement of Health Education (Co-author) (2019)
  • Academic-Community Partnership Research Award, Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST), Cincinnati, OH (Academic Lead) (2019)
  • Editor in Chief Review Article of the Year, American Journal of Health Promotion (Co-author) (2019)
  • Research Team Award, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati (Team Member) (2018)
  • Best Abstract Award, Co-Production Conference, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Academic Lead) (2017)

I am board certified in Pediatric Critical Care, American Board of Pediatrics (November 2014), General Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics (October 2009) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (May 2015).

MHS: Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 2015.

Scholar: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2013-2015.

Clinical Fellow: Division of Critical Care Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2010-2013.

Chief Resident: Department of General Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 2009-2010.

Resident: Department of General Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 2007-2009.

MPP: UCLA, School of Public Affairs, Los Angeles, CA, 2008.

Intern: Department of General Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 2006-2007.

MD: Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, 2004.

BA: English Literature, Northwestern University, College of Arts & Sciences, Evanston, IL, 1998.

Certifications: Pediatric Critical Care, American Board of Pediatrics, November 2014; General Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics, October 2009; Pediatric Advanced Life Support, May 2015.


Pediatric critical care

Services and Specialties

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit PICU


Collective well-being; community and population health and well-being; systems science and change; participatory action research; multi-sector intervention; collective action

Research Areas

Critical Care


Partnering with Families and Communities to Improve Child Health and Health Equity. Mitchell, MJ; Riley, C; Crosby, LE. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2023; 70:683-693.

Association of Population Well-Being With Cardiovascular Outcomes. Spatz, ES; Roy, B; Riley, C; Witters, D; Herrin, J. JAMA Network Open. 2023; 6:e2321740.

"We know what's going on in our community ": A qualitative analysis identifying community assets that deter gun violence. Parsons, A; Harvey, TD; Andrade, SD; Horton, N; Brinkley-Rubenstein, L; Wood, G; Holaday, LW; Riley, C; Spell, VT; Papachristos, AV; et al. SSM: Qualitative Research in Health. 2023; 3:100258.

Children from disadvantaged neighborhoods experience disproportionate injury from interpersonal violence. Trinidad, S; Brokamp, C; Sahay, R; Moody, S; Gardner, D; Parsons, AA; Riley, C; Sofer, N; Beck, AF; Falcone, RA; et al. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2023; 58:545-551.

Use Of Area-Based Socioeconomic Deprivation Indices: A Scoping Review And Qualitative Analysis. Trinidad, S; Brokamp, C; Huertas, AM; Beck, AF; Riley, CL; Rasnick, E; Falcone, R; Kotagal, M. Health Affairs. 2022; 41:1804-1811.

Testing the added value of self-reported health and well-being in understanding healthcare utilization and costs. Straszewski, T; Ross, CA; Riley, C; Roy, B; Stiefel, MC. Quality of Life Research. 2022; 31:3189-3199.

Screening for Social Needs in Critically Ill Patients: Addressing More Than Health Conditions. Maholtz, DE; Riley, CL. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. 2022; 23:e541-e542.

Trends in Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Barriers to Timely Medical Care Among Adults in the US, 1999 to 2018. Caraballo, C; Ndumele, CD; Roy, B; Lu, Y; Riley, C; Herrin, J; Krumholz, HM. JAMA Health Forum. 2022; 3:e223856.

Riley and Roy Respond. Riley, C; Roy, B. American Journal of Public Health. 2022; 112:e2-e3.

Relationships between socioeconomic deprivation and pediatric firearm-related injury at the neighborhood level. Trinidad, S; Vancil, A; Brokamp, C; Moody, S; Gardner, D; Parsons, AA; Riley, C; Sahay, R; Sofer, N; Beck, AF; et al. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 2022; 93:283-290.

From the Blog

A Deeper Commitment to Health Justice and Eliminating Health Inequities
Population Health and Equity

A Deeper Commitment to Health Justice and Eliminating Health Inequities

Carley L. Riley, MD, MPP, MHS, FAAP, Andrew F. Beck, MD, MPH ...1/24/2024

In 2020, Americans Maintained Sense of Hope—Despite COVID-19 Pandemic
Community Health

In 2020, Americans Maintained Sense of Hope—Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

Carley L. Riley, MD, MPP, MHS, FAAP2/23/2022

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