Improving the Health of Children

In the Division of General and Community Pediatrics, faculty members engage in a wide variety of research that ultimately addresses improving the health of children from underserved communities. From environmental and social determinants of health to healthcare quality to community health, faculty conduct epidemiologic, educational, qualitative, implementation science, outcomes, and population health research. Current studies include the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) Study which is following a cohort of mothers and children from 16 weeks gestation to 12-years of life to quantify the impact of low-level prenatal and childhood exposures to environmental chemicals on health, growth and neurobehavioral outcomes. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for the HOME cohort now totals $14 million in direct costs to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center over 16 years. A growing portfolio of interventional studies aim to improve the following outcomes: increase family engagement in care, improve clinical competency of trainees, decrease vaccine hesitancy, increase breast feeding rates and duration, prevent and decrease obesity, decrease externalizing behaviors, improve the coordination of resources for children with medical complexity, improve the health of foster youth, reduce neighborhood preterm birth rates, increase reading proficiency, decrease food insecurity, and reduce health disparities in the community. Interventions deploy a variety of innovative strategies, including: virtual reality based education for clinicians and family members; group visits; web-based portal and mobile device applications to support chronic disease management; integration of mental health services with primary care practices and schools; new care management and payment models for children with medical complexity; identification of children from high risk neighborhoods using geospatial mapping software; and partnering with children, families, community and civic leaders, educators, social service providers, faith leaders, healthcare providers, and others through the “All Children Thrive” collaborative learning network. In addition, the division continues to train the next generation of researchers through its post-doctoral fellowship which has funding through NRSA since 1998.

Andrew F. Beck, MD, MPH

Dr. Andrew F. Beck's research aims to improve child health outcomes by identifying and mitigating key social determinants of health. Specifically, he pursues quantitative and quality improvement studies that focus on population-level health disparities and academic-community collaborations. These efforts have highlighted the importance of neighborhood factors on child health and well-being. It has also led to current efforts devoted to reducing the time children from high risk neighborhoods spend in the hospital (and increasing the time they spend at home and at school). He works, clinically, as a primary care and hospitalist pediatrician.

William Brinkman, MD, MEd, MSc

Dr. William Brinkman, MD, MEd, MSc, researches shared decision-making between patients, parents, and clinicians to promote high value care that is evidence-based and family-centered. He collaborates to develop interventions to facilitate shared decision-making across a wide-range of clinical contexts. Dr. Brinkman is the division's director of the Research Section.

Courtney M. Brown, MD, MSc

Dr. Courtney Brown, MD, MSc, conducts quality improvement research in pediatric primary care. Her particular area of interest is in promoting mental health and school readiness for children under 5 years of age. Dr. Brown was a co-awardee on a grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to study integrated behavioral health in primary care.

Kristen Copeland, MD

Dr. Kristen Copeland, MD, researches ways to prevent childhood obesity outside of the primary care clinic. She has studied nutrition and physical activity environments in child-care settings, and currently is principal investigator of a USDA-sponsored national evaluation of the Child and Adult Care Food Program. She is also studying ways to use wearable technologies (Fitbits) and group peer-to-peer sessions to encourage families to be more active and eat healthier. Dr. Copeland has taken on a leadership role in improving the school readiness of Cincinnati’s children under 6-years of age. With United Way funding, she directs a kindergarten readiness captain project in the Pediatric Primary Care Center (PPCC). She is co-chair of the obesity SIG (Special Interest Group) of the Academic Pediatric Association at the annual meeting in May 2017, and will serve in this national role for the next three years.

Nick DeBlasio, MD, MEd

Dr. Nick DeBlasio’s main academic interest focuses on medical education. He is currently enrolled in the Academic Pediatric Association’s Educational Scholars Program. He is working on a project to evaluate and improve the communication between resident physicians and caregivers in the primary care setting. Dr. DeBlasio is the associate medical director for the Pediatric Primary Care Center (PPCC).

Thomas G. DeWitt, MD

Dr. Thomas DeWitt, MD, is the director of the Division of General and Community Pediatrics and oversees medical education at Cincinnati Children's. He is primarily interested in innovation and research linked to outcomes in educator development, education systems, and early childhood reading and literacy. Dr. DeWitt received special recognition award for Meritorious Service from the Academic Pediatric Association.

Michelle French, MD

Dr. Michelle French’s focus remains on an intense restructuring effort in the Complex Care Center (CCC), designed to improve preventative service delivery and chronic care management of medically complex patients, to reduce inpatient admission and emergency room visit rates. Named as a “Best Doctor” in the December 2016-January 2017 issue of Cincy, the magazine for business professionals, recognizing Dr. French's reputation as an experienced clinician.

Sheela R. Geraghty, MD, MS, IBCLC

Dr. Sheela Geraghty’s academic interests focus on barriers to successful breastfeeding. Dr. Geraghty participates in ongoing studies with lactation researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Cornell University. This past year, Dr Geraghty established the Cincinnati Children’s Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic Research Registry. This research registry allows for the review of patient data in the electronic medical record as well as for follow-up after the clinic visit to determine patient satisfaction with their visit as well as determining if the mother had improvement in her breastfeeding difficulties. Dr. Geraghty used data from the Research Registry for her I2S2 project. Dr. Geraghty received a promotion to professor of clinical pediatrics in June of 2017.

Camille Graham, MD

Dr. Camille Graham, MD, collaborates with clinical divisions and senior leadership to improve relationships and coordination between the hospital and community physicians. She uses community-based participatory research to engage families and to empower communities. She is the faculty sponsor for cultural competency for the division, and is the medical director of the Cincinnati Pediatric Research Group (CPRG).

Mary V. Greiner, MD, MS

Dr. Mary Greiner, MD, MS, focuses her research evaluating innovative approaches to delivering healthcare for children in, or at risk of entering, foster care, and identifying which clinical interventions most help to improve health outcomes for these children. Dr. Greiner received a promotion to associate professor of clinical pediatrics. She also received the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Advocacy Achievement Award for junior faculty and was a finalist for the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Health Care Heroes Award.

Robert Harper, EdD

Dr. Robert Harper’s research interests include multiple aspects of online learning, educational assessments and outcomes, and the professional development needs of health care professionals. He serves as the co-director of the online masters of education and certificate program.

Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, PhD

Dr. Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, PhD, research focuses on the role of cognitive control during reading in children with dyslexia using MRI and genetic markers. She is the principal investigator on a new Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) RO1 grant ($3M). Dr Horowitz-Kraus also won the Alon scholarship for excellent new investigators in Israel. She is a member on several COST committees (European committees) in the fields of reading and language development, a member of the Human Brain Mapping Organization communication committee, a member in the literacy coalitions, and a reviewer on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study section. Tzipi was recently awarded with the Mind and Life Institute award to test the effect of mindfulness training on neural circuits supporting cognitive control in preschool children. She published seven peer reviewed publications this year.

John S. Hutton, MD, MS

Dr. John Hutton, MS, MD, is a primary care pediatrician and conducts research primarily in the Cincinnati Children's Reading and Literacy Discovery Center. His research involves the application of MRI to better understand the influence of modifiable aspects of home reading environment and shared reading behaviors on brain structure and function supporting emergent literacy, and his work was the first to document such effects prior to kindergarten. He is also exploring the effect of screen-based media on the developing brain, specifically language, attention and imagery networks. Other major areas of research are the development and application of children’s books for pediatric health literacy promotion, and clinic-based screening of emergent literacy skills and risk factors. Dr. Hutton’s goal is to more clearly frame shared reading as a critical health issue in pediatric primary care, especially in disadvantaged populations, and to help improve early interventions such as Reach Out and Read.

Robert Kahn, MD, MPH

Dr. Robert Kahn, MD, MPH, studies social and biologic mechanisms that lead to child health disparities. He co-leads the hospital’s community health strategic plan to ensure that every child has a chance to be healthy and thriving. Dr. Kahn was an invited speaker at the Gates Foundation-White House Office of Science and Technology Policy convened summit on “Precision Public Health." Dr. Kahn is the associate division director for academic and research activities. In FY17, Dr. Kahn won the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency Bridge Builder Award, and the national Outstanding Medical-Legal Partnership Award for the Child Health-Law Partnership.

Roohi Kharofa, MD, MPH

Dr. Roohi Kharofa's research focuses on the management of overweight and obese children in the primary care setting. She is seeking to identify modifiable parent, provider, and healthcare system barriers to clinic attendance for obesity treatment in order to enhance care delivery and improve parent/child engagement, both of which are critical to improving obesity-related health outcomes. In July 2016, Dr. Kharofa became the assistant director of the Longitudinal Primary Care Clerkship at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Based on her performance in this role, she received the Rising Star Award in Medical Education by the College of Medicine.

Melissa Klein, MD, MEd

Dr. Melissa Klein, MD, MEd, is a general pediatrician, medical educator, and researcher. She is the director of the Education Section in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics. Dr. Klein is the director of the General Pediatrics Master Educator Fellowship, an innovative fellowship focused on educational scholarship and leadership, the director of the Primary Care Pathway of the Pediatric Residency Program and the medical director of the online Masters of Education Degree program. Her main research interest focuses on improving provider screening and management of the social determinants of health during routine well-child care through innovative educational experiences. She serves as the educational physician champion of for Child HeLP (Health Law Partnership) and is one the founding members of the KIND (Keeping Infants Nourished and Developing) partnership aimed at eliminating infant hunger. On the national level, she co-led the education committee of the Academic Pediatric Association’s Poverty Task Force and led the development of a national curriculum on poverty that is available on the American Academy of Pediatrics website. She also serves as the associate editor of Education for Academic Pediatrics. In 2017, Dr. Klein became the director of the APA’s Educational Scholar’s Program, a national educator development course focused on enhancing educational scholarship.

Colleen Kraft, MD

Dr. Colleen Kraft’s research involves health care financing for children with medical complexity. She focuses on interventions that can improve outcomes for these children, improve patient and family experience of care, and reduce cost of care. She is the co-principal investigator for the CARE (Coordinating All Resources Effectively) Award from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Dr. Kraft is the president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Mona Mansour, MD, MS

Dr. Mona Mansour, MD, MS, is actively engaged in research, QI, and operational efforts focused on the redesign of health care systems to support the patient/family centered medical home model. She is also working to ensure success in the changing health care landscape of value based care. She is Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center’s physician leader for Ohio Department of Medicaid’s Comprehensive Primary Care Program. Dr. Mansour co-leads a component of the community health strategic plan supporting community connected primary care. She received a promotion to professor of clinical pediatrics. Dr. Mansour is the associate division director for clinical activities.

Michelle L. McGowan, PhD

Dr. Michelle McGowan, PhD, specializes in researching ethical and social implications of reproductive and genomic technologies. Her recent research focuses on the ethical and practical implications of translating tumor sequencing into a breast cancer program, and the ethical and social implications of the rhetorical shift from personalized to precision medicine, in light of national precision medicine initiatives. Dr. McGowan received an international conference travel grant from the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund, and a Faculty Study Abroad Development Grant from UC International.

Dan McLinden, EdD

Dr. Dan McLinden’ s interests include conceptualizing approaches to address wicked problems through concept mapping methodology, applying network analysis to understand relationships in systems, and applying Rasch modeling to improve the measurement of outcomes. Most recently he co-edited a special issue on concept mapping methodology for the Evaluation and Program Planning Journal. Additionally Dr. McLinden manages the development of technology interventions for healthcare that includes the design and implementation of online platforms for co-production of knowledge in learning health networks and the development of healthcare applications relying on virtual reality.

John Morehous, MD

Dr. John Morehous, MD, interests include developing improved models for the delivery of primary care and supporting population health, as well as improving care delivery and coordination for children with complex health care needs. He is collaborating with the Department of Patient Services and quality improvement consultants within the Division of James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence to develop an innovation lab for pediatric primary care.

Nicholas Newman, DO, MS

Dr. Nicholas Newman, DO, MS, researches the effect of indoor and outdoor air quality on children’s health. He collaborates with environmental health and pulmonary researchers to develop interventions to improve indoor air quality. In addition, he works with health care providers, public health, and community members to bring environmental health research into practice.

Christopher Peltier, MD

Dr. Christopher Peltier’s research involves community based education of medical students and residents. His interests include what motivates community preceptors to teach and how best to train them to become better educators. He also collaborates to develop best practices in how to recognize community preceptors and how medical centers can effectively support the needs of community based teachers. He serves as the director of the division's community section and leads the Faculty and Health Care Educator Development Program.

Judith R. Ragsdale, MDiv, PhD

Dr. Judith Ragsdale’s interests include the use of religion/spirituality in healthcare, specifically in the areas of finding meaning, coping, and medical decision-making. She is currently the principal investigator for a study of the use of religion by Arabic-speaking Muslim parents of children receiving blood and marrow transplant. She is collaborating on a study of the use of religion/spirituality for medical decision-making by parents choosing for/against bone marrow transplant with children with immunodeficiency disorders and by parents choosing for/against DNR (do not rResuscitate) in palliative care. Dr. Ragsdale received a promotion promoted to field service associate professor.

Sarah Riddle, MD, IBCLC

Dr. Sarah Riddle, MD, IBCLC, is part of a multidisciplinary group investigating the connection between abnormal glucose metabolism and low milk supply. She is the director of the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine, and sees patients clinically in breastfeeding medicine clinic and with the Division of Hospital Medicine.

Gregory A. Szumlas, MD

Dr. Gregory Szumlas, MD, has a special interest in kindergarten readiness, and early childhood literacy. He is director of the Cincinnati Reach Out and Read Coalition, coordinating Reach Out and Read at 24 clinics throughout Cincinnati. He is also coordinating the pilot of the Cincinnati affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, bringing books to the homes of children living in poverty within the Cincinnati Public School District and observing the effect on kindergarten readiness. Dr. Szumlas is collaborating on several kindergarten readiness and literacy initiatives and studies in the community and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center clinics. In 2016, Dr. Szumlas presented a poster on the Imagination Library at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting and received an invitation to speak at the Imagination Library national meeting about our work in Cincinnati.

Denise Warrick, MD, MEd

Dr. Denise Warrick, MD, MEd, participates in educational research related to advocacy and community health, pediatric primary care education for resident physicians as well as improvement research related to handoffs from inpatient to outpatient physicians. Dr. Warrick received a promotion to assistant professor of clinical pediatrics.

Stephen Warrick, MD, MEd

Dr. Stephen Warrick's involvement in the primary care clinics at Cincinnati Children's works to improve patient access for ill care. He works with resident global health education at Cincinnati Children's, and participates in the Midwest Consortium of Global Health Educators.

Kimberly Yolton, PhD

Dr. Kimberly Yolton, PhD, conducts epidemiological research on the impact of exposure to common environmental toxicants during gestation and childhood on health, development, and behavior outcomes from infancy through adolescence. She also collaborates on several studies of typical development in children. NIH R01 grants supports several of Dr. Yolton's work. She is associate director of the NRSA General Pediatrics Research Fellowship. She is the section editor for the human neurotoxicology and epidemiology section of the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology.