Children's Health Initiative


Nearly half of all children under the age of five in New York City live in poverty or near poverty, increasing their risk for poor health outcomes and suboptimal development. 

The Children’s Health Initiative at United Hospital Fund is working to build a strengthened primary care system for children that partners with families to promote optimal physical health, social and emotional well-being, and cognitive growth in the first five years of life. Achieving these goals is important to children’s success in school and life.

UHF’s work falls into three areas:  

Partnering with child health providers to adopt early childhood development innovations
Over the last three decades, researchers have made important discoveries on the role early childhood experiences play in influencing a person’s long-term learning, social development, and health outcomes. These discoveries have led to new interventions that can be initiated in pediatric practices—important because more than 80 percent of New York’s children visit such practices at least five times in the first 18 months of life. When implemented, the new interventions have the potential to improve the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of the child, as well as to offer lifelong health benefits, especially for children facing poverty or exposure to trauma early in life. Interventions include approaches to addressing maternal depression, coaching parents on their interactions with their children, and promoting early learning. UHF is working with children's health providers to address the obstacles that stand in the way of these approaches becoming part of routine pediatric practice. 

Identifying opportunities for New York’s Medicaid and Child Health Plus Programs to promote children's health and healthy development, including through child-centered value-based payment arrangements
As New York shifts to value-based payment for health care services, it is critical to assess the impact of those changes on children's health programs and the opportunity to use payment reform to create incentives for the broader adoption of children's health services that promote healthy development. Working with a variety of partners, UHF is advancing thinking on what “value” means for children's health and how to account for the benefits of interventions, which are often realized in the long term and outside the health care system. 

Engaging parents of young children and early childhood educators in discussions to better inform public policy and design primary care programs
Listening to the voices of parents and educators is essential to making sure programs work well for the children they are designed to help. The health of young children is largely determined by the interactions they have with the adults they encounter most frequently—primarily parents and educators. By engaging parents and educators in the process, UHF is working to ensure that policymakers and children's health providers develop programs that help those who take care of children, as well as the children themselves.  

Contact: Suzanne Brundage


Family Caregiving

Resources for family caregivers and health care providers are available at our Next Step in Care website.

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