Pediatric primary care is changing. Health providers are beginning to address family and community stressors such as food insecurity, exposure to neighborhood violence, family trauma and maternal depression, all of which can be detrimental to child health and brain development.

While this expanded view of primary care is promising, these issues can also be sensitive in nature, making it critical that screening approaches and interventions should consider parents’ viewpoints and perspectives.


UHF has awarded a $100,000 grant to Public Agenda, a New York City-based nonprofit organization, to gain insight into parent expectations and receptivity to new primary care-based innovations that address a range of risks and protective factors influencing child development. Project work will include eight focus groups, which will seek to understand what parents view as the most challenging dimensions of raising young children, parents’ expectations and desires related to whether and how these issues are addressed by pediatric primary care providers, and barriers to following through with recommendations and referrals given to community organizations. A report summarizing all findings will be published in spring 2019.

"A deepened understanding of parental perspectives is necessary to partner successfully with parents and to build trust between families and health providers."
Suzanne C. Brundage
Director, Children’s Health Initiative
The Children's Health Initiative Team
Deborah Halper, MS, MPH

Deborah Halper is vice president and the director of the Fund's Division of Education and Program Initiatives.  She is responsible for the management, development, and implementation of the Fund's grantmaking activities and three program areas: Families and Health Care Project, Aging in Place Initiative, and Quality Improvement.  She leads special grantmaking initiatives, including improving Palliative Care, Day of Transitions, and reducing hospital readmissions.  She is also responsible for a range of convening activities, including the design of conferences, Health Policy Forum, and other educational programs. 

Prior to coming to the Fund, Ms. Halper worked as an administrator for clinical resources at Mount Sinai Hospital. 

She holds a master's degree in public health and an MS in urban planning from Columbia University.

Suzanne C. Brundage

Suzanne Brundage is director of the Children’s Health Initiative at United Hospital Fund, an independent nonprofit focused on improving health care for New Yorkers. The Children’s Health Initiative focuses on informing public policy and advancing new delivery system models that strengthen pediatric primary care, including how health care partners with other sectors to improve child health and well-being. She was named the first Patricia S. Levinson Fellow in 2017 and 2018 at UHF for her work to improve health care for vulnerable populations.  

Prior to working at United Hospital Fund, Suzanne was the assistant director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. She has also worked with Catholic AIDS Action in Namibia, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center. Suzanne is a member of the Bennington College Board of Trustees and the national Children’s Health Leadership Network. In 2018 she was named to City & State New York's "40 Under 40" list and Crain's New York's list of 100 notable women in health care. 

She holds a BA from Bennington College and an MS degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Chad Shearer is the Senior Vice President for Policy and Program at United Hospital Fund, supervising work in the Medicaid Institute and in UHF’s Innovations, Health Insurance, and Children’s Health programs. Previously, Mr. Shearer was at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University, where he served as deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health Reform Assistance Network, a project coordinating technical assistance to 11 states on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion provisions. He was also a lecturer in public affairs at the university, teaching a capstone policy workshop.

Mr. Shearer also was senior program officer at the Center for Health Care Strategies, where he helped shape its Medicaid Leadership Institute, an intensive training program for selected state Medicaid directors. Before that, he served as legislative director for Congressman Pete Stark, who was Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, in the United States House of Representatives.

Mr. Shearer holds both a law degree and a master’s of health administration from the University of Iowa.