Children's Health Initiative

Children's Health Initiative

Focus Areas: Coverage and Access, Quality and Efficiency, Clinical-Community Partnerships

Poverty. Hunger. A parent with depression or an addiction. Social and economic factors like these can profoundly affect a child’s development in the first five years of life—which in turn can alter the entire trajectory of that child’s life, including physical and mental health, cognitive development, and educational and economic prospects. 

The Children’s Health Initiative at United Hospital Fund is working to build a strengthened primary care system for children that recognizes the impact of these non-clinical determinants of health—and promotes optimal physical health, social and emotional well-being, and cognitive growth during the first five years of life.

Our work falls into three areas:

Building Effective Clinical-Community Partnerships
Our major grant initiative, Partnerships for Early Childhood Development, links pediatric practices at hospitals across the City to community organizations—with the goal of screening young patients and their families for one or more psychosocial risks to healthy development and then connecting families to social service organizations that can help. We have also commissioned research to examine parent perspectives on these efforts.

Shaping a Value-Based Payment Model for Children Enrolled in Medicaid
In collaboration with other stakeholders from across the state, we are working to develop an alternative payment policy for the Medicaid program to improve the health of children and promote optimal development and lifetime success. We are also sharing our experience with other states and national organizations interested in similar reform efforts.

Working with New York State to Develop Child-Focused Policies
We are a lead partner in implementing New York State’s First 1,000 Days on Medicaid initiative, a set of ten proposals designed to harness Medicaid’s purchasing power to improve health outcomes for children from infancy to age three. We also served as the key partner to the state in developing the First 1,000 Days on Medicaid initiative through an unprecedented stakeholder process.

 
The Children's Health Initiative Team
Suzanne C. Brundage

Suzanne C. Brundage is a public health and health care strategist committed to creating the conditions in which children and families thrive. She is the director of UHF’s Children’s Health Initiative, which was established to strengthen health care’s focus on health disparities rooted in childhood. 

Through a dual focus on service delivery and policy, Suzanne has worked on a range of issues including social determinants of health and education; primary care; Medicaid; and substance use disorders. She is a trusted collaborator, thought partner, and consensus builder for many organizations and individuals nationwide focused on strengthening systems for families. She was named the first Patricia S. Levinson Fellow at UHF for her work to improve health care for vulnerable populations. 

Before working at UHF, Suzanne was the assistant director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. She has worked with a wide range of health nonprofits and safety net institutions, including Healing Through Remembering in Northern Ireland, Catholic AIDS Action in Namibia, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, 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 in conflict resolution and international affairs and an MS in health policy and management 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.

Publications
Oct. 22, 2019
Healthier Homes, Healthier Childhoods: How Medicaid Can Address the Housing Conditions Contributing to Pediatric Asthma

Focusing on indoor air quality as a key aspect of substandard housing in New York City, this HealthWatch brief identifies neighborhoods that Medicaid providers and health plans might target to reduce asthma-related health care utilization through housing interventions—primarily looking at children enrolled in Medicaid and suggesting where interventions might be most needed.

Aug. 22, 2019
Reforming Payment for Children's Long-Term Health

Lessons from New York State's value-based payment effort, focused on children's health care.

June 24, 2019
It's About Trust: Parents' Perspectives on Pediatricians Screening for Social Needs

A report from Public Agenda, based on interviews with low-income parents in New York City, explores how pediatricians can identify vulnerable children and families and connect them through community partners to appropriate services and supports.