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 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.

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.

March 21, 2019 | Chad Shearer
Plan and Provider Opportunities to Move Toward Integrated Family Health

A framework for integrated family health care