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 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 included eight focus groups, which sought 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, It's About Trust, was published in June 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 Engaging Parents and Educators 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, overseeing work across the coverage and access, quality and efficiency, and clinical-community partnerships focus areas, as well as UHF conferences and grantmaking. Previously, Mr. Shearer was at the Princeton School of Public & International Affairs, 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.