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Children’s Health Services Research

Children's Health Services Research

The Division of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine is nationally recognized for its innovative work and the research services it provides to pediatricians throughout Indiana. Since its inception in 2001, the division has been working to improve the health and health care of children by developing and applying the best scientific evidence and methods in health services research. The group is a national leader in health policy research, analysis and advocacy.

Recognized for applying information and technology to improve child health care, team members use health informatics, epidemiologic studies, health policy analysis, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness research to shape public health policy and improve care for pediatric patients.

Breadth of Expertise

The Children’s Health Services Research team focuses on today’s diverse issues affecting children, health care and health care providers. When established in 2001, a goal was set to focus on becoming the nation’s preeminent division for children’s health services research and informatics. Today, Children’s Health Services Research at IU School of Medicine is one of the largest and most active pediatric divisions of its kind in the United States and is recognized internationally for its leading-edge research and contributions to policy decisions related to children and health care issues. Children’s Health Services Research has developed significant programs and resources used throughout Indiana to help improve child health and health care policies.

Works in Progress Meeting

The Works in Progress meeting takes place most Mondays, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, in conference room 2070 of the Health Information and Translational Sciences Building (HITS) in Indianapolis. Children’s health service research investigators present research projects and explore research opportunities with discussion encouraged.

See Pediatrics Events

Division Leadership

Division Chief
2683-Aalsma, Matthew

Matthew C. Aalsma, PhD, MA, HSPP

Jonathan and Jennifer Simmons Professor of Pediatrics

Read Bio Matthew C. Aalsma, PhD, MA, HSPP

Fiscal Officer
Photo of Fiscal Officer Lane Cheslyn

Lane Cheslyn

Academic Division Administrator


 Children’s Health Improvement Partnership Indiana


One of the challenges of conducting clinical research is participant recruitment. Children’s Health Services Research established the Pediatric Research Network, also known as PResNet, to facilitate participant recruiting in an outpatient setting. The Pediatric Research Network also facilitates and supports a broad range of research initiatives originated by practitioners and investigators from within and from outside of the network.

Research Areas of Focus

Research conducted by the division of Children’s Health Services Research is concentrated within four priority areas.
  • Information Technology

    Children’s Health Services Research operates one of the largest and most active pediatric informatics programs in the country. Physician scientists and software engineers in the Child Health Informatics Research and Development Lab use that data to develop information systems for use in routine clinical practice to capture and analyze health information. One such system is Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation, also known as CHICA, a computer-based pediatric clinical decision support system which improves the delivery of primary care to children.

    Other examples of incorporating IT with pediatric research include the use of geostatistical data to study how physical and social environments impact children’s health; a cell phone application that monitors glucose to increase self-management behaviors in adolescents with diabetes; and use of global positioning systems to track the movement and context associated with risky behaviors among adolescent women.

  • Health Policy and Advocacy
    Faculty members are active on committees that generate local and national health care guidelines and frequently present research evidence to legislators, administrators and other community members who determine health policy. One such example is the Medicaid Medical Advisory Cabinet, an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers who provide research-based policy advice to Indiana’s Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning so its members can make informed policy decisions. Other faculty members have provided leadership to the American Academy of Pediatrics Partnership for Policy Implementation, a program to integrate health information technology functionalities into AAP policy.
  • Vulnerable Populations
    Efforts to help vulnerable children include longitudinal surveillance of families with children with special health care needs and partnering with centers that serve families who face linguistic or economic barriers to health care.
  • Global Pediatrics and HIV
    Children’s Health Services Research is a leader in the development of the OpenMRS, an open source medical record system platform for developing countries. Several faculty members are leaders in the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), a partnership with Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kenya, and a consortium of North American academic health centers led by Indiana University, working in partnership with the Government of Kenya.