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Children's HealthWatch

About Us

Children's HealthWatch is a nonpartisan network of pediatrticians, public health researchers, and children's health and policy experts, committed to improving children's health in America. The mission is "To improve the health and development of young children by informing policies that address and alleviate economic hardships." The headquarters of Children's Healthwatch is in Boston, with sites in Boston, MA; Baltimore, MD; Little Rock, AR; Minneapolis, MN; and Philadelphia, PA.

  • Each site collects real-time data on infants and toddlers from families seeking well-child care and emergency services and facing economic hardship. Data are analyzed and shared with academics, legislators, and the public. With over 60,000 surveys, Children's HealthWatch has the most comprehensive, current information about the health and well-being of this population in the country.
  • Findings from Children's HealthWatch help policymakers and the public better understand the social and economic factors that impact children's health so they can make well-informed policy decisions that can give all children equal opportunities for healthy, successful lives.

Tools & Measures

At the University of Maryland, caregivers who bring their children under four years old to the Pediatric Emergency Department or Pediatrics at Midtown Primary Care are invited to participate in the Children’s HealthWatch survey. The Children's HealthWatch survey includes reliable and valid subscales of children's development, family food security, access to public assistance programs, caregiver mental health, and other demographic information. In addition, children are weighed and measured. Children with significant growth delays are referred to their primary care provider or the Growth and Nutrition Clinic. Participants receive resource and referral assistance if they identify hunger or other unmet needs as part of the interview. At present, we have records on over 10,000 children and their families, with 700 new records added each year. 

Outreach Services

Many families experience challenging situations due to hardships associated with poverty- not enough food, unstable housing conditions, and inadequate home heating or cooling to name a few.  Through the Children's HealthWatch research survey instrument, many families are identified needing basic services such as adequate housing, food, and childcare.

Each Children's HealthWatch medical center has devised an outreach program to provide information and link families to important services in the community. Outreach efforts include acting as a family advocate.

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Project Coordinator

Takyera Robinson
Project Coordinator 

University of Maryland, School of Medicine



The Team

Maureen  Black Ph.D.
Principal Investigator 

University of Maryland, School of Medicine

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in becoming a research assistant or volunteer with CHW? Please email Lacy Boyles at 


Children's HealthWatch publishes research findings in various formats: 

Peer-Reviewed Articles 

Peer-reviewed articles have been evaluated and critiqued by experts in the field; these articles reflect solid scholarship and advance the state of knowledge in a discipline. Our peer-reviewed articles include detailed information about our sample and research methods. 

Policy Reports

Children’s HealthWatch Policy Reports present our findings about the impacts of federal programs and policies. The reports include a comprehensive review of research done on the health impacts of the programs and policy recommendations based on Children’s HealthWatch research.

Policy Action Briefs

Briefs have a summary of Children’s HealthWatch research on specific topics. They present time-sensitive research results about the relationships between household hardships and children’s health.

Food Insecurity and Hunger in the U.S.: New Research 

Children’s HealthWatch and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) publish a tri-annual newsletter about new research on nutrition and food insecurity in the United States.

Recent papers: 

Yimgang, D. P., Wang, Y., Paik, G., Hager, E. R., & Black, M. M. (2017). Civil Unrest in the Context of Chronic Community Violence: Impact on Maternal Depressive SymptomsAmerican Journal of Public Health107(9), 1455–1462.

Sandel M, Sheward R, Ettinger de Cuba S, Coleman SM, Frank DA, Chilton M, Black M, Heeren T, Pasquariello J, Casey P, Ochoa E, Cutts D. Unstable Housing and Caregiver and Child Health in Renter Families. Pediatrics. 2018 Feb;141(2). pii: e20172199. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-2199. 

Sun J, Patel F, Rose-Jacobs R, Frank DA, Black MM, Chilton M. Mothers' Adverse Childhood Experiences and Their Young Children's Development. Am J Prev Med. 2017 Dec;53(6):882-891. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.07.015. 

Rose-Jacobs R, Fiore JG, de Cuba SE, Black MM, Cutts DB, Coleman SM, Heeren T, Chilton M, Casey P, Cook J, Frank DA. Children with Special Health Care Needs, Supplemental Security Income, and Food Insecurity. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2016 Feb-Mar;37(2):140-7. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000260.

Cutts DB, Coleman S, Black MM, Chilton MM, Cook JT, de Cuba SE, Heeren TC, Meyers A, Sandel M, Casey PH, Frank DA. Homelessness during pregnancy: a unique, time-dependent risk factor of birth outcomes. Matern Child Health J. 2015 Jun;19(6):1276-83. doi: 10.1007/s10995-014-1633-6.

Frank DA, de Cuba SE, Sandel M, Black MM. SNAP cuts will harm children in the USA. Lancet. 2013 Oct 5;382(9899):1155-6. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61805-X.