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Innovator Awards Support Research on Community-Based Care

PALO ALTO– Three new awards from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health will support research on outpatient and community-based approaches to improving the health and well-being of children, particularly those with complex medical needs.

The work, funded by the Foundation’s newly established General Pediatric Innovator Awards, will be led by members of the Division of General Pediatrics at Stanford University. The projects and their principal investigators (PIs) are:

“Novel Use of Medical Assistants as Health Coaches for Children with Medical Complexity in the Outpatient Setting: A Pilot Study”

Summary: Children with medical complexity (CMC) represent less than 5% of all children but more than 40% of all child health expenditures. Patient education and coaching to enhance families’ home-management of their children’s conditions has emerged as a strategy to improve CMC outcomes, and medical assistants (MAs) are a potentially untapped resource to function as health coaches. The project’s goal is to implement an MA-driven health coach pilot program within an academic primary complex care clinic. Specifically, it will (1) implement the MA-coach model at the Complex Primary Care Clinic at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, (2) assess its feasibility and acceptance by parents, patients, providers, and staff, and (3) examine the impact on caregiver activation and caregiver burden.

Principal Investigators: Claudia Algaze, MD; Doriel Pearson-Nishioka, PA

“Providing Transition Education for Patients with Complex Medical Needs via Telemedicine”

Summary: An increasing number of children with severe pediatric-onset disease are surviving into adulthood, often with suboptimal preparedness for the transition to adult-care systems. This project aims to leverage telemedicine and evidence-based practices to provide all medically complex children with the necessary knowledge and skills for transfer to adult-oriented care. Specifically, the project aims (1) to provide remote training in transition care for children aged 14 to 25 years (and their families) who are served by the Complex Primary Care Clinic and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, and (2) to assess the training’s impact on child knowledge and skills.

Principal Investigators: Burak Alsan, MD; Rachel Bensen, MD; Susan Fernandes, PA

“Addressing Social Determinants of Health in the Community Pediatrics Setting: A Pediatrician Driven Approach”

Summary: More than one in three US children live in or near poverty, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made poverty a priority. Pediatricians have near universal contact with children ages 0 to 5, allowing them to identify health, development, and social risks during critical windows of development when early interventions have the greatest potential impact. California residents also have a low rate of public benefit use despite the high cost of living. This project will pilot a physician-led screening and referral program to address the social determinants of child health. Specifically, it will leverage information technology and the pediatric care practice at Gardner Packard Children’s Health Center to (1) build capacity for pediatricians to connect families to community resources, and (2) explore barriers to accessing these resources. 

Principal Investigator: Baraka Floyd, MD