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The lives of children and youth with chronic or complex medical conditions often are complicated by psychosocial issues and family problems such as poverty, poor parental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness. These children with “social complexity” are among the most frequent and highest-cost users of health care services, and their social vulnerability presents a challenge to providing high-quality care. Health care providers are increasingly being called upon to address these issues, yet resources to support them are in short supply. In this webinar, two leaders in the field of social complexity discussed their work.

Background materials:


Webinar Recording


Rita Mangione-Smith, MD, MPH

Rita Mangione-Smith, MD, MPH – Professor and Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and Hospital Medicine at the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Mangione-Smith is a national leader in research on child health quality measurement and improvement, with an emphasis on evaluating patient- and family-reported outcomes. She discussed her recent work on the importance of social complexity in designing and providing health care services, especially the provision of care coordination.

Michael A. Harris, PhD

Michael A. Harris, PhD – Professor and Chief of Pediatric Psychology in the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center at the Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Harris will discuss how a new program, Novel Interventions in Children's Healthcare (NICH), addresses the intersection of medical and psychosocial needs of children with chronic health problems and their families. The NICH screening protocol that identifies children in need of intensive, comprehensive care management was discussed, and Dr. Harris presented data on how the program has succeeded in improving health outcomes, reducing costs, and decreasing hospitalizations for vulnerable children and youth over the past four years.

Edward L. Schor, MD

Edward L. Schor, MD, senior vice president, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health

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