The Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit of the University of Michigan is a multidisciplinary health services research unit, based in the Division of General Pediatrics that brings together faculty from multiple pediatric subspecialty disciplines, other departments from the school of medicine and multiple schools and institutes across the University of Michigan. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, the CHEAR Unit addresses the most pressing child health issues of the day.
The CHEAR Unit is designed to be entrepreneurial and flexible. While rare in a University system, this type of structure is an essential asset. It allows CHEAR to identify current and topical issues, analyze the policy implications of health care utilization and cost data, and to engage in evaluations that keep pace with the programs, issues, changes, and decisions to be made in health care. CHEAR is able to bring research-based evaluations and findings to bear on efforts to support and reform policies so that “best practices” are actually used in the organization, financing, and delivery of child health care.
CHEAR focuses specifically on the evaluation of child health care and child health programs or policies in relation to other areas of social concern of child welfare policy. It is this interface, often overlooked or unrecognized, that frequently has the greatest impact on the lives of children. We examine the financial, health and social impact of programs and policies, primarily in four broad areas:
1) The structure, function and financing of the health care system for children
2) Specific governmental programs designed to produce measurable outcomes in improving children’s health and well-being
3) The mechanisms by which federal programs are implemented at the state and community level and the differential impact of state-to-state and community-to-community variation in performance
4) The interface and interaction between health and social welfare programs
The CHEAR Unit conducts projects which involve both primary data collection and secondary data analysis, and utilizes both quantitative and qualitative research methods where appropriate. A full time research staff includes data programmer/analysts, master's-level research associates, research assistants and support personnel.
The CHEAR Faculty Advisory Board includes members from the Schools of Business, Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Social Work. The Dean of each affiliated school appoints one member to this board. The Faculty Advisory Board meets four times per semester to facilitate interdisciplinary research focused on children’s health and also to secure mentorship for trainees at all levels as well as junior faculty.
The CHEAR Unit offers several training and fellowship opportunities: an NIH-funded fellowship in pediatric health services research, a post-doctoral research fellowship in methods of economic evaluation for childhood health interventions, and a nationally-competitive elective month in pediatric health services research for under-represented minority pediatric residents. Additional information on training programs can be found here: chear.org/training.
For more information about CHEAR, please call 734-615-0616.