Current Work in Children's and Adolescent Health

Naomi Bardach, MD's federally-funded research program focuses on several areas. Her recent paper highlights her work in quality measurement and improvement in inpatient and outpatient pediatrics. She also investigates how quality measures are used in public reporting, internal quality improvement, and financial incentive programs, to drive better health outcomes for children. More recently research in this area looks to prevent deepening health inequities by careful measurement design (paper). Her other portfolio leverages technology to integrate patient and caregiver voices into quality improvement and safety efforts (paper). Content areas of research focus include patient-involved hospital safety efforts, use of mobile phone technology, mental health, asthma, and sickle cell care. She is a primary care pediatrician at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Rita Hamad MD, PhD, currently researches the effects of school segregation on children’s health. Her research has found that school segregation is associated with poor well-being among Black children. Frequent discrimination and stress, combined with lack of resources, increase the likelihood of behavioral problems and drinking during childhood. It then contributes to worse health later in adulthood. (Policy Brief here).

Suni Kaiser, MD’s research program has the goal to improve care quality and health outcomes for hospitalized children. Her focus areas include: 1) growing and synthesizing the evidence base around care of common diagnoses among hospitalized children, 2) accelerating the pace at which evidence is broadly implemented into care, and 3) better leveraging quality improvement efforts to advance health equity. She also helps steer the American Association of Pediatric's Value in Inpatient Pediatrics Network and the Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings Network.

Christina Mangurian, MD, MAS focuses on the mental health of children.  Her recent work has included looking at the prevalence of mental health screening and treatment programs for parents or other primary caregivers in NICUs across the country (paper). Other recent work has looked at the mental health impacts on publicly insured, racial, and ethnic minority youth of the use of telemental health and remote access to care. Mangurian researched this use during the COVID-19 crisis (paper).

Mara Decker, DrPH’s team conducts the evaluations for the California state adolescent health education programs within the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division. This currently includes both federally and state funded programs focused on sexual and reproductive health and positive youth development case management for expecting and parenting youth. This work is done in partnership with Kathleen Tebb in UCSF’s Division of Pediatrics and longtime partners, ETR. The evaluations include surveys of approximately 10,000 youth participants annually, technical support for implementing agencies, and special projects such as focus groups with youth about access to clinical services and more.  

Erin McCauley, PhD, MEd, MA’s research explores the causes and consequences of mass incarceration for health. She is particularly interested in the intergenerational consequences of incarceration for adolescent health and wellbeing. In recent work she found that household member incarceration is associated with risky sexual health behaviors, but that this consequence may be attributable, at least in part, to the well documented stress associated with familial incarceration. In a current project she explores how parental incarceration shapes the education of youth, an important social determinant of health, finding that the stigma of contact with the criminal legal system engenders differential treatment by teachers thereby shaping their educational trajectories. Another area of her research focuses on health and wellbeing in the transition to adulthood for youth who have aged out of foster care, especially those with disabilities. In a recent paper she finds that those with emotional or mental disabilities face particular risk in the transition to adulthood and in another paper which is presently under review she finds that education-based services can help reduce this risk.

Samira Soleimanpour, PhD’s research focuses on the influences of school environments and health services on child and adolescent health and educational outcomes, with a focus on school-based health centers (SBHCs), school-based mental health (SBMH) services, and community-based participatory research. Over the last two decades with UCSF, Samira has led numerous multi-site, multi-method school and adolescent health research and evaluation projects, in collaboration with Sara Geierstanger and Sandy Ng and their School Health Services (SHS) Research Team. Current projects include evaluations of two statewide SBMH initiatives in partnership with the California Department of Education (Project Cal-Well and Project Cal-STOP), an evaluation of 28 SBHCs in Alameda County, an evaluation of Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky statewide youth mental health initiative, and evaluations of several county and district level SBMH interventions throughout California. On the national level, the SHS Research Team is also leading the implementation of the 2022 National Census of SBHCs, in partnership with the School-Based Health Alliance. The team is committed to ensuring that research and evaluation findings are translated into programs and policies that effectively serve students and school communities.