Smith Child Health Outcomes, Research and Evaluation Center

The Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Outcomes, Research and Evaluation Center advances innovative research to improve the well-being, health, and healthcare of diverse populations of children. Our research and evaluation activities are centered around the core values of rigor, innovation, efficiency, sustainability, trust, equity, collaboration, and cultural humility.

Faculty and research professionals in Smith Child Health engage in extramurally and philanthropically supported research to advance knowledge about the natural history, biological, psychological, social, and environmental causes of common and prominent child health problems. Our research is used to inform patients, families, communities, health system leaders, and policymakers. Much of our program evaluation work is conducted in partnership with the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities and community-based organizations as evidence is translated into clinical and public health interventions. In addition, the Smith Child Health Center works in partnership with the Division of Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care at Lurie Children’s to train the next generation of child health professionals and researchers with its interdisciplinary, collaborative, and public health-centered approach to investigation in a fellowship program that sponsors its trainees to acquire master’s-level training in research.

About the Center

Launched in 2000 with a generous gift from Mrs. Mary Ann Smith in memory of her late husband, J. Milburn Smith, the center consists of several core research programs that possess unique expertise and resources. Together the programs strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration and academic competitiveness. The center is well positioned as a leader and key participant in the area of population health.

Specific Research Groups

Initiate, Inquire, Innovate, Inspire ("4 I's") Seminar Series

The 4 I’s seminar series is a monthly opportunity to exchange research ideas and obtain feedback on projects at any stage in the research cycle, from concept to dissemination of results. The seminars are co-hosted by the Smith Child Health Center and the Divisions of Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care, Emergency Medicine and Hospital Based Medicine. Contact us at to learn more.


Macy Laboratory

Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS, is a pediatric emergency physician who applies her health services research training to identify and address disparities in access to high-value care and prevent unintentional injuries in children. Her academic focus is on improving care delivery and healthcare decisions made by families and providers at the intersection of the emergency department, clinic, and hospital. Dr. Macy has expertise in analysis of administrative datasets, survey methodology, emergency department-based trials to change health behavior, digital health, and the development, testing, and implementation of pediatric measures for quality improvement. She serves as the Scientific Director for Community, Population Health and Outcomes at Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. She is also the Director of the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Outcomes, Research and Evaluation Center, where a diverse team of investigators and research professionals use innovative social, behavioral, and applied research approaches to improve the well-being, health, and healthcare of diverse populations of children. Dr. Macy leads the Smith Child Health Catalyst in the support of investigators across the institution and community members who seek expertise in health services research, research ethics, survey science, qualitative methods, community and practice-based participatory research, and program evaluation.

ARISE Health Laboratory

ARISE Health Lab investigates the role of Adversity, Racism, Inequities, Structures (and) Empowerment on health. We combine biomedical, social science, public health, clinical, and health services research approaches to interrogate our society’s most pressing issues.

Center for Allergy and Asthma Research

The Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research (CFAAR), part of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, aims to find answers and shape policies surrounding food allergy, asthma and other allergic conditions.

Led by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, CFAAR is comprised of three interdisciplinary and collaborative research cores:

  1. Public Health Data Repository Core
  2. Clinical Research Core
  3. Community/School Outreach Core

These cores are led by experts in the fields of epidemiology, health services research, health behavior, patient care, and advocacy seeking to make meaningful improvements in the health of children, adults, and families living with allergic disease.

The CFAAR team is internationally recognized for research in these areas. They have published the prevalence of pediatric and adult food allergy in the United States, characterized the economic impact of food allergy, and identified disparities in access to care and outcomes among food allergy and asthma patients. To reduce the burden of these diseases and improve health equity, they develop, evaluate, and disseminate interventions and conduct work to inform local, national, and international health policy.

With the continued partnership from their advisory boards, clinical partners, advocacy groups, patients, and their families, CFAAR is excited to continue developing more effective and impactful methods to investigate and improve the health of those living with allergic conditions.

Foster Health Laboratory

The Foster Health Lab’s mission is to improve the health and participation of children with medical complexity and disability in a family-centered manner.

The lab’s methods span traditional health services research, health care policy analysis, quality measurement development, and health service innovation and implementation.

In particular, the lab focuses on improving how home and community-based services benefit patients and their families. To achieve this, the lab partners with families from project design through implementation.

Genetics and Justice Laboratory

The Genetics & Justice Laboratory (GxJ Lab) is a “dry” policy laboratory designed to investigate human rights and humanitarian applications of genetic information in non-medical contexts including immigration, missing persons, human trafficking, law enforcement, displacement, mass disasters, and post-war investigations. How the public views and interacts with these applications directly affects their perspectives on participation in genetic and genomic research in the medical realm.

DNA technologies are powerful tools to prevent human trafficking, identify missing persons, and link genetic families. While use of DNA for criminal law enforcement purposes is widely accepted, emerging tools and approaches in law enforcement and applications in many nonmedical contexts are fraught with challenges regarding data security, privacy, respect for persons, abuse of power, beneficence, and resource allocation.

At Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University, we are exploring the policy, science, and ethics of genomic information for identification purposes. We seek to develop a sophisticated understanding of the key challenges for applying scientific technologies and biometrics in support of and in line with human rights, with an initial focus on DNA identification and an emerging focus on facial images as a biometric.

The research team is led by Sara H. Katsanis and encompasses aspects of how genomics is integrated into law enforcement, immigration processes, and humanitarian efforts.

Pediatric Practice Research Group

The Pediatric Practice Research Group (PPRG) is a well-established, regional practice-based research network founded in 1984. Through our network of over 380 medical providers in the metro Chicago area, PPRG fosters partnerships between primary care providers and investigators to determine best practices and evaluate outcomes relevant to diverse populations. Involved practices benefit from opportunities for ongoing continuing education and practice-based learning.

PPRG is also part of the Practice Based Research Program (PBRP) in the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS) Center for Community Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Getting Involved with the PPRG

Community-based pediatricians who are interested in learning about getting involved as a PPRG practice site should contact Adolfo Ariza, MD.

Interested investigators should complete a Smith Child Health Catalyst Request Form.


The Teamwork to Reduce Infant, Child, and Adolescent Mortality (TRICAM) program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago was launched in 2018 to address pediatric mortality from the leading causes of death. TRICAM aims to crosscut the healthcare delivery, research, education, advocacy, and quality missions of Lurie Children’s. The program is housed in the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Outcomes, Research and Evaluation Center. Kim Kaczor serves as the Director of Operations for TRICAM.

TRICAM is currently supported in part by the generosity of the Children’s Research Fund.