Jennifer Hoffmann, MD

Pronouns: She, Her

“Children experiencing a mental health crisis deserve to receive high-quality care. My goal is to improve access to care and health outcomes for children experiencing mental health emergencies, with particular attention to reducing health disparities.”

Research Interests

  • Pediatric Mental Health Emergencies
  • Pediatric Firearm Injury Prevention
  • Access to Healthcare
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Child Health Advocacy

Biography

  • Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Emergency Medicine), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

See Lurie Children's Provider Profile

Jennifer Hoffmann, MD, is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Hoffmann’s goal is to improve emergency care for children with mental health conditions. She conducts health services research using large databases to understand emergency department utilization patterns and disparities in pediatric mental health conditions. She has experience in the development of quality measures and in quality improvement for pediatric mental health conditions in the emergency department.

Education and Background

  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship, Boston Children's Hospital 2019
  • Pediatrics Residency, Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center 2016
  • Pediatrics Internship, The Johns Hopkins Hospital 2014
  • MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine 2013

Research Highlights

IMPROVING QUALITY OF CARE FOR PEDIATRIC ACUTE AGITATION IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

Acute agitation, meaning behaviors such as hitting, biting, and kicking, can be dangerous and distressing for patients, families, and staff in the emergency department. Agitation is a common cause of workplace injuries, and reduction in use of physical restraints has been identified as an important national safety goal. In a study of U.S. children’s hospitals, Dr. Hoffmann and her team found wide variation in use of intramuscular medications for acute agitation management during mental health visits in pediatric emergency departments and increases in the use of pharmacologic restraints over time. Dr. Hoffmann received funding through a K12 grant from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop quality measures for management of acute agitation in the emergency department that are informed by multidisciplinary emergency department care team members and parents, and to implement those measures in a quality improvement project.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING FOR CHILDREN WHO PRESENT TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT WITH PSYCHOSIS

When children present to the emergency department with symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions, emergency clinicians must first identify whether a treatable non-psychiatric condition accounts for their presentation. As such, laboratory testing and neuroimaging are often obtained, but the diagnostic yield of this testing in identifying an etiology is unclear. Through the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Collaborative Research Committee network, Dr. Hoffmann is conducting a multicenter retrospective study to determine the diagnostic yield of laboratory testing and neuroimaging for children presenting to the emergency department with symptoms of psychosis.

HEALTH DISPARITIES IN PEDIATRIC MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS

Significant disparities exist among children with respect to the quality, accessibility, and outcomes of the mental health care they receive. This line of work aims to improve outcomes for youth with emergency mental health conditions by identifying health disparities and studying the influence of health policy on mental health. Using death certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Census data, Dr. Hoffmann demonstrated an association between county-level poverty and pediatric suicide in the United States. She found that children living in counties with a high poverty concentration are particularly at risk for death by firearm suicide. In a study using the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database, she demonstrated that youth are more likely to visit the emergency department for self-harm in rural areas compared to urban areas of the United States. Dr. Hoffmann also found that U.S. counties with shortages of mental health providers have higher youth suicide rates.

Featured Grants

Quality Improvement to Improve Pediatric Acute Agitation Management in the Emergency Department

Agency for Health Research and Quality: A Chicago Center for Excellence in Learning Health Systems Research Training
11/01/2020 → 10/01/2022

Youth Suicide and Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas

Academic Pediatric Association, Young Investigator Award
05/01/2021 → 04/01/2022

Interviews to Understand and Improve Care for Children with Agitation in the Emergency Department

Granger Research Initiative Funds in Pediatric Emergency Medicine
06/01/2021 → 05/01/2022

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