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Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit (CHEAR)

Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit (CHEAR)

Founded in 1998, the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit is a national leader in the analysis of the health care system in the U.S., and the organization and financing of care for children. Over the past five years the CHEAR Unit has been awarded over $25 million in research grants from federal, state, and foundation sources.

Based in the Division of General Pediatrics in the Medical School, the CHEAR Unit comprises core faculty from the Schools of Medicine, Social Work, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Public Health, Business, and Law. Multidisciplinary teams provide the structure for research of community, state and national child health policies, practices, and programs. There are more than 30 faculty members affiliated with CHEAR. In addition, CHEAR houses the first and only NIH-funded pediatric health services research fellowship program.

Research conducted by the CHEAR Unit provides information to improve the delivery of child health care and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of public and private health care programs. Funding for projects has come from the National Institutes of Health, The Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State governments, and several private foundations.

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, to 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.

The Unit 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-level research associates, an attorney and several research assistants and support personnel.

300 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

For more information, please visit the Unit's website at:

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