First-Ever ICHP-Pediatrics Research Day A Success

ICHP Research Day Photo CollageMore than 75 child health researchers from across UF attended the first annual Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP)-Pediatrics Research Day on Feb. 7, which this year coincided with Pediatric Grand Rounds.

Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S., assistant director for clinical research at ICHP, attributed the success of the event to keynote speaker Sarah Scholle, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., and to the collaboration and interchange among those who attended.

“It was exciting to see ICHP faculty interacting with medical students, and pediatric attendings having meaningful conversations with experts in areas like implementation science and informatics,” she said.

The event began with a keynote address by Scholle at 8 a.m., followed by a reception and poster session featuring abstracts and presentations by 30 faculty and student participants.

Scholle is vice president of research and analysis at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in Washington, D.C. This independent nonprofit organization develops standards and guidelines to measure the performance of health systems and quality of health care delivery using the NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) indicators. The organization also provides health-plan accreditation, a rigorous evaluation of health plans’ structure and processes, clinical quality and patient satisfaction for commercial, Medicare, Medicaid and Marketplace plans.

Scholle’s presentation, “Moving to More Meaningful Measures,” described the NCQA’s process for developing and testing new HEDIS indicators to assess the quality of pediatric care. Scholle stressed the importance of collaborating with researchers outside of the NCQA to ensure that the benchmarks and indicators the agency develops and uses actually lead to improved health outcomes. Scholle said the NCQA also has begun to leverage electronic health record data to develop more efficient and effective measure sets.

She cited ongoing research by ICHP Director Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., and the Child Health Quality (CHeQ) Partners as an example of how collaborative efforts by researchers and stakeholders can lead to improvements in both quality-of-care measurement and health-care outcomes. The CHeQ Partners, which includes the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, the Florida Healthy Kids program, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and other stakeholders, are working with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to develop and test quality indicators designed to improve pediatric dental care in Texas and Florida, and to monitor children, teenagers and young adults who use antipsychotic medications. Long-term use of these medications is associated with an increased risk of obesity, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.

NCQA Fellowship Announced

At the end of her keynote address, Scholle announced the availability of a paid, full-time 12-month fellowship program offered by the NCQA in its Washington, D.C. offices. The Phyllis Torda Health Care Quality Fellowship, named for a late colleague and NCQA leader, provides fellows with the opportunity to work on a variety of critical issues related to health care quality, research and policy.

“As a leader and researcher at the NCQA, Phyllis brought rare enthusiasm to our field,” Scholle said of the fellowship’s namesake. “She was tireless in her efforts to promote the use of electronic health records and patient-reported outcomes for performance measurement, and to develop strategies and methodologies for physician measurement.”

Scholle said the fellowship offers an exceptional opportunity for someone who wants to develop skills in quality research.

“We want candidates who reflect Phyllis’ energy and passion for health care quality research and policy,” Scholle said. She added that the work is tailored to the individual career goals of the fellows, who are supported by senior staff with expertise in health care quality, measure development, health care informatics, health care policy and implementation, practice transformation, health care outcomes research, and analysis of health care quality data.

Mentors provide oversight of each fellow’s independent learning plan to ensure that fellowship activities align with career goals. Mentors meet regularly with fellows to discuss progress, and fellows have access to NCQA data and resources to support their learning plan.

Applications are due by March 1. For more details and to apply, visit or contact

Research Day Student Professional Development Awards

Each year, ICHP faculty members present three $500 professional development awards to students with the strongest presentations at ICHP’s annual research day event. This year’s winners were:

Ryan Boggs, in the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, who presented “Fetal Predictors of Coarctation of the Aorta—Has a Solution Been Found?” His faculty mentor is Jennifer Co-Vu, M.D., director of the Fetal Cardiac Program in the UF Health Congenital Heart Center.

Jennifer LeLaurin, in the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, who presented “Clinical Documentation of Tobacco Use in Adolescent Primary Care: Challenges and Opportunities.” Faculty mentors include Ryan Theis, Ph.D., and Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., in the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, and Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S., in the Department of Pediatrics and ICHP assistant director of clinical research.

Alexandra Lee, in the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, who presented “The Effects of Experimentally Manipulated Social Status on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Hispanic Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Lee’s faculty mentor is Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., M.S., in the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics.