General Academic Pediatrics/Center for Child & Adolescent Health Research and Policy

The Division of General Academic Pediatrics and Center for Child & Adolescent Health Research and Policy is an internationally-known academic research division dedicated to improving the health of children and adolescents.

Contact us: 617-643-9201


General Academic Pediatrics

Within MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Department of Pediatrics is the Division of General Academic Pediatrics, an internationally-known academic research division dedicated to improving the health of children and adolescents through:

  • Excellence in prevention and reduction of the burden of chronic disease among children; reduction and elimination of disparities in children’s health and healthcare; and improving the health of populations across the lifecourse through innovations in research, patient care, education, and community advocacy.
  • Preparing and supporting primary care pediatricians in the delivery of health care innovations and in the conduct of research that leverages clinical and community partnerships.

Until 2012 the Division, was directed by James M. Perrin, MD. Dr. Taveras joined the Division as Chief on April 1, 2013. With its multidisciplinary faculty staff of physicians and doctoral-level pediatric researchers, the Division carries out multidisciplinary research in academic general pediatrics. Faculty are supported by project managers, clinical research coordinators, analysts and administrative assistants.

Center for Child & Adolescent Health Research and Policy

The mission of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Child & Adolescent Health Research and Policy (CAHRP) is to build the scientific knowledge base in order to provide evidence for effective advocacy, policies and program development that promote the lifelong health and wellbeing of children, their families and the communities in which they live and grow. Through innovative, multilevel research that is based on principles of social justice and the view that child development is a dynamic process of changing interactions between biology, behavior, and the physical and social environment, the Center works to improve lifecourse health development and the quality of systems serving children, families and communities and also to reduce health disparities.

Group Members

Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH

Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH

Chief, Division of General Pediatrics
Dr. Taveras is the Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC).  She is also the Director of the Department of Pediatric Population Health Management at MGHfC, and is an Associate Professor of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Taveras is a pediatrician and health services researcher.  Her research interests include the developmental origins of obesity, pediatrics, obesity prevention and treatment and racial/ethnic disparities.  Dr. Taveras trained in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center and received her Master's Degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Mahnoosh (Mona) Sharifi, MD, MPH

Instructor, Division of General Pediatrics
Dr. Sharifi is an Instructor in the Division of General Pediatrics at the MassGeneral Hospital for  Children (MGHfC) and Harvard Medical School, and is an attending pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital.  Her research is focused on chronic disease prevention and health behavior change in pediatric primary care with a focus on childhood obesity and tobacco smoke exposure prevention.  Her research employs qualitative methods to explore family-centered outcomes, preferences, and best practices as well as quantitative methods to evaluate adherence to clinical obesity management recommendations and social-contextual mediators of childhood obesity disparities. She has worked to develop and evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of novel primary care based interventions that leverage decision aids delivered to clinicians via the electronic health record and to families via remote and mobile technologies to support child health behavior change. 

Alexy Arauz Boudreau, MD, MPH

Dr. Arauz Boudreau’s interests focus on determining effective means to reduce health disparities for vulnerable children by impacting childhood development both through community and primary care initiatives. A major focus of her research has been directed at how to structure pediatric primary care practices to optimally support child development and school readiness. Current projects include Healthy Living Today, a child-parent intervention to address childhood obesity through an interactive family approach to lifestyle choices with the aid of health coaches working in tandem with primary care providers and projects related to the medical home.

John Patrick T. Co, MD, MPH

Research interests include: 1) The use of information technology, particularly clinical decision support, to improve the quality of care delivered in pediatric primary care practice, 2) Pediatric quality measurement and improvement, and 3) Medical education.  Current research projects include studying the feasibility of integrating electronic medical record, web-based pre-visit screening into the ambulatory setting for identifying and managing pediatric chronic conditions.  Another project is looking at the effect of clinical decision support on the quality of care delivered for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.

Elizabeth Goodman, MD

Associate Chief for Community–Based Research, MGHfC; Professor of Pediatrics, HMS
The Goodman lab dedicated to decreasing the burden of disease, particularly related to obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among disadvantaged youth, their families and communities. The lab has two main lines of inquiry: 1) understanding the processes through which differences in social status influence children’s health and the trajectory toward adult cardiovascular health, and 2) developing and evaluating programs which build strengths, encourage civic engagement, and offer opportunities for teens to positively impact both themselves and their environments. Current projects include the PSD Study a longitudinal study of social status impact on health of adolescents and young adults, and IPACE (Intervention and Policy Advocacy for Changing Environments) which conducts community-based research to further knowledge through community partnerships that promote health and sustainable, systemic change. 

Milton Kotelchuck, PhD, MPH

Dr. Kotelchuck runs the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) life course research laboratory at the CAHRP. The MCH life course research laboratory focuses on better understanding of the impact of  prenatal and obstetric experiences on subsequent child health and development and on maternal and family health. The lab aims to enhance MCH data system capacities, including improvements in the measurement of child morbidities and health disparities and  improve State and national MCH early life programs and policies. Current projects include examination of the impact of Assisted Reproductive Technique conceptions; maternal gestational diabetes recurrence; late preterm (34-36) deliveries; and maternal alcohol and drug abuse and treatment, Down syndrome survival and autism diagnosis. 

Karen Kuhlthau, PhD

The Kuhthau lab’s research aims to improve the lives of children and families through improving clinical care and health care systems particularly in relation to children with special health care needs as well as children with brain tumors and children with autism. The lab uses both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and a variety of data sources. 

Nicolas Oreskovic, MD, MPH

Dr. Oreskovic’s research focuses on how the built environment, including architecture and urban planning, can affect people’s health, particularly how it can affect chronic diseases in children.  He is Principal Investigator for an NIH K 23 Award study, “Children's Use of the Built Environment for physical activity Study (CUBES),” a multidisciplinary study aimed at better understanding where and how children and adolescents use the built environment for physical activity and collaborates on multiple other obesity-related projects.

Mark C. Pachucki, PhD

Instructor, Division of General Pediatrics
Dr. Pachucki is a sociologist with an expertise in social network analysis who joined the group in 2013. His research investigates how interpersonal relationships and social status differences affect health behaviors and can lead to disparities in physical health status (i.e. cardiometabolic disorders) as well as mental health (i.e. depression and self-esteem) across the life course. He is particularly interested in how relationships between parents and children, and between children and their peers, can shape the adoption and cessation of risky behaviors. He is jointly appointed with the Mongan Institute of Health Policy.

James Perrin, MD

The Perrin group studies chronic health conditions in children and adolescents, with particular focus on autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Recent work has examined care improvement for children with ASD and racial and ethnic disparities in autism diagnosis and care.  The team also provides evidence to support decision-making regarding newborn genetic screening and has examined recent policy and changes regarding public programs supporting children with disabilities (the Supplemental Security Income [SSI] program).

Jeanne Van Cleave, MD

Current research in our group focuses on how physicians and practices adopt and use new practices, programs and tools over time. Specific projects investigate barriers and facilitators to implementing changes for managing mental health conditions in pediatric primary care. We are also collaborating on a project that investigates how motivated pediatric practices become closer to the ideal "medical home."

Jonathan P. Winickoff, MD, MPH

Jennifer Woo Baidal, MD, MPH

Pediatric Health Services Research Fellow
Dr. Woo Baidal is a Pediatric Health Services Research Fellow in the Division of General Pediatrics, and a GI fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Her research focuses on early life determinants of health disparities, with experience in health services research and population-based childhood obesity prevention interventions. She is interested in investigating the origins of pediatric fatty liver disease and severe obesity, two obesity outcomes that disproportionately burden racial/ethnic minorities. Dr. Woo Baidal’s ultimate goal is to prevent childhood obesity and its adverse outcomes in under-served populations.

Lauren Fiechtner, MD, MPH

Pediatric Health Services Research Fellow
Dr. Fiechtner is a joint fellow in Pediatric Health Services in the Division of General Pediatrics, and Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Boston Children's Hospital. She has her MD from Boston University and completed residency with the Boston Combined Residency Program (BCRP). Her undergraduate training was in sociology, with a focus on health and aging, at the University of Michigan. Dr. Fiechtner has a longstanding interest in community-level predictors of obesity and other issues of health and equity for underserved populations.  Her research focuses on the food environment and how it impacts healthful behavior change and weight status among children.

Meghan Perkins, MPH

Project Manager
Meghan Perkins, MPH, is a Project Manager in the Division of General Pediatrics.  She has worked with Dr. Taveras for over 5 years and manages several projects in the Division, including Mass in Motion Kids, Family Experiences in Early Life and Technology to Enhance Child Health.  Meghan received her BA in Mathematics with a specialization in Statistics, and her MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from Boston University. She has experience in qualitative and quantitative methods, and has supported a range of projects, including longitudinal epidemiologic studies and intervention work.  Her research interests focus on early life childhood obesity prevention efforts among racial/ethnic minority and low-income populations.

Chrissy Horan

Project Manager
Chrissy Horan, MPH, is a Project Manager in the Division of General Academic Pediatrics. She has worked with Dr. Taveras for 5 years managing large, clinic based randomized controlled trials focused on the treatment and management of pediatric obesity, including High Five for Kids and STAR. She currently manages the Connect 4 Health study. She received her BA in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University and her MPH in Health Communications from Tufts University.

Sarah Price

Senior Health Educator
Sarah Price, MPH is the Senior Health Educator in the Division of General Academic Pediatrics. She has worked with Dr. Taveras since 2005 leading the health education components of studies including High Five for Kids, Mommy & Me, and STAR. She received a BA in Sociology and Studio Art from Pomona College and an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Miriam Brody

Staff Assistant & Clinical Research Coordinator
Miriam Brody is a Staff Assistant and Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of General Academic Pediatrics.  In addition to supporting Dr. Taveras and Dr. Sharifi, she helps to manage Division operations and works on the Family Experiences in Early Life study, Mass in Motion Kids, and Technology to Enhance Child Health. Miriam received her BA in Operations Management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a MPH candidate with a focus in Biostatistics from Boston University in 2016.

Savannah Vicente

Clinical Research Coordinator
Savannah Vicente is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of General Pediatrics.  She supports the Mass in Motion Kids project.  Savannah received her BS in Biology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Gabriella de Paz

Clinical Research Coordinator
Gabriella de Paz is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of General Pediatrics.  She supports several projects in the Division, including Mass in Motion Kids and Technology to Enhance Child Health.  Gabi received her BS in Biological Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Research Projects


Contact us: 617-643-9201

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