Advancing the Field of Pediatric Health Services Research
Aaron Carroll, M.D., M.S.
Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean
Research Mentoring at the Indiana University (IU)
Vice President for Faculty Development, Regenstrief Institute
“With AHRQ funding, I have been able to build critical tools and infrastructure to facilitate research into improving the ways that clinicians deliver care to children.”
Aaron E. Carroll, M.D., M.S., Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Research Mentoring at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine in Indianapolis, is perhaps proudest of his work that has laid the groundwork for progress in pediatric health services research through mentoring and sharing of evidence-based practices.
The Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research at the IU School of Medicine and IU Health, which receives funding from AHRQ, focuses on patient-centered outcomes and comparative effectiveness research for pediatric subspecialties. It has conducted studies that look at treatment options for specific conditions such as diabetes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. When evidence-based practices are identified, the center facilitates implementation and dissemination of the information to improve pediatric care.
In addition, Dr. Carroll is currently helping to train the next generation of health services investigators through the IU School of Medicine’s Learning Health System (LHS)-K12 program, one of 11 AHRQ-funded LHS Centers of Excellence. The LHS-K12 program targets junior faculty who have previously obtained a clinical or research doctoral degree and trains them in the unique skill set required to conduct research within the LHS. Through support from AHRQ, the LHS-K12 program is bringing together key stakeholders from the academic setting and the healthcare system and helping them align their historically varying interests to develop, implement, test, and disseminate innovative and transformative solutions for healthcare improvement.
One of Dr. Carroll’s earliest AHRQ grants from 2009 focused on using information technology to improve developmental surveillance and screening. He and his team automated data collection in an existing clinical decision support system to give clinicians quick access to patient information during routine visits, which allowed earlier diagnoses. The new information also enabled the team to study the long-term effects on children when developmental disabilities were identified earlier in life, as well as connections between exposure to violence and mental health and between screen time and obesity.
Dr. Carroll’s passion to improve pediatric care led him to host an event that specifically targeted pediatric research. Pediatric-focused health systems research has typically been folded into larger health research conferences, but that changed after Dr. Carroll received AHRQ conference grant funding. The event, which was held annually for 3 years, provided pediatric health services researchers with opportunities to discuss current research and form collaborations to undertake new studies into care outcomes, quality, cost, use, and access to improve healthcare services for children.
“AHRQ made projects possible that otherwise would not have been,” said Dr. Carroll. “The Agency grants have been instrumental in creating research environments that promote advances in pediatric health services research and nourish development of the next generation of researchers.”
Dr. Carroll is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Medical Informatics Association, the Society for Medical Decision Making, and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. He serves as director for IU’s Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research and Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research. Dr. Carroll is a regular contributor to the New York Times and the health policy blog The Incidental Economist.
Principal Investigator: Aaron Carroll, M.D., M.S.
Institution: Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Grantee Since: 2009
Type of Grant: Various
Consistent with its mission, AHRQ provides a broad range of extramural research grants and contracts, research training, conference grants, and intramural research activities. AHRQ is committed to fostering the next generation of health services researchers who can focus on some of the most important challenges facing our Nation's health care system.
To learn more about AHRQ's Research Education and Training Programs, please visit https://www.ahrq.gov/training.