Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Children’s Population Health Program Summary


The mission of the SIU School of Medicine Children’s Population Health Program will be to use the latest advances in research design, program development, and community organization to improve the health of the children and families of central and southern Illinois.


SIU School of Medicine’s Children’s Population Health Program will be a preeminent national and international voice in the population health and development of children and their families. Based on the work of its distinguished faculty, the introductory programs and interventions will evolve into a Center dedicated to being a leading innovator in children’s population health. The Program will use its research, scholarship, and innovation to shape public policy and advise hospital and clinical systems, government, and industry on the best means to improve population health. The Program will never forget the mission of its medical school and use the its faculty and resources to teach the SOM medical students, physician assistants, and public health students knowledge and corresponding strategies to improve the health of children and their families


The Children’s Population Health Program (CPHP) was created in December 2015 to bring together members of SIU SOM’s talented faculty and staff to help improve the health of children and families. CPHP plans to focus its research, scholarship, and innovation around three priorities: 1) Data Acquisition and Analysis; 2) Disease Focused Population Health Strategies; and 3) Systems Based Population Health Solutions.

CPHP is planning to begin its Data Acquisition and Analysis Priority by working with University Computer Scientists to use big data analytics that can decipher medical records and find patterns and trends on the health of our region. The Program’s Disease Focused Population Health Strategies Priority has begun with two projects focused on environmental and community strategies on the most prevalent childhood diseases: children’s asthma and children’s obesity.

The Program will be focusing its Systems Based Population Health Solutions on rural based strategies to help improve baby brain development and mitigate toxic stress for our region’s most vulnerable children. With the help of regional, state, and national partners, the CPHP Program hopes to create system-based science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for rural children facing adversity. Modeled off of the work of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, the Program is concentrating on building capacity in the parents of vulnerable children.

A couple of CPHP’s most innovative programs are as follows:

  1. Premature Baby Home Visitation Program – Use a home health program targeted to meet the health needs and parenting education of severely premature children and their families.
  2. Children’s Asthma Program – Use data analytics to target neighborhoods with the most children at risk for uncontrolled asthma and use innovating technology and home asthma actions plans to reduce environmental triggers that cause severe asthma attacks.


Strategic Priorities

  1. Forming a Talented Multi-Disciplinary Team - Recruit talented faculty, as well as build local and national collaborations to improve the population health of children and families.
  2. Professional and Community Engagement - Create relationships with local hospitals, community organizations, foundations (local and national), and legislators to fulfill our mission and vision.
  3. Research, Scholarship and Innovation - Create sustainable, responsive and mission-based research and intervention strategy designed to increase knowledge of population health trends, decrease rates of pediatric diseases, and improve the development outcomes of children in our region.
  4. Policy Formation and Advocacy - Use the findings of their innovative research and scholarship to write and recommend policy changes to local hospital systems, public health departments, and state and national government.
  5. Education - Use its faculty to teach medical students and other health professional students children and family based population health knowledge and strategies
  6. Brand and Image - Develop a consistent, effective image in the region and in the medical and scientific community.


Philanthropic Need

CPHP provides a focus on the population health of children and families that is new to central and southern Illinois. With a mission focused on building relationships with SIU’s service region of 66 counties and over 2 million people, the CPHP is striving for innovative research and policy change that will improve the lifetime trajectory of the most vulnerable children in central and southern Illinois. Donations to the CPHP during this critical moment would be remembered in our founding mission/logo and could have an immediate impact in the following areas.

  1. Providing the Program’s Founding Infrastructure – Initial donations will allow the Program to hire the essential staff to build community alliances and complement the work of our faculty.
  2. Seed Funding for Pilot Projects – As the Program launches, we are seeking seed funding to help launch pilot projects in Big Data Analytics, Children’s Asthma, Premature Baby Home Visitation Programs, Baby Brain Development, and Childhood Obesity. Each of these projects could be substantially helped by seed funding to help us launch interventions in our communities.
  3. Marketing and Promotion – Our Program needs to find trusted partners in businesses, philanthropy, and government to make the impact that we seek. Donations will allow for the creation of a brand that will allow for future investment and success.

Summary of Philanthropic Impact

“Children are the world’s most valuable resources and its best hope for the future." These words by President John F. Kennedy help drive the work of the SIU School of Medicine Children and Families Population Health & Policy Program. Our faculty and staff strongly believe in protecting the dreams of children in central and southern Illinois, especially those most vulnerable. We believe that the latest advances in research design, program development, and community organization can change the lifetime trajectory of vulnerable children so they can lead healthy, happy, and successful lives. For too long, children in central and southern Illinois have not been given the resources and attention to thrive. The SIU SOM CPHP plans to give these kids and their families the tools they need to succeed.