Child Health Data Laboratory (CHDL)

The Child Health Data Lab (CHDL) performs epidemiological research to identify risks to healthy youth development and to evaluate programs to strengthen youth-serving organizations. We collaborate with state and city agencies as well as youth-serving organizations to define public policy solutions that support healthy development for children and youth in Chicago and Illinois, with a broader goal of improving child and adolescent well-being. We work closely with the Injury Prevention and Research Center and the Office of Child Advocacy.

Because public health data systems in Illinois do not adequately describe risks to health development for youth, CHDL is integrally involved with building better data systems. CHDL spearheaded the development of the Illinois Health Survey which is a new data system designed to expand youth health surveillance in Illinois. The youth portion of the survey covers chronic conditions, learning disabilities, mental health conditions and socio-economic status. Review our findings from the pilot Illinois Health Survey conducted in Chicago in the fall of 2008.

Research Projects

SCRIPTS: State & Community Reports on Injury Prevalence & Targeted Solutions

CHDL epidemiologists currently research topics in injury prevention using COMPdata, the hospital discharge data system run by the Illinois Hospital Association. Data briefs are distributed to key stakeholders, including policy makers and advocates, throughout Illinois via a listserv. If you are interested in joining the listserv, please e-mail Tracie Smith.

Illinois and Chicago Youth Risk Behavior Surveys

CHDL epidemiologists use YRBS data to explore topics of interest to Lurie Children's and Chicago Public Schools. Data briefs are distributed to key stakeholders, including policy makers and advocates, throughout Illinois via a listserv. If you are interested in joining the listserv, please e-mail Tracie Smith.

Illinois Health Survey

CHDL took the lead on creating the Illinois Health Survey. To date, there have been three rounds of data collection in the city of Chicago. Data briefs are distributed to key stakeholders, including policy makers and advocates, throughout Illinois via a listserv. If you are interested in joining the listserv, please e-mail Tracie Smith.

Developing Mental Health Systems for Youth in Southeastern Illinois

CHDL has been working in Southeastern Illinois to evaluate several different interventions for over 10 years. Currently we are evaluating Project Connect, a System of Care housed at the Egyptian Health Department whose mission is to increase access to mental health services for children and youth living in the three county area (Gallatin, Saline and White counties). 

Evaluation of the Health Design Study and Crown Sky Garden

CHDL took the lead in a study that compares patients’ experiences in our old hospital to those in the new hospital to see which design elements affect their stay. Data collection in the new hospital has been recently completed and results are expected this fall. Additionally, CHDL is evaluating the Crown Sky Garden in order to determine if the space reduces patient and family stress.

Group Members/Staff

  • Tracie L. Smith, MPH, Assistant Director, CHDL
  • Holly Ruch-Ross, ScD, Evaluator/Outside consultant
  • Elizabeth Cooley, MPH, Program Coordinator
  • Davida R. Kay, Administrative Assistant
  • Kate Spitzer-Cohn, BS, Research Assistant