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Foster Health Lab

The Foster Health Lab’s mission is to improve the health and participation of children with medical complexity and disability in a family-centered manner.

The lab’s methods span traditional health services research, health care policy analysis, quality measurement development, and health service innovation and implementation.

In particular, the lab focuses on improving how home and community-based services benefit patients and their families. To achieve this, the lab partners with families from project design through implementation.

Our Team

Principal Investigator: Carolyn C. Foster, MD, MSHS. See Dr. Foster's clinical profile.

Lu Morales, MA, Behavioral Research Coordinator II
Anna De Sonia, CCRC, Lead Clinical Research Coordinator
Aneta M. Jedraszko, MPH, Clinical Research Coordinator III

Project Topics to Date

  • Innovative in-home pediatric health care delivery using patient generated health-data (PGHD) & remote home monitoring (RHM)
  • Evaluation of government regulations and health care programs administering pediatric home health care, respite, and paid family caregiving
  • Development of validated quality measures of pediatric home health care
  • Evaluation and expansion of local pediatric home and community services programming
  • Impact of caregiving on family economy and health

Lab Research Highlights

HOMeVent4Kids: Home-based Optimization of Mechanical Ventilation for Children


Funders: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health and Children’s Research Fund Junior Board (CRFJB) Research Scholar Award

Description: The goals of this grant are to understand the patient, family caregiver, and health system level factors that affect how long children need to use home ventilation (breathing machines) and to develop and pilot a feasible, family-centered, and clinical useful remote monitoring system for in-home ventilation management. See additional details.

Paid Family Caregiving for Children with Medical Complexity: Characterization of a Working Multi-State Care Model

Funder: Children with Special Health Care Needs Research Network, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Description: The goal of this project is to characterize the patients and employees in Colorado’s Medicaid-based paid-family certified nursing assistant (CNA) home healthcare program, as working model of paid family caregiving for children with medical complexity.

Development of a Patient and Caregiver Reported Instrument of the Access to and Quality of Home Health Care for Children with Medical Complexity

Funder: Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

Description: The goal of this project is to develop a validated family-reported instrument to evaluate the access and quality of home care services for children with medical complexity.

Advancing a Family-Centered Evidence-Base for Pediatric Home Health Care

Funder: Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

Description: The goal of this project is to generate high-quality evidence regarding how state-level policies affect access to pediatric home health services, via a special partnership between Foster Health Lab and Family Voices.

Achieving Equitable Participation for All Children: Assessing Access to Home and Community Based Services at Lurie Children's

Funder: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Community Health Grants

Description: The major goal of this project is to conduct a current state assessment of Lurie Children’s patients requiring home- and community-based services, including current structures and processes for referral/linkage, best practices, and gaps/needs.


  1. Foster CC, Mangione-Smith R, Simon TD. “Caring for Children with Medical Complexity:  Perspectives of Primary Care Providers.” J Pediatr. 2016 Dec 2; 182: 275–282. PMID: 27916424.
  2. Foster CC, Jacob-Files E, Arthur KC, Hillman SA, Mangione-Smith, R. “Provider Perspectives of High Quality Pediatric Hospital-to-Home Transitions for Children and Youth with Chronic Disease.” Hosp Pediatr. 2017 Nov;7(11):649-659. PMID: 29038132.
  3. Sobodtka SA, Foster CC, Lynch E, Hirt-McCorry LH, Goodman DM. “Attributable Delay of Discharge for Children with Long-term Mechanical Ventilation.”  J Pediatr. 2019 May 29. PMID: 31153586.
  4. Foster CC, Agrawal RK, Davis MM. “Home Healthcare for Children and Youth with Medical Complexity: Workforce Gaps, Policy Challenges, and Future Directions. Health Aff (Millwood). 2019 Jun;38(6):987-993. PMID: 31158008.
  5. Foster CC, Kwon SK, Whitlow L, Cullen CP, Agrawal RK, Goodman G, Davis MM. “Connecting Hospital to Home:  Characteristics of and Re-hospitalization Rates in Hospitalized Children with Private Duty Nursing.” Hosp Pediatr. 2019 Jul;9(7):530-537. PMID: 31189643.
  6. Schall TE, Foster CC, Feudtner C. “Safe Work-Hour Standards for Parents of Children With Medical Complexity.” JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(1):7-8. PMID: 31710356.
  7. Foster CC, Fuentes MM, Wadlington L, Jacob-Files E, Desai AD, Simon TD, Mangione-Smith R. “Caregiver and Provider Experiences of Home Healthcare Quality for Children with Medical Complexity.” Home Healthcare Now. 2020 May/Jun;38(3):138-146. PMID: 32358441.
  8. Foster CC, Simon TD, Qu P, Holmes P, Chang J, Ramos J, Koutlas A, Rivara FP, Melzer SM, Mangione-Smith R. “Social Determinants of Health and Emergency and Hospital Use by Children with Chronic Disease.” Hosp Pediatr. 2020 Jun;10(6):471-480. PMID: 32423995.
  9. Wang G, Wang G, Wignall J, Kinard D, Singh V, Foster CC, Adams S, Pratt W, Desai AD. An Implementation Model for Managing Cloud-Based Longitudinal Care Plans for Children with Medical Complexity. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2020 Nov 5:ocaa207. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocaa207. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33150404.
  10. Foster CC, Shaunfield S, Black LE, Labellarte PZ, Davis MM. Improving Support for Care at Home:  Parental Needs and Preferences When Caring for Children with Medical Complexity. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Accepted for publication 8/20/20. PMID: Pending.
  11. Foster CC, Steltzer M, Synder A, Alden A, Helner K, Schinasi DA, Bohling K, Allen K. Integrated Multimodality Telemedicine to Enhance In-Home Care of Infants During the Interstage Period. Pediatric Cardiology. Pediatr Cardiol. 2020 Oct 20: 1–12. PMID: 33079264.
  12. Foster CC, Fuentes MM, Wadlington L, Jacob-Files E, Desai AD, Simon TD, Mangione-Smith R. “Caregiver and Provider Experiences of Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy for Children with Medical Complexity.” Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. Accepted for publication February 8th, 2021.
  13. Boggs EF, Foster CC, Shah PC, Goodman DM, Hall M, and Garfield CF. “Trends in Technology Assistance Among Patients with Childhood Onset Chronic Conditions.” Hospital Pediatrics. Accepted for publication. March 12th, 2021.

Contact Us

Please contact us for any questions or additional information at FosterLab@luriechildrens.org