Mary E. Aitken, M.D., MPH, Director
James M. Robbins, Ph.D., Associate Director

The Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) is a multidisciplinary group of researchers including faculty representing Pediatrics, Epidemiology, Medical Sociology, Health Economics, Health Services Research, and Nutrition.  CARE is committed to improving the health of children and families through research focused on children, their families, and their communities.  Research is ongoing in three primary areas: child health services, pediatric injury prevention, and child health development and nutrition.

CARE also provides clinical services for children referred for failure to thrive, technology dependency, or developmental delays.  The Growth and Development Clinic and Medical Home Clinic for Children with Special Needs provide multi-disciplinary diagnostic services and treatment for medically complex children from Arkansas and neighboring states.

Child Health Services Research

Mary E. Aitken, M.D., MPH Pediatric Injury Prevention, General PediatricsTwo children in a clinic
Stephen M. Bowman, PhD, MHA Injury prevention, acute trauma care, health services research, traumatic brain injury, emergency medical services, health outcomes, quality improvement

Dennis Z. Kuo, M.D., MHS General Pediatrics and primary care, Medical Home, family-centered care, care systems for children with special health care needs

James M. Robbins, Ph.D. Studies of the outcomes of hospital care of children and birth defects surveillance

Joseph W. Thompson, M.D., MPH Evaluation of delivery system quality and health care policies impacting physical, developmental, and emotional well-being of children and their families

CARE houses one of the largest groups in the country devoted to child health services research. CARE faculty members study health services utilization and outcomes of health care for children and their families. Recent projects have evaluated outcomes of children following trauma, the health effects of hearing loss, quality of care in the pediatric intensive care unit, and the management of infants hospitalized with birth defects. Research has been supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau among others. Faculty participate in multi-site collaborative research networks studying the quality of hospital care, outcomes of traumatic brain injury, and the etiology of birth defects. CARE faculty has expertise in pediatrics, epidemiology, public policy, medical sociology, and health economics.

For further information on Child Health Services Research activities, please contact Dr. Robbins at

Child Health Development and Nutrition

Patrick H. Casey, M.D. Physical growth and development in high-risk preschool Two children playingchildren; intervention methods to enhance their growth and development; community interventions to improve child health and nutrition

James M. Robbins, Ph.D. Pediatric health services research, adolescent mental health outcomes studies, evidence-based medicine, child health status, chronic fatigue syndrome, attributions of illness

Judith L. Weber, Ph.D., RD Obesity prevention and intervention in school-age children and adolescents; worksite and community-based obesity prevention interventions; development of dietary and physical activity assessment methodology

CARE faculty members study the nutritional status of children and their families. Multi-site programs in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi address the nutritional and physical activity needs of children and adults in selected communities. Programs at rural worksites seek to reduce the risk of obesity by monitoring diet and establishing a community walking program to increase physical activity.  Novel studies are also underway to gauge body fat distribution of children as risk factors for subsequent illness. These programs are sponsored by grants from the United States Department of Agriculture/Agriculture Research Service and internal awards from UAMS.

CARE also participates in the national Children’s Health Watch Program funded by the Kellogg Foundation. Children’s Health Watch is a multi-site research study evaluates the impact over time of Welfare reform on the health and nutrition status of young children and food security of their families.

For further information on Nutrition Research activities, please contact Dr. Casey at

Pediatric Injury Prevention

Mary E. Aitken, M.D., MPH Pediatric Injury Prevention, General Pediatrics

CARE is home to the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  Goals Family on a walkof the IPC are to reduce unintentional injury-related deaths and disability among the children and youth of Arkansas. Strategies include research, public awareness and education, professional training, and identification of evidence-based policies to promote safety in motor vehicles, in recreation, and in the home. Particular focus areas for Arkansas include the increased and proper use of seatbelts and car seats for children, safer teenage driving initiatives, and the safe operation of all-terrain vehicles.

Injury Prevention Center Activities

Associated Programs

CARE provides professional support, administrative support, and professional services for children referred for failure to thrive or developmental delays.  The Growth and Development Clinic and Medical Home Clinic for Children with Special Needs provide multidisciplinary diagnostic and treatment services for medically complex children from Arkansas and neighboring states.  In addition, CARE faculty members provide inpatient consultation on children with developmental delay and complex medical issues.

Under the direction of John Chelonis, Ph.D., CARE provides administrative support for the Complex Brain Function Lab (in association with NCTR) that compares the behavior of normal children with those having diagnosed psychological or physiological conditions.

Contact information

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Pediatrics/CARE   Slot 512-26
Arkansas Children’s Hospital
1 Children’s Way
Little Rock, AR   72202

Phone 501.364.3300
FAX 501.364.1552

CARE faculty members maintain a close affiliation with the Complex Brain Function Lab, Division of Biostatistics, Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, UAMS College of Public Health, and Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

Additional links:

Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
Injury Prevention Center
Center for Birth Defects Research
Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
Child Health Corporation of America