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  Study Highlights Ongoing Pediatric Health Care Needs in the Nation’s Capital
November 20, 2009

Children’s National Medical Center and the RAND Corporation release a groundbreaking report to use in planning programs designed to have the greatest impact for kids in the community.

For immediate release: October 8, 2009

RAND Report: Health and Health Care Among District of Columbia Youth
Washington, DC – Children’s National Medical Center released its Pediatric Health Needs Assessment, which was conducted by the RAND Corporation. The report called Health and Health Care among District of Columbia Youth, demonstrates that gaps in care and services persist for children in the District despite high levels of health coverage. The study findings point to the need for broadly inclusive partnerships across agencies, providers, and the government to address serious and unmet pediatric health care needs. The RAND study assesses the health status and health care services for the more than 100,000 youth (ages 0-17) residing in Washington, DC.

Among the report’s extensive findings:

  • The District of Columbia leads the nation in children with health coverage, with only an estimated 3.5 percent uninsured children in DC in 2007 vs 9.1 percent uninsured nationally.
  • However, despite high levels of coverage, many barriers keep children from receiving primary and specialty health care in community-based settings, including:
    • Uneven distribution of primary and specialty care providers across the District; and
    • Infrastructure inequities, including ease of physical access and transportation.
    • As a result, many children rely on emergency rooms and are hospitalized for conditions that could be prevented.
  • Some health issues in the District are particularly alarming, including the highest or among the highest rates in the nation of obesity, asthma, sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, adolescent pregnancy, and teen dating violence.
  • Many of these health threats are more equitably dispersed across the city than one might assume, rather than concentrated “east of the Anacostia river” in Wards 7 and 8.

“Many of the study findings are confirmatory and overall provide valid quantitative and qualitative evidence in support of a data-driven approach to public health action,” said Joseph L. Wright, MD, MPH, senior vice president of the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National. “We look forward to using this information to work collaboratively with other stakeholders to improve the health and health status for children in the District of Columbia on a community-wide basis.”

The study will inform Children’s National’s programming and community benefit work, and will be shared broadly throughout the region to foster strategic partnerships among policy makers, government agencies, schools, faith-based organizations, insurance companies, and business entities all in the name of addressing children’s health.

“The RAND Corporation has produced an unprecedented review of pediatric-specific issues in the District,” said Jacqueline D. Bowens, executive vice president and chief government and external affairs officer, Children’s National Medical Center. “Children’s National serves a unique role in the District as the largest single provider of pediatric care as well as the largest employer of specialty and primary care pediatricians. In this era of health reform, it is important to remember that health care is not a one size fits all proposition. Health care reform must take into account the unique needs of children and their providers and recognize that coverage doesn’t guarantee access to care. We must address Medicaid payments for pediatric providers, workforce shortages in pediatric specialties and nursing, medical malpractice reform and the barriers to care that these challenges create. By addressing these and other findings in the report, we will ensure that all children have access to the right care at the right time and in the right setting.”

Commissioned by Children’s National and conducted by RAND, the report is the first of its kind done in the metropolitan area. The report’s methodology is based on a unique blend of quantitative and qualitative data sources that provide a nuanced and previously unavailable picture of the health status of children in the District. The complete study can be found at and at

“Children’s National is already partnering with organizations across the District, and provides a great deal of community-based public health work through its research and advocacy institutes, its community clinics, mobile vans, networks of pediatricians, and partnerships with multiple health government agencies,” said David Catania, at-large, District of Columbia city councilmember, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Health. “This report shines a light on important work that remains to be done and helps all of us better direct our resources to serve the children of the District. We applaud Children’s National for commissioning this study that is already shaping community action.”

Contacts: Paula Darte/Susan Muma: 202-476-4500.


About Children’s National Medical Center
Children's National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a proven leader in the development of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury. Children’s has been serving the nation's children for more than 135 years. Children’s National is proudly ranked among the best pediatric hospitals in America by US News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit Children’s Research Institute, the academic arm of Children’s National Medical Center, encompasses the translational, clinical, and community research efforts of the institution. Learn more about our research programs at

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Related Links:

 Children's Pediatric Health Needs Assessment - RAND Report
 Download Pediatric Health Needs Assessment report - Executive Summary (PDF)
 Download Pediatric Health Needs Assessment report - Full Report (PDF)
 Sign up for more information and updates on Children's National's response to the Pediatric Health Needs Assessment

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