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Christina D. Bethell, PhD

  • Director, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative
  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room E4152
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative
National Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health

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PhD, University of Chicago, 1996
MBA, University of California, Berkeley, 1990
MPH, University of California, Berkeley, 1990


Since 1996, Dr. Bethell has been a national leader in the development of policy, practice and research applications of population health and systems performance measurement and family and community centered improvement methods. As founding director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) and the National Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health (, a project supported through HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau, she has initiated and led the collaborative development, validation and national, state and local implementation and IT based public reporting of child, family and community health and health systems performance measurement tools.

The CAHMI has been a visionary research, policy and translational resource, leading all phases in the collaborative design, testing and implementation of innovative, family-centered measurement approaches to build knowledge and shape and drive systems improvement for children, youth and families at the national, state and local levels. This includes the design, testing and national integration of the National Survey of Children’s Health, which happens annually as of 2016 and focuses on national outcome and performance measures. She has previously worked on the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey for children with special health care needs survey, the National Health Interview Survey Complementary and Alternative Medicine Supplement and a range of nationally endorsed health systems performance and health care outcomes measures used in national surveys.

Dr. Bethell’s special focus is on assessing and building knowledge related to positive health development, social and emotional well-being and family and community health. She does this by not only leading the National Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health, but also through efforts to develop, test and disseminate family-driven quality measurement and improvement tools such as the Well Visit Planner and Promoting Healthy Development Survey, two components of CAHMI’s Cycle of Engagement tools. She also advocates for policy reform and is currently advocating for trauma screening and trauma informed practices in multiple states (e.g. her work with Proposition 64 in California). Dr. Bethell is passionate about enabling data-driven partnerships and translating the new brain sciences, mindfulness and other mind-body methods to transform health and related services, with a focus on promoting self and community led healing, addressing childhood trauma, promoting positive health and advancing High Reliability Organizations. She earned an MBA and MPH from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago.

Honors and Awards


Association of Maternal and Child Health John MacQueen Award


MCH National Outstanding Leadership Award


Family Voices National Angel Award


Irving B. Harris Public Policy Fellowship, Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy


Stull Award, University of California, Berkeley. For the outstanding master’s thesis in health services administration graduate program


Annual Leadership Award, Women Health Care Executives of Northern California


UCLA Alumni Scholarship – University of California, Los Angeles


Vision Award, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Yearly Award to Recognize Youth Leaders

  • Child Health
  • Adolescent Health
  • Family Health
  • Childhood Trauma and Resilience
  • Trauma-informed Policy
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Child Development
  • Survey Research
  • Epidemiology
  • Population Health
  • Accountability and Performance Measurement Creation and Improvement
  • Econometrics
  • Health Policy
  • Mindfulness
  • Neuroscience

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Bethell CD, Gombojav N, Whitaker RC. Family Resilience and Connection Promotes Flourishing Among US Children, Even Amidst Adversity. Health Affairs. (May, 2019)
  • Hirai AH, Kogan MD, Kandasamy V, Reuland C, Bethell C. Prevalence and Variation of Developmental Screening and Surveillance in Early Childhood. JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(9):857–866. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.1524
  • Bethell CD, Solloway MR, Guinossa S, Hassink S, Srivastav A, Ford D, Simpson LA. (2017). Prioritizing Possibilities for Child and Family Health: An Agenda to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences and Foster the Social and Emotional Roots of Well-being in Pediatrics. Academic Pediatrics, 17(7S):S36-S50. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.06.002.
  • Bethell, C. D., Carle, A., Hudziak, J., Gombojav, N., Powers, K., Wade, R., & Braveman, P. (2017). Methods to Assess Adverse Childhood Experiences of Children and Families: Toward Approaches to Promote Child Well-being in Policy and Practice. Academic pediatrics, 17(7S), S51-S69.
  • Bethell CD, Kennedy S, Martinez-Vidal E. Simpson L. Payment for Progress: Investing to Catalyze Child and Family Well-Being Using Personalized and Integrated Strategies to Address Social and Emotional Determinants of Health. CHA (2018)
  • Building on the momentum for trauma-responsive policies and approaches to promote thriving and healing among vulnerable and diverse Californians
  • Engaging Families to Improve the Quality and Outcomes of Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN): A Planning Tool for Pediatric Care.
  • Leveraging Progress to Advance a Culture of Health
  • Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network
  • National Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health