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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
MCH Measurement In Action

View Current Courses


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


For the past 35 years Dr. Bethell has built her work and career around an intentional goal to catalyze health care and public health transformation at the policy, systems and practice levels. This has been driven by an unwavering focus on advancing a whole-person, whole-family and whole-community model of care that engages patients and the public, is transparent, continuously learning and collaborative. 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 and outcomes.

Dr. Bethell has maintained a consistent focus on assessing and building knowledge related to positive health development, social and emotional well-being and family and community health. She also advocates for policy reform and is currently advocating for a positive health development, healing-centered and trauma informed approaches nationally and in state and local areas. 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.

Dr. Bethell's current areas of focus include:

1. Promoting early and lifelong health of children, families and communities using patient/family centered data and tools that inform and drive transformational partnerships, innovation and improved health and well-being nationally and in state and local areas.

2. Integrating the sciences of human development, neuroscience and thriving into the training and practice of medicine. Specifically, to advance a relationship-centered, positive construct of health that fully engages patients, families, youth and communities to impact the social, emotional and behavioral determinants of health and improve health outcomes.

3. Putting patients, families and communities at the center of health services quality measurement and improvement and population health and equity improvement.

4. Advancing payment, performance measurement and systems reform to support a transformed health care system focused on population health, equity and well-being at all levels

5. Building research and evidence based advocacy resources and building capacity of the workforce to advance continued knowledge and innovations effective in promoting a whole-person, whole-family and whole-community construct of health and well-being.

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
  • Positive Health
  • Flourishing
  • Systems Change
  • 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, Jones J, Gombojav N, Linkenbach J, Sege R Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample Associations Across Adverse Childhood Experiences Levels. JAMA Pediatrics. (September 2019)
  • Bethell CD, Gombojav N, Whitaker RC. Family Resilience and Connection Promotes Flourishing Among US Children, Even Amidst Adversity. Health Affairs. (May, 2019)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Building evidence for relationship-centered approaches to engage families as partners in whole-child, equitable, and integrated well-child care
  • 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
  • Leveraging progress to promote the early and lifelong health of children, youth and families
  • Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network
  • National Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health