Neal Halfon, MD, MPH is founding director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, and also directs the Child and Family Health Leadership and Training Program in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Halfon is professor of pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and public policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
For more than two decades Dr. Halfon has been instrumental in advancing research, policy and systems innovations focused on the healthy development of children at local, national and international levels. As a major thought leader in children’s health policy and health systems change, Dr. Halfon has played a role in shaping US health policy and reform since the late 1990s.He played a critical part in conducting data and policy analysis that paved the way for the passage of the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 1997, and was also recruited by the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to help design the original SCHIP evaluation. In 1999 he co-chaired the national consensus conference that was hosted by Association for Health Services Research (now Academy Health) to develop a national research agenda on improving the quality of child health care in the US. In 2003, Dr. Halfon worked with former Vice President Gore (a visiting professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs from 2001)on the creation and leadership of the Blue Sky Health Initiative (BSHI), a collaborative group of health policy researchers examining the potential for systemic reform in the American healthcare system. BSHI played a catalytic role in advancing emerging notions of population health and community accountable health systems. As a result of this work, Dr. Halfon was asked to participate in one of the White House briefings for health policy leaders that contributed to shaping the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In August of 2013 he was invited to the White House to discuss issues regarding health and inequality, and in December 2014 he was invited to participate in the White House “Invest in US” meeting focused on improving early childhood education and development.
In addition to his contributions at the executive level, Dr. Halfon regularly works with local, state, and national policymakers to launch new initiatives, and continues to actively consult with states on a range of children’s policy initiatives including a series of briefings to the state commissioners of health, social welfare, and child protection in Connecticut in 2012.
From 1996-2004, he directed the federally-funded National Center for Infancy and Early Childhood Health Policy and helped to design and launch the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s state Early Childhood Comprehensive System grants that provided funding and guidance for state-level early childhood systems building efforts. He continues to actively work with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s effort to implement the national Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation program, providing consultation at the national level and directly with several states.
Dr. Halfon currently directs tTransforming Early Childhood Community Systems (TECCS) Initiative that is working with more than 50 communities across the US to help them launch data- informed innovations that improve early childhood development and school readiness. The TECCS communities are partnering with different local, state and national efforts from Project Launch to Strive to elevate the visibility of early childhood outcomes, and to focus more attention on cross-sector approaches to achieving lasting gains.
Dr. Halfon’s research has revealed that simple models of community development cannot account for the complex reality that living, evolving communities undergo and experience. In January of 2015, leveraging successful cross-sector strategies using TECCS data and approaches, Dr. Halfon convened policymakers, foundations, and local leaders in a national symposium, hosted by the Urban Institute where he is an affiliated scholar, to set the agenda for cross-sector alignment to improve human capital.
Dr. Halfon has spearheaded conceptual models and measurement frameworks of health development, shaped the national research agenda on children’s health, and catalyzed collaborative health systems change efforts. The Life Course Health Development model has been used to inform new approaches to health promotion, disease prevention, and developmental optimization; and was adopted by the federal MCH Bureau in 2010 as a key organizing focus for its 10 year strategic plan, giving rise to several new initiatives there, including the Life Course Research Network (LCRN), launched in 2010. Dr. Halfon’s work on the LCRN has included development of a national research agenda, including the research agenda-setting meeting that the LCRN convened in the spring 2013, and supported advancement of research focused on life course health development. In October 2017 Springer released the Handbook of Life Course Health Development, edited by Halfon, and colleagues Christopher Forrest, Richard Lerner and Elaine Faustman. Dr. Halfon has presented his life course health inspired notions of health system transformation at national and international forums including the Aspen Institutes Child Health Forum, NICHD’s 50th anniversary science colloquium, and key notes at several international meetings.
Dr. Halfon has also developed the 3.0 Health System Transformation Framework (3.0TF), another conceptual effort to understand the drivers of health system change and to determine strategies to transform the current health system into one that is more effective at optimizing the health of the entire population, reducing health care expenditures, and reducing health disparities. The 3.0TF was adopted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) in 2011, as an explanatory model to help frame their efforts to support and catalyze innovation. The 3.0 TF is now being used by several states as they formulate CMS-sponsored innovation strategies (as part of the CMS/CMMI State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative).
Advancing ideas of 3.0 transformations, Dr. Halfon has spearheaded several major national collaborative effort, to utilize the implementation of the ACA as a way to catalyze more widespread improvement in child health and health care systems. The Moving Health Care Upstream (MHCU) initiative is an ambitious project funded by the Kresge Foundation, designed to help health care providers, health systems and communities address those social and behavioral factors that determine many health outcomes. The MHCU initiative is beginning to establish collaborative improvement and innovation networks (COIINs) to provide a structure for ensuring health system cohesion and to support ongoing collaborative innovation.
All Children Thrive (ACT) is another initiaitve that is working to use 3.0 health system innovation strategies to substantially improve the health of children in the US. ( see www.allchildrenthrive.org)
Dr. Halfon also served as a member of the Board on Children, Youth and Families of the National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) from 2001-2006, and also served on the IOM/NRC Committee on Child Health to evaluate how children’s health should be measured in the US, for which he also contributed to the volume, Children’s Health, the Nation’s Wealth. In 1999 he co-chaired the Association for Health Services Research's agenda-setting conference, Improving the Quality of Health Care for Children, which generated the research agenda that was included in the legislation re-authorizing the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2000. In 2006, the Academic Pediatric Association awarded Dr. Halfon its annual Research Award in recognition of his lifetime achievement in the field of child health research.
Beginning in 1998, Dr. Halfon constituted and led a collaborative team that included representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Center for Health Statistics, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, and CDC's National Immunization Program to develop, design, launch, and analyze the 2000 National Survey of Children's Health (NSECH). The NSECH is the first national survey focused exclusively on the health, health care, and health promoting behaviors that young children in the US experience. The NSECH served as the prototype for the National Survey of Children’s Health. . He also has served on the Pediatric Measurement Advisory Panel for the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA); Foundation for Accountability (FACCT) (1999-2002); Committee on Child Health Financing for the American Academy of Pediatrics (1993-1998); and on expert panels for the National Commission on Children (1991); MCHB's Bright Futures project; Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Panel on Child Health Services Research; Bureau of Health Professions' Panel on Primary Care; and Carnegie Commission on Early Childhood.
Dr. Halfon’s teaching focus over the past several years has included innovative training programs and the integration of these training programs into a new health professional training pathway. The Child and Family Health Program he directs provides a unique policy and service system delivery focus, grounded in community-based experience for health professionals in pediatrics, OBGYN, dentistry, nutrition, and social work.
Dr. Halfon's primary research interests include the specific social, environmental, behavioral and biological determinants of children’s health and development over the life course, comprehensive early childhood systems, complexity science and health systems change, improvement science, collaborative innovation, access to care for low-income children, and delivery of health services to children with special health care needs, with a particular interest in abused and neglected children in the foster care system. A selected list of research publications, editorials, commentaries and op eds are provided below.
Schickedanz Adam, Dreyer Benard P, Halfon Neal Childhood Poverty: Understanding and Preventing the Adverse Impacts of a Most-Prevalent Risk to Pediatric Health and Well-Being Pediatric clinics of North America, 2015; 62(5): 1111-35.
Larson Kandyce, Russ Shirley A, Nelson Bergen B, Olson Lynn M, Halfon Neal Cognitive ability at kindergarten entry and socioeconomic status Pediatrics, 2015; 135(2): e440-8.
Szilagyi Moira, Halfon Neal Pediatric Adverse Childhood Experiences: Implications for Life Course Health Trajectories Academic pediatrics, 2015; 15(5): 467-8.
Russ Shirley A, Larson Kandyce, Tullis Ericka, Halfon Neal A lifecourse approach to health development: implications for the maternal and child health research agenda Maternal and child health journal, 2014; 18(2): 497-510.
Bethell Christina D, Newacheck Paul, Hawes Eva, Halfon Neal Adverse childhood experiences: assessing the impact on health and school engagement and the mitigating role of resilience Health affairs (Project Hope), 2014; 33(12): 2106-15.
Halfon Neal, Long Peter, Chang Debbie I, Hester James, Inkelas Moira, Rodgers Anthony Applying a 3.0 transformation framework to guide large-scale health system reform Health affairs (Project Hope), 2014; 33(11): 2003-11.
Houtrow Amy J, Larson Kandyce, Olson Lynn M, Newacheck Paul W, Halfon Neal Changing trends of childhood disability, 2001-2011 Pediatrics, 2014; 134(3): 530-8.
Fry-Bowers Eileen K, Nicholas William, Halfon Neal Children's health care and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: what's at stake? JAMA pediatrics, 2014; 168(6): 505-6.
Halfon Neal, Larson Kandyce, Lu Michael, Tullis Ericka, Russ Shirley Lifecourse health development: past, present and future Maternal and child health journal, 2014; 18(2): 344-65.
Cheng Tina L, Wise Paul H, Halfon Neal Promise and perils of the Affordable Care Act for children JAMA, 2014; 311(17): 1733-4.
Cheng Tina L, Wise Paul H, Halfon Neal Quality health care for children and the Affordable Care Act: a voltage drop checklist Pediatrics, 2014; 134(4): 794-802.
Halfon Neal Socioeconomic influences on child health: building new ladders of social opportunity JAMA, 2014; 311(9): 915-7.
Halfon Neal, Wise Paul H, Forrest Christopher B The changing nature of children's health development: new challenges require major policy solutions Health affairs (Project Hope), 2014; 33(12): 2116-24.
Halfon Neal, Larson Kandyce, Slusser Wendy Associations between obesity and comorbid mental health, developmental, and physical health conditions in a nationally representative sample of US children aged 10 to 17 Academic pediatrics, 2013; 13(1): 6-13.
Halfon Neal, Conway Patrick H The opportunities and challenges of a lifelong health system The New England journal of medicine, 2013; 368(17): 1569-71.
Halfon Neal, Kuo Alice A What DSM-5 Could Mean to Children With Autism and Their Families JAMA pediatrics, 2013; 1-6.
Russ Shirley A, Larson Kandyce, Halfon Neal A national profile of childhood epilepsy and seizure disorder Pediatrics, 2012; 129(2): 256-64.
Halfon Neal Addressing health inequalities in the US: a life course health development approach Social science & medicine (1982), 2012; 74(5): 671-3.
Halfon Neal, Verhoef Philip A, Kuo Alice A Childhood antecedents to adult cardiovascular disease Pediatrics in review / American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012; 33(2): 51-60; quiz 61.
Larson Kandyce, Halfon Neal Parental divorce and adult longevity International journal of public health, 2012; .
Halfon Neal, Houtrow Amy, Larson Kandyce, Newacheck Paul W The changing landscape of disability in childhood The Future of children / Center for the Future of Children, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, 2012; 22(1): 13-42.
Halfon Neal, Stevens Gregory D, Larson Kandyce, Olson Lynn M Duration of a well-child visit: association with content, family-centeredness, and satisfaction Pediatrics, 2011; 128(4): 657-64.
Kuo Alice A, Inkelas Moira, Slusser Wendelin M, Maidenberg Molly, Halfon Neal Introduction of solid food to young infants Maternal and child health journal, 2011; 15(8): 1185-94.
Larson Kandyce, Russ Shirley A, Kahn Robert S, Halfon Neal Patterns of comorbidity, functioning, and service use for US children with ADHD, 2007 Pediatrics, 2011; 127(3): 462-70.
Bethell Christina, Reuland Colleen, Schor Edward, Abrahms Melinda, Halfon Neal Rates of parent-centered developmental screening: disparities and links to services access Pediatrics, 2011; 128(1): 146-55.
Lu Michael C, Kotelchuck Milton, Hogan Vijaya, Jones Loretta, Wright Kynna, Halfon Neal Closing the Black-White gap in birth outcomes: a life-course approach Ethnicity & disease, 2010; 20(1 Suppl 2): S2-62-76.
Halfon Neal, Newacheck Paul W Evolving notions of childhood chronic illness JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 2010; 303(7): 665-6.
Regalado Michael, Larson Kandyce, Wissow Lawrence S, Halfon Neal Factors associated with discipline counseling for parents of infants and young children Academic pediatrics, 2010; 10(5): 353-9.
Larson Kandyce, Halfon Neal Family income gradients in the health and health care access of US children Maternal and child health journal, 2010; 14(3): 332-42.
Halfon Neal, Lu Michael C Gestational weight gain and birthweight Lancet, 2010; 376(9745): 937-8.
Fuller Bruce, Bein Edward, Bridges Margaret, Halfon Neal, Jung Sunyoung, Rabe-Hesketh Sophia, Kuo Alice Maternal practices that influence Hispanic infants' health and cognitive growth Pediatrics, 2010; 125(2): e324-32.
Halfon Neal, Stanley Lisa, DuPlessis Helen Measuring the quality of developmental services for young children: a new approach Issue brief (Commonwealth Fund), 2010; 84(5): 1-14.
Halfon Neal, Larson Kandyce, Russ Shirley Why social determinants? Healthcare quarterly (Toronto, Ont.), 2010; 14 Spec No 1(3): 8-20.
Halfon Neal, Russ Shirley, Oberklaid Frank, Bertrand Jane, Eisenstadt Naomi An international comparison of early childhood initiatives: from services to systems Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 2009; 30(5): 471-3.
Russ Shirley A, Larson Kandyce, Franke Todd Michael, Halfon Neal Associations between media use and health in US children Academic pediatrics, 2009; 9(5): 300-6.
Margolis Peter, Halfon Neal Innovation networks: a strategy to transform primary health care JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 2009; 302(13): 1461-2.
Kuo Alice A, Inkelas Moira, Maidenberg Molly, Lotstein Debra S, Samson Kyra M, Halfon Neal Pediatricians' roles in the provision of developmental services: an international study Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 2009; 30(4): 331-9.
Fuller Bruce, Bridges Margaret, Bein Edward, Jang Heeju, Jung Sunyoung, Rabe-Hesketh Sophia, Halfon Neal, Kuo Alice The health and cognitive growth of Latino toddlers: at risk or immigrant paradox? Maternal and child health journal, 2009; 13(6): 755-68.
Halfon Neal The power of building systems Paediatrics & child health, 2009; 14(10): 654-5.
Lotstein Debra S, Inkelas Moira, Hays Ron D, Halfon Neal, Brook Robert Access to care for youth with special health care needs in the transition to adulthood The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 2008; 43(1): 23-9.
Larson Kandyce, Russ Shirley A, Crall James J, Halfon Neal Influence of multiple social risks on children's health Pediatrics, 2008; 121(2): 337-44.
Halfon Neal, DuPlessis Helen, Barrett Emily Looking back at pediatrics to move forward in obstetrics Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology, 2008; 20(6): 566-73.
Raghavan Ramesh, Inkelas Moira, Franke Todd, Halfon Neal Administrative barriers to the adoption of high-quality mental health services for children in foster care: a national study Administration and policy in mental health, 2007; 34(3): 191-201.
Mistry Ritesh, Stevens Gregory D, Sareen Harvinder, De Vogli Roberto, Halfon Neal Parenting-related stressors and self-reported mental health of mothers with young children American journal of public health, 2007; 97(7): 1261-8.
Halfon Neal, DuPlessis Helen, Inkelas Moira Transforming the U.S. child health system Health affairs (Project Hope), 2007; 26(2): 315-30.
Stevens Gregory D, Seid Michael, Mistry Ritesh, Halfon Neal Disparities in primary care for vulnerable children: the influence of multiple risk factors Health services research, 2006; 41(2): 507-31.
Stevens Gregory D, Seid Michael, Halfon Neal Enrolling vulnerable, uninsured but eligible children in public health insurance: association with health status and primary care access Pediatrics, 2006; 117(4): e751-9.
Pasztor Eileen Mayers, Hollinger David Swanson, Inkelas Moira, Halfon Neal Health and mental health services for children in foster care: the central role of foster parents Child welfare, 2006; 85(1): 33-57.
Kuo Alice A, Inkelas Moira, Lotstein Debra S, Samson Kyra M, Schor Edward L, Halfon Neal Rethinking well-child care in the United States: an international comparison Pediatrics, 2006; 118(4): 1692-702.
Russ Shirley, Halfon Neal Early identification of language delays--are we there yet? Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 2005; 26(4): 304-6; discussion 307.
Stevens Gregory D, Mistry Ritesh, Zuckerman Barry, Halfon Neal The parent-provider relationship: does race/ethnicity concordance or discordance influence parent reports of the receipt of high quality basic pediatric preventive services? Journal of urban health : bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 2005; 82(4): 560-74.
Halfon Neal, Regalado Michael, Sareen Harvinder, Inkelas Moira, Reuland Colleen H Peck, Glascoe Frances P, Olson Lynn M Assessing development in the pediatric office Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1926-33.
Inkelas Moira, Schuster Mark A, Olson Lynn M, Park Christina H, Halfon Neal Continuity of primary care clinician in early childhood Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1917-25.
Santoli Jeanne M, Huet Natalie J, Smith Philip J, Barker Lawrence E, Rodewald Lance E, Inkelas Moira, Olson Lynn M, Halfon Neal Insurance status and vaccination coverage among US preschool children Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1959-64.
Halfon Neal, Olson Lynn M Introduction: results from a new national survey of children's health Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1895-8.
Bethell Christina, Reuland Colleen H Peck, Halfon Neal, Schor Edward L Measuring the quality of preventive and developmental services for young children: national estimates and patterns of clinicians' performance Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1973-83.
Olson Lynn M, Inkelas Moira, Halfon Neal, Schuster Mark A, O'Connor Karen G, Mistry Ritesh Overview of the content of health supervision for young children: reports from parents and pediatricians Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1907-16.
Kuo Alice A, Franke Todd M, Regalado Michael, Halfon Neal Parent report of reading to young children Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1944-51.
Regalado Michael, Sareen Harvinder, Inkelas Moira, Wissow Lawrence S, Halfon Neal Parents' discipline of young children: results from the National Survey of Early Childhood Health Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1952-8.
Zuckerman Barry, Stevens Gregory D, Inkelas Moira, Halfon Neal Prevalence and correlates of high-quality basic pediatric preventive care Pediatrics, 2004; 114(6): 1522-9.
Kogan Michael D, Schuster Mark A, Yu Stella M, Park Christina H, Olson Lynn M, Inkelas Moira, Bethell Christina, Chung Paul J, Halfon Neal Routine assessment of family and community health risks: parent views and what they receive Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1934-43.
Halfon Neal, Inkelas Moira, Mistry Ritesh, Olson Lynn M Satisfaction with health care for young children Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1965-72.
Blumberg Stephen J, Halfon Neal, Olson Lynn M The National Survey of Early Childhood Health Pediatrics, 2004; 113(6 Suppl): 1899-906.
Neal Halfon, Michael Regalado, Kathryn Taaffe McLearn, Alice A. Kuo, Kynna Wright Building a Bridge from Birth to School The Commonwealth Fund, 2003; .
Stevens Gregory D, Mistry Ritesh, Halfon Neal Caution urged in concluding disparities mitigated by increase in AA docs Journal of the National Medical Association, 2003; 95(8): 755-6; author reply 756.
Lu Michael C, Prentice Julia, Yu Stella M, Inkelas Moira, Lange Linda O, Halfon Neal Childbirth education classes: sociodemographic disparities in attendance and the association of attendance with breastfeeding initiation Maternal and child health journal, 2003; 7(2): 87-93.
Lara Marielena, Duan Naihua, Sherbourne Cathy, Halfon Neal, Leibowitz Arleen, Brook Robert H Children's use of emergency departments for asthma: persistent barriers or acute need? The Journal of asthma : official journal of the Association for the Care of Asthma, 2003; 40(3): 289-99.
Caronna Elizabeth B, Halfon Neal Dipping deeper into the reservoir of autistic spectrum disorder Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 2003; 157(7): 619-21.
Halfon, Neal, MD, MPH & Inkelas, Moira, PhD, MPH Optimizing the Health & Development of Children (Editorial) JAMA, 2003; 290(23): 3136-3138.
Halfon Neal, Inkelas Moira Optimizing the health and development of children JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 2003; 290(23): 3136-8.
Lu M C, Tache V, Alexander G R, Kotelchuck M, Halfon N Preventing low birth weight: is prenatal care the answer? The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians, 2003; 13(6): 362-80.
Lu Michael C, Halfon Neal Racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes: a life-course perspective Maternal and child health journal, 2003; 7(1): 13-30.
Zuckerman Barry, Halfon Neal School readiness: an idea whose time has arrived Pediatrics, 2003; 111(6 Pt 1): 1433-6.
Halfon Neal, Hochstein Miles Life course health development: an integrated framework for developing health, policy, and research The Milbank quarterly, 2002; 80(3): 433-79, iii.
Prentice Julia C, Lu Michael C, Lange Linda, Halfon Neal The association between reported childhood sexual abuse and breastfeeding initiation Journal of human lactation : official journal of International Lactation Consultant Association, 2002; 18(3): 219-26.
Newacheck P W, Halfon N Prevalence, impact, and trends in childhood disability due to asthma Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 2000; 154(3): 287-93.
Neal Halfon, Moira Inkelas, Miles Hochstein The Health Development Organization The Milbank Quarterly, 2000; 78(3): 447-497.
DuPlessis H M, Inkelas M, Halfon N Assessing the performance of community systems for children Health services research, 1998; 33(4 Pt 2): 1111-42.
Halfon N, Newacheck P W, Hughes D, Brindis C Community health monitoring: taking the pulse of America's children Maternal and child health journal, 1998; 2(2): 95-109.
Halfon N, Schuster M, Valentine W, McGlynn E Improving the quality of healthcare for children: implementing the results of the AHSR research agenda conference Health services research, 1998; 33(4 Pt 2): 955-76.
Newacheck P W, Halfon N Prevalence and impact of disabling chronic conditions in childhood American journal of public health, 1998; 88(4): 610-7.
Does this profile need updating? Contact Us