Our History

Building a Healthier Future

From Visionary Start-Up to National Prominence

As an organization, we stem from the vision of a team of pediatric and public health leaders who saw a critical need to improve children’s healthcare so that all children can receive timely, high-quality services. Formed in 1999 with start-up funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to address issues of quality in ambulatory pediatrics, our early efforts focused on improving care for children with asthma, ADHD and other special healthcare needs.

As we’ve grown, we have expanded beyond our original focus on children’s healthcare to include an emphasis on many other social and community influences of children’s health. We aim to make broad improvements in critical health needs such as childhood obesity and infant mortality, which require building bridges between healthcare, public health and communities. Reflecting this expanded focus, we changed our name from National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality to National Institute for Children’s Health Quality in 2014.

We were originally constructed as a partnership of multiple organizations, including the University of Vermont, which launched the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP), and the Children’s Primary Care Research Group at UNC, which is now the Center for Children’s Healthcare Improvement at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. In our first few years, we functioned as a program of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), which led us to develop many programs and strategies closely modeled on IHI’s Breakthrough Series. Ultimately, we were incorporated as an independent, nonprofit organization in July 2002 and established fully independent operations in 2006/7.

We now have a staff of more than 35 people, most of whom work in our home office in Boston, Massachusetts.

Now well into our second decade, we have built a national reputation for leading important advancements that improve the lives of children and families.

Reflections from NICHQ Founder, Charlie Homer

As he closed this chapter in his professional life, Charlie Homer looked back on his 15 years as our leader and shares his perspective on children's health trends, quality improvement strategies and his hopes for the future.


Projects Through the Years

Since our founding in 1999, NICHQ has led over 60 projects to improve children's health. These projects span more than 20 different topics within our three primary areas of focus: strong start, quality care and healthy living.

See the Timeline