Our History

Building a Healthier Future

From Visionary Start-Up to National Prominence

NICHQ stems from the vision of a team of pediatric and public health leaders who saw a critical need to improve children’s healthcare so all children 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 predominant efforts in our early years focused on improving care for children with asthma, ADHD, and other conditions requiring special healthcare needs.

As NICHQ has 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 now seek improvement more broadly in topics such as childhood obesity and infant mortality, which require building bridges between healthcare, public health and community. 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.

NICHQ was 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 approaches. Ultimately, the child became an adult as NICHQ was incorporated as an independent, nonprofit organization in July 2002 and established fully independent operations in 2006/7.

NICHQ now has 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 closes this chapter in his professional life, Charlie Homer looks back on his 15 years as NICHQ’s leader and shares his perspective on children’s health trends, quality improvement strategies and his hopes for the future.

This video is 23 minutes long. You may watch it by clicking on the play icon above, or you may advance to any of the chapters of the video by using the links below (all links open in a new window).


Projects Through the Years

Since its founding in 1999, NICHQ has led over 50 projects to improve children's health. These projects span 20 different topics within our three primary areas of focus: strong start, quality care and healthy living.

See the Timeline