December 2018

Healthcare’s Role in Improving Educational Outcomes

On November 30th, the TMW Center welcomed pediatricians, intervention specialists, practitioners, policy experts, and researchers to the University of Chicago for Leveraging the Healthcare System to Impact Educational Disparities, the inaugural Rohit and Harvanit Kumar Conference on the Economics of Early Childhood Education. By gathering thought-leaders from across disciplines, we aimed to elevate the role of the healthcare sector in intervening early and having a lasting impact on a child’s educational success and overall well-being. “The existing infrastructure for repeated, near universal access to both children and their caregivers, as well as the high-level of trust in physicians as a source of information make the healthcare system a natural fit for this work,” explains TMW Center Co-Director Dana Suskind. From an economic perspective, fellow Co-Director John List agrees, “This problem demands that we leverage the healthcare system, not only because of scaling considerations, but also due to the wonderful access and cost-side advantages the system offers.”

Our expert speakers helped us build a common understanding of the broad landscape of healthcare and healthcare policy as it relates to children, particularly those growing up in low-income households. Through the lenses of implementation researchers as well program developers and directors, we explored the opportunities and challenges faced when scaling child and parent-focused interventions through the healthcare sector. After a vibrant day, we emerged with fresh ideas and questions for future research, policy, and ongoing discussion.