Pink to purple left to right gradient, with text "Placeholder Image" center aligned in white in the center of the image

We have a long track record of breaking new ground and disrupting the status quo.

We’ve never been satisfied with just making a broken system work better; we imagine and create new systems. Many of the factors that impact children’s well-being begin even before their birth. Children and communities struggle with problems that impact health, but don’t necessarily begin or end there. Confronting realities such as these demands we conceive new and innovative approaches and frameworks, and dare to reconceptualize what is possible. 

The Center has been focused exclusively on children and their healthy development for 25 years.

The Center is led by Founding Director, Neal Halfon, MD MPH, who has been instrumental in advancing research, policy, and systems innovations focused on the healthy development of children. He has led the development of the life course health sciences, with a particular focus on developing theory and translating research findings into clinical, programmatic and policy interventions. Dr. Halfon has assembled an outstanding team of faculty and staff who bring diverse talents, as well as a wide range of disciplines and perspectives to the Center’s work. Established in 1996, The Center is a joint effort of the David Geffen School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The Center also includes faculty from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy & Social Research, School of Law, and the College of Letters and Sciences. The Center is housed at UCLA, one of the preeminent research universities in the world. As a public university with extensive resources, the potential for University’s positive impact on the lifelong health of all Californians is tremendous. On the UCLA campus alone are education, public policy, business, law, medical, and public health schools – all with significant expertise in various areas related to children’s health and development.

Our Prior Projects

There’s more than one metric by which to chart society’s progress. Rather than limiting ourselves to traditional measures of economic growth (like GDP), our team went further, partnering with the RAND Corporation and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to create the GDP2 Initiative, a developmentally driven, capability-based measure of human potential at the earliest phase of life.

To create a new roadmap for the next generation of the U.S. healthcare system, the 3.0 Transformation Framework demonstrated how a system designed to better manage chronic disease care could evolve into a system designed to enhance population health. 

Comprised of change-makers, national policy strategists, attorneys, doctors, educators, and youth activists and advisors, Reimagining Children’s Rights (RCR) is an action research project currently drafting strategic options for how to move child rights forward in this country.

The Center partners with Public Health Advocates in All Children Thrive – California (ACT California), a community-led movement. Together, we’re reimagining cities as engines for activism, innovation and positive change so that all children, of all backgrounds, can thrive.