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Leading-edge research at UCLA Health is changing children’s lives



UCLA CTSI News Archive


Dr. Adam Schickendanz, a 2018-9 CTSI KL2 scholar, has helped shape a financial-coaching program for families with poverty-related stress to help reduce the risk of developmental delays in children and improve families' health outcomes.

The UCLA Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute is the research home of the pediatrics department at UCLA. Funded through state and national grants, physician-scientists are harnessing creativity and groundbreaking science to remedy some of the most challenging health conditions youngsters face.

Some of their work was highlighted in a recent UCLA press release, including Dr. Adam Schickendanz, a 2018-9 CTSI KL2 scholar.

Expanding the boundaries of clinical care
Treating family finances isn’t traditionally part of a regular health care visit, despite decades of research showing that poverty and the factors that create it strongly influence health outcomes. A chance conversation between Adam Schickedanz, MD, PhD, and a financial coach serving low-income families led Dr. Schickedanz to consider how to help parents in pediatric clinics address the economic challenges that directly harm their health and the health of their children.

Since 2018, Dr. Schickedanz has been studying how pairing low-income families with financial resilience coaching services through a Medical-Financial Partnership leads to improved health outcomes for parents and children, as well as improving their financial realities.

Not only are parents who receive financial coaching able to build financial stability and assets, Dr. Schickedanz’s studies find these parents report reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. They return for clinical visits more often, he says, and there are early signs that this intervention is reducing the risk of developmental delays in children.

“It’s really about reshaping and transforming what the clinical encounter can encompass,” he says, “to address poverty-related stresses as a way to improve health outcomes.”

Originally serving families at the Harbor-UCLA Primary Care Pediatrics Clinic, the financial-coaching program has expanded to include families at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Schickedanz and Dr. Monique Holguin, co-director of the Medical-Financial Partnership, are seeking resources to expand to additional clinics in 2022.

See the full UCLA news story.

CTSI congratulates him on his work in this research. Other work includes Karin Nielsen studying COVID-19’s effects on pregnant women and their newborns and Caroline Kuo contributing to the development of potential cures for rare immune disorders.