VCHIP's History

VCHIP's Origins

VCHIP was established in 1999 in response to the increase in measurement and practice guidelines occurring in pediatrics. Together with the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Vermont Department of Health, the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont sought to support practices in meeting new standards such as those in the 1999 Bright Futures periodicity schedule. VCHIP’s founders also saw an opportunity to bring together child-serving providers across the state for a range of quality improvement (QI) initiatives. With start-up funding from private foundations and the UVM College of Medicine (now the Larner College of Medicine), VCHIP hired an Executive Director, Judith (Judy) Shaw, in 2000.


Project Focus and Expansion

From VCHIP’s earliest days, efforts have focused on meeting child health professionals where they are, building trust, and supporting child health through actionable, sustainable changes. VCHIP adapted practice-based QI models to Vermont’s unique health care environment to launch its first project on improving preventive services for young children, then built upon this work to develop projects focusing on newborn preventive services and screening and counseling for adolescents. VCHIP engaged child health professionals in shared goals, provided actionable data, and supported education and achievement of certification/licensing requirements. As the program supported successful change in one area, the project portfolio expanded to include a range of clinical content areas ranging from preventive services and chronic disease management in outpatient primary care settings to perinatal and pediatric care in hospital and specialty practice settings. As VCHIP has grown, it has engaged faculty and staff across departments at the University of Vermont. Today, VCHIP works on projects across the spectrum in child and family health and includes faculty from multiple departments within the Larner College of Medicine (in addition to the Department of Pediatrics) as well as multiple Colleges across the University (College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of Education and Social Services, and College of Arts and Science).


Judy Shaw

Funding and Partnerships

Initially funded through private funds as well as support from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, VCHIP built on its early partnership with the state to formalize the collaboration through funded activities in support of the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program for children covered by Medicaid in the state. This partnership underscores the core of VCHIP’s work and is a collaborative effort based on shared priorities of the state Medicaid and public health agencies, child health professionals in the state, and UVM faculty. VCHIP also receives project funding from a range of sources, including foundations, insurers, and state and federal grants, to support QI, health services research, and evaluation in child and family health.


In 2012, VCHIP launched a statewide network of pediatric-serving primary care practices, named Child Health Advances Measured in Practice (CHAMP). Today, this statewide network includes over 50 primary care practices that engage in annual quality improvement activities to meet the evolving needs of health care professionals, children and families. VCHIP staff provide individual feedback to practices to guide their annual quality improvement efforts. This statewide network of practices also participates in annual longitudinal data collection efforts to track progress toward quality improvement goals and health outcomes across the state.


Data Analysis, Evaluation, and Research

Beginning with its earliest projects, VCHIP has provided core data support to our state partners, both in supporting implementation of new data systems at the practice level and in conducting analysis to inform public health priorities and strategies. For example, in 2004, VCHIP worked closely with the state to help practices implement the statewide immunization registry to ensure that up-to-date and secure vaccination histories were easily accessible by authorized healthcare professionals. Similar work has continued with other data systems, most recently the statewide Developmental Screening Registry and implementation of an on-line developmental screening tool. VCHIP faculty were among the first to leverage the state’s all-payer claims database (the Vermont Health Care Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System), and VCHIP’s Health Services Research Team has published on a range of topics in child health including  depression screening, asthma management, pediatric healthcare reform, immunizations, mental and physical health co-morbidity, and adolescent well-care visits. 


Chris Pellegrino presenting

State and Federal Policy

VCHIP’s close collaboration with state partners has led to ongoing engagement in state policy development. VCHIP has worked (and continues to work) with statewide policy initiatives such as the Vermont Blueprint for Health, OneCare Vermont, and Vermont’s Health Information Exchange and participates in statewide discussions about care coordination, quality improvement, and family and child health policy. VCHIP faculty actively participate in multiple state advisory groups and policy discussions, testify before the state legislature, and hold leadership positions in state professional organizations. Our close collaboration with the state enables us to pivot to address emerging needs. Early in the pandemic, VCHIP partnered with the state to quickly stand up regular “CHAMP/VDH” calls to inform pediatric practitioners and stakeholders of the latest developments in COVID prevalence, testing, and policy. These calls, which occurred daily and recently transitioned to monthly calls, became a trusted and effective lifeline for the child health community. VCHIP faculty are also actively engaged in federal child health policy, with past and ongoing participation in initiatives including development and implementation of updated Bright Futures guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, collaboration with the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality, work with the National Association for State Health Policy, and service in leadership positions within the American Academy of Pediatrics and Pediatric Academic Societies, among others. 


National Improvement Partnership Network

VCHIP was the first Improvement Partnership, or “durable state or regional collaboration of multi-disciplinary public and private partners from across the healthcare system that uses the science of quality improvement and a systems approach to improve healthcare infrastructure and practice,” in the nation. As VCHIP’s work received recognition, faculty and staff were asked by other states, first informally and then through funded efforts, to provide expert guidance and consultation on establishing and operating an improvement partnership. In 2009, under the leadership of VCHIP and in response to growing interest across the states who had been part of the improvement partnership movement to date, the National Improvement Partnership Network (NIPN) was established as a mechanism to formally pool resources and share learnings between and across developing and existing IP programs. Through the National Improvement Partnership, VCHIP has engaged in nationwide quality improvement initiatives and training, including ongoing work related to adolescent and young adult health. VCHIP continues provide leadership to the National Improvement Partnership, which still serves as a learning network for improvement partnerships across the nation. 

For more information about VCHIP’s history and development, click here

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