Founded in 2016 with a generous donation from the family of Alan Hassenfeld, the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute (HCHII) aims to make a transformative impact on the lives of children and their families in Rhode Island, as well as around the world.

Made stronger by its deep and far reaching collaborations, the Hassenfeld Institute is led by and partners with key organizations throughout Rhode Island. Its core leadership resides under the following four institutions: Brown University’s School of Public Health, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. Researchers and child health professionals from other institutions, such as Bradley HospitalThe Miriam Hospital, and our community partners are also intricately involved.   

The work of the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute will contribute to our understanding of the genetic, prenatal, and early life factors associated with health problems of children, and will develop effective new strategies for prevention and treatment. These strategies will involve careful coordination of medical care, social services, and public health interventions. The research findings and lessons learned in Rhode Island will have broad applicability to other settings in the United States and internationally, amplifying the Institute's ability to improve population health, enhance family life, and help children thrive in school and in their future lives.

The Hassenfeld Institute builds upon decades of efforts among Brown faculty and investigators at the Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. The Institute actively engages a broad coalition of faculty, staff, and students throughout Brown University and its affiliated hospitals. Furthermore, the Institute seeks to bring together key community partners in Rhode Island, including state and municipal governments, non-profit organizations, the business community, and Rhode Island families in a collaborative effort to address the health needs of children.

The Core Research and Evaluation Unit of the Hassenfeld Institute is tasked with providing the necessary research and evaluation infrastructure to support work on a broad range of health initiatives within the Institute as well as with the Institute partners. The Institute’s Core Research and Evaluation Unit is made up of six Hassenfeld Faculty Scholars, representing expertise in each of the following areas: statistics, bioinformatics, genomics, epidemiology, maternal and child health, and health services research. In addition to this multidisciplinary faculty team, the Hassenfeld Core Research and Evaluation Unit will include a research coordinator, data analysts, and research assistants.

Along with the work carried out by the Core Research and Evaluation Unit, the Hassenfeld Institute has assembled teams of experts to implement and assess innovative new approaches to address important child health issues.  These teams will form the foundation of the Hassenfeld Initiatives.

The Institute’s three initial initiatives are:

  1. Healthy weight, nutrition and physical fitness
  2. Autism (a precision medicine approach)
  3. Childhood asthma research innovation

As the Institute moves forward, additional topic-specific initiatives will be implemented.