The Child's Advocate

We have a longstanding history of advocating for children in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and around the nation. More than 40 years ago, we established the nation’s first hospital-based office focused exclusively on child health advocacy. We continue to make advocacy a priority by incorporating it into our mission.

The Child Health Advocacy Institute (CHAI) identifies and studies threats facing children, and develops and implements programs to address those threats. As a national leader in the field of pediatric health advocacy, our goal is to improve health outcomes through discovery, delivery and dissemination of best practices. Read the latest CHAI Impact Report.

From its home in the nation’s capital, CHAI develops, promotes, and implements programs to address these threats and meet the needs of underserved children.

Key issues and activities include:

CHAI Impact report
  • Burn safety because burns are among the most devastating and painful injuries for children and we treat hundreds of children every year for this often preventable injury.
  • Bullying's health risks are investigated by our clinicians and researchers, who also study the pediatrician’s role in youth violence prevention, supporting efforts such as the Clinic for Health Problems Related to Bullying headed by Jorge Srabstein, MD.
  • Child Health Data Lab is a repository for data collection, the engine driving our advocacy priorities in Washington, DC, metropolitan area.
  • The District of Columbia Healthy Communities Collaborative is a partnership of local hospitals and community health centers responsible for development of the 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment and the 2014-16 Community Health Improvement Plan. These documents form the framework for our community benefit program
  • DC Health Matters public web portal is a one-stop resource for online access to local health indicators and progress towards improving the overall health of the community.
  • Dr. Bear's University, started in 2006, allows elected officials, business and community leaders and pediatric physicians to spend a day-in-the-life at Children’s National, including rotations with physicians and observing the special care given to our young patients.
  • Our Injury Prevention Coalition strives to prioritize injury prevention for children and their families, caregivers, public officials, residents, and visitors.
  • In collaboration with the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health, CHAI coordinates the DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care, an initiative of the District of Columbia’s community-based mental health action plan.
  • Maintaining ideal oral health by providing free fluoride varnish for children up to 3 years old in licensed day care and Head Start programs in Washington, DC. They are painless, tasteless, and help prevent cavities. The CHAI leads the DC Pediatric Oral Health Coalition.
  • Science Café 360 is a series of informal conversations in comfortable community-based settings coordinated in collaboration with our Clinical Translational Science Institute to dialogue directly with the public about the priority health issues upon which we are working and introduce the scientists who are at the forefront.
  • Our Sickle Cell Disease Program is one of the busiest in the country; we treat more than 1,400 patients each year. We collaborate with several organizations to bring awareness and work to improve the lives of pediatric patients who suffer from debilitating symptoms associated with the disease.
Physical exam


The BearNet network is a legislative advocacy resource that connects you with the issues Children's National supports, and offers quick, easy access to legislators working on the issues. 

Children's National Atrium


Learn more about our history, our growth, and our commitment to improving care for children for more than 140 years.  

Children's National was honored along with other top hospitals at a special U.S. News & World Report reception held in Washington, D.C

Awards and Recognition

Our multidisciplinary team of the world’s finest pediatric clinicians and research scientists come to work with one goal in mind: to improve the lives of children.