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Dr. Forrest's research focuses on developing novel ways of conducting multi-center pediatric applied clinical research, child health services and outcomes research, pediatric person-reported outcome measure development and application, life course health science, learning health systems science, and policies and programs that promote the lifelong health of children. He has a particular interest in the concept and measurement of health.
Dr. Forrest is a general pediatrician and health services and outcomes researcher. He leads several multi-institutional collaborations that are advancing our knowledge on how to improve children’s health and well-being.
He is the Executive Director and Founder of PEDSnet (pedsnet.org), a national pediatric learning health system, which is one of the PCORnet Clinical Research Networks. PEDSnet is the only PCORnet network devoted exclusively to pediatric research. The network includes 9 pediatric academic health systems, relationships with disease- and specialty-specific networks, and local health plans and national data partners.
PEDSnet has created an analysis-ready database for >7 million children, with data from 2009 to present and updated quarterly, by transforming source institutional EHR data into both the PEDSnet and PCORnet Common Data Models. The network has conducted or is currently supporting >90 observational studies and clinical trials (>$80M in grant support) that use the health provider organization standardized EHR data and/or recruit patients from clinical care settings.
Chris also serves as the Director of the CHOP Applied Clinical Research Center, which is the institutional home for PEDSnet. He led the development of the AHRQ Learning Health System Scientist Competencies, which served as the basis for 11 K12 Centers of Excellence, one of which Forrest leads (PEDSnet Scholars).
He played a seminal role in advancing the PROMIS Pediatric initiative, and is dedicated to ensuring that PROMIS becomes a standard for assessing children’s self-reported health. Forrest served as the Chair of the Executive Committee for the NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (2009-2014), led a large pediatric research site for the second phase of the initiative, and received an NIH award to conduct clinical validation of PROMIS measures as part of the PEPR Consortium, which he leads as Chair of the Steering Committee. His research group has developed >50 pediatric patient-reported outcome measures, both child self-report and parent-proxy versions.
Finally, he is working with colleagues across the US to catalyze the new field of life course health science (LCHS), which is concerned with how an individual’s dynamic interactions with their environments produces health over the lifespan. Life course health science is the theoretical basis for inclusion of children in lifespan studies and for understanding the origins of many chronic diseases. He co-edited the new Handbook of Life Course Health Development, which has been downloaded over 550,000 times from the Springer web site.
Education and Training
BA, Boston University (Biology), 1982
MD, Boston University, 1986
PhD, Johns Hopkins University (Health Services Research), 1995
Titles and Academic Titles
Director, Center for Applied Clinical Research
Academic Investigator, Healthy Weight Program
Professor of Pediatrics
Academic Pediatric Association, 1997-
International Society for Quality of Life Research, 2000-
Child Health Services Investigator of the Year, AcademyHealth, 2004
Most Outstanding Research Abstract of the Year, AcademyHealth, 2011
John Morgan Society, University of Pennsylvania, 2016
National Academy of Medicine, 2023