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The Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit is established by Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H. In 1998, Dr. Freed was recruited from UNC—Chapel Hill to lead the Division of General Pediatrics at U-M.  Upon his arrival, he founded the CHEAR Unit, designed as a multidisciplinary, cross-campus research initiative focusing on child and family health, healthcare utilization, and health policy.

The CHEAR Unit is the largest and most successful pediatric health services research unit in the US. Working with his longtime collaborator, Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., Dr. Freed rapidly established the CHEAR Unit as a rigorous source of program and policy evaluation for major initiatives implemented by agencies such as the CDC and the Michigan Medicaid program. Dr. Freed also actively recruited several junior faculty from other institutions who went on to become leaders in the field of pediatric health services research, and in 2000 he obtained funding from NICHD for the first pediatric health services research training program (T32) supported by NIH that drew other talented pediatricians to CHEAR for fellowship and subsequent faculty positions at UM and other leading academic institutions. Under Dr. Freed’s leadership, the CHEAR Unit grew to become a pre-eminent pediatric health services research group in the United States.