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Sara  Toomey, MD, Mphil, MPH, MSc

Sara Toomey MD MPH MPhil MSc
Medicine Research
General Pediatrics Research
Academic Title:
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:
Patient centered medical homee-consultantsADHDAsthmaQuality of care
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Research Overview

Dr. Toomey’s research focuses on studying the factors that affect the quality of pediatric care. She has studied how receiving care in a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) relates to healthcare quality for children with chronic conditions. In one paper, she found that receipt of care in a PCMH is associated with higher rates of medication use and improved outcomes for children with ADHD (e.g., fewer problem behaviors, better school attendance). In another, she found that family-centered care may mitigate racial/ethnic disparities in unmet need for care coordination.  In addition to this research documenting gaps in quality, she is currently expanding her expertise by developing new measures of pediatric care quality. She is the Managing Director of the AHRQ/CMS-funded Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement at Boston Children’s Hospital.  As part of the Center’s work she is also a member of the core team tasked with developing a measure of pediatric inpatient experience of care, the Pediatric Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (Pediatric HCAHPS) Survey.  She is also the Principal Investigator on a career development award project, "Racial/Ethnic Differences in Parent Perspectives of Pediatric Inpatient Care," that extends the Pediatric HCAHPS project to examine racial/ethnic disparities in parent experience of pediatric inpatient care

About Sara Toomey, MD, MPhil, MPH, MSc

Dr. Toomey is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and in the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital.  She is a general pediatrician and health services researcher.  After completing Harvard Medical School and her pediatric training, she spent three years as a primary care pediatrician at a federally-funded community health center in West Philadelphia.  Prior to starting her faculty position, she did a fellowship in the Harvard-wide Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship Program.  She currently practices inpatient and outpatient pediatrics. 

Key Publications

  • Toomey SL, Finkelstein J, Kuhlthau K. Does connection to primary care matter for children with ADHD? Pediatrics. 2008;122(2):368-374.
  • Tsukayama E, Toomey SL, Faith M, Duckworth AL. Self-control as a protective factor against overweight status in the transition from childhood to adolescence. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(7):631-5. PMCID: PMC2914627.
  • Toomey SL, Homer CJ, Finkelstein JA. Comparing medical homes for children with ADHD and asthma. Acad Pediatr. 2010;10(1):56-63.
  • Toomey SL, Chan E, Ratner JA, Schuster MA. The patient-centered medical home, practice patterns, and functional outcomes for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Acad Pediatr. 2011;11(6):500-507.
  • Schwebel DC, Roth DL, Elliott MN, Visser SN, Toomey SL, Shipp EM, Grumbaum JA, Schuster MA. Association of externalizing behavior disorder symptoms and injury among fifth graders. Acad Pediatr. 2011;11(5):427-431.
  • Toomey SL, Sox C, Rusinak D, Finkelstein JA. Why do children with ADHD discontinue their medication? Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012;51(8):763-769.
  • Toomey SL, Chien AT, Elliott MN, Schuster MA. Disparities in unmet care coordination needs: analysis of the National Survey of Children’s Health. Pediatrics. 2013;131(2): 217-224.
  • Berry JG, Toomey SL, Zaslavsky AM, Jha AK, Nakamura MM, Klein DJ, Feng JY, Shulman S, Chiang VW, Kaplan W, Hall M, Schuster MA. Pediatric readmission prevalence and variability across hospitals. JAMA. 2013;309(4):372-380. PMCID: PMC3640861.
  • Tschudy MM, Toomey SL, Cheng TL. Merging systems: integrating home visitation and the family-centered medical home.  Pediatrics. 2013;132 Suppl 2: S74-81.
  • Wallander JL, Kerbawy S, Toomey SL, Lowry R, Elliott MN, Escobar-Chaves SL, Franzini L, Schuster MA. Is obesity associated with reduced health-related quality of life in Latino, Black, and White 5th-grade children in the community?  Int J Obes (Lond). 2013;37(7): 920-925. PMCID: PMC3705583.

Active Projects

2011-2014 Improving Quality of Children’s Health Care with ipc-Consults

CHB Faculty Grant Children’s Hospital Boston
Principal Investigator

Internal grant to support initial qualitative work and course work for the development of the ipc-Consult system.

2012-2014 Racial/Ethnic Differences in Parent Perspectives of Pediatric Inpatient Care

NIH 8KL2TR000168-05
Principal Investigator

Harvard University NIH funded career development grant for research to understand racial/ethnic differences in reporting of parent/caregiver experience of pediatric inpatient care and additional course work.

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