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.

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.

Researcher Services

Researcher Areas

  • Patient Centered Medical Home
  • E-consultants
  • ADHD
  • Asthma
  • Quality of Care

Research Departments

Research Divisions

PUBLICATIONS

Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Toomey SL, Elliott MN, Zaslavsky AM, Quinn J, Klein DJ, Wagner S, Thomson C, Wu M, Onorato S, Schuster MA. Improving Response Rates and Representation of Hard-to-Reach Groups in Family Experience Surveys. Acad Pediatr. 2018 Jul 26. View abstract
  2. Rea CJ, Tran KD, Jorina M, Wenren LM, Hawryluk EB, Toomey SL. Associations of Eczema Severity and Parent Knowledge With Child Quality of Life in a Pediatric Primary Care Population. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2018 Nov; 57(13):1506-1514. View abstract
  3. Stockwell DC, Landrigan CP, Toomey SL, Loren SS, Jang J, Quinn JA, Ashrafzadeh S, Wang MJ, Wu M, Sharek PJ, Classen DC, Srivastava R, Parry G, Schuster MA. Adverse Events in Hospitalized Pediatric Patients. Pediatrics. 2018 Aug; 142(2). View abstract
  4. Chien AT, Toomey SL, Kuo DZ, Van Cleave J, Houtrow AJ, Okumura MJ, Westfall MY, Petty CR, Quinn JA, Kuhlthau KA, Schuster MA. Care Quality and Spending Among Commercially Insured Children With Disabilities. Acad Pediatr. 2018 Jun 19. View abstract
  5. Conroy K, Rea C, Kovacikova GI, Sprecher E, Reisinger E, Durant H, Starmer A, Cox J, Toomey SL. Ensuring Timely Connection to Early Intervention for Young Children With Developmental Delays. Pediatrics. 2018 Jul; 142(1). View abstract
  6. Rea CJ, Wenren LM, Tran KD, Zwemer E, Mallon D, Bernson-Leung M, Samuels RC, Toomey SL. Shared Care: Using an Electronic Consult Form to Facilitate Primary Care Provider-Specialty Care Coordination. Acad Pediatr. 2018 Sep - Oct; 18(7):797-804. View abstract
  7. Rea CJ, Tran KD, Jorina M, Wenren LM, Hawryluk EB, Toomey SL. A Randomized Controlled Trial of an Eczema Care Plan. Acad Pediatr. 2018 Sep - Oct; 18(7):789-796. View abstract
  8. Hargreaves DS, Sizmur S, Pitchforth J, Tallett A, Toomey SL, Hopwood B, Schuster MA, Viner RM. Children and young people's versus parents' responses in an English national inpatient survey. Arch Dis Child. 2018 May; 103(5):486-491. View abstract
  9. Feng JY, Toomey SL, Zaslavsky AM, Nakamura MM, Schuster MA. Readmission After Pediatric Mental Health Admissions. Pediatrics. 2017 Dec; 140(6). View abstract
  10. Nakamura MM, Zaslavsky AM, Toomey SL, Petty CR, Bryant MC, Geanacopoulos AT, Jha AK, Schuster MA. Pediatric Readmissions After Hospitalizations for Lower Respiratory Infections. Pediatrics. 2017 Aug; 140(2). View abstract
  11. Sawicki GS, Garvey KC, Toomey SL, Williams KA, Hargraves JL, James T, Raphael JL, Giardino AP, Schuster MA, Finkelstein JA. Preparation for Transition to Adult Care Among Medicaid-Insured Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2017 Jul; 140(1). View abstract
  12. Wisk LE, Finkelstein JA, Toomey SL, Sawicki GS, Schuster MA, Galbraith AA. Impact of an Individual Mandate and Other Health Reforms on Dependent Coverage for Adolescents and Young Adults. Health Serv Res. 2018 Jun; 53(3):1581-1599. View abstract
  13. Parast L, Burkhart Q, Desai AD, Simon TD, Allshouse C, Britto MT, Leyenaar JK, Gidengil CA, Toomey SL, Elliott MN, Schneider EC, Mangione-Smith R. Validation of New Quality Measures for Transitions Between Sites of Care. Pediatrics. 2017 May; 139(5). View abstract
  14. Toomey SL, Elliott MN, Zaslavsky AM, Klein DJ, Ndon S, Hardy S, Wu M, Schuster MA. Variation in Family Experience of Pediatric Inpatient Care As Measured by Child HCAHPS. Pediatrics. 2017 Apr; 139(4). View abstract
  15. Chien AT, Kuhlthau KA, Toomey SL, Quinn JA, Okumura MJ, Kuo DZ, Houtrow AJ, Van Cleave J, Landrum MB, Jang J, Janmey I, Furdyna MJ, Schuster MA. Quality of Primary Care for Children With Disabilities Enrolled in Medicaid. Acad Pediatr. 2017 May - Jun; 17(4):443-449. View abstract
  16. Zwemer E, Bernson-Leung M, Rea C, Patel AA, Guerriero R, Urion DK, Toomey SL. Education on the Brain: A Partnership Between a Pediatric Primary Care Center and Neurology Residency. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2018 Jan; 57(1):46-51. View abstract
  17. Jones LC, Mrug S, Elliott MN, Toomey SL, Tortolero S, Schuster MA. Chronic Physical Health Conditions and Emotional Problems From Early Adolescence Through Midadolescence. Acad Pediatr. 2017 08; 17(6):649-655. View abstract
  18. Coker TR, Elliott MN, Toomey SL, Schwebel DC, Cuccaro P, Tortolero Emery S, Davies SL, Visser SN, Schuster MA. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment. Pediatrics. 2016 Sep; 138(3). View abstract
  19. Desai AD, Burkhart Q, Parast L, Simon TD, Allshouse C, Britto MT, Leyenaar JK, Gidengil CA, Toomey SL, Elliott MN, Schneider EC, Mangione-Smith R. Development and Pilot Testing of Caregiver-Reported Pediatric Quality Measures for Transitions Between Sites of Care. Acad Pediatr. 2016 Nov - Dec; 16(8):760-769. View abstract
  20. Toomey SL, Peltz A, Loren S, Tracy M, Williams K, Pengeroth L, Ste Marie A, Onorato S, Schuster MA. Potentially Preventable 30-Day Hospital Readmissions at a Children's Hospital. Pediatrics. 2016 08; 138(2). View abstract
  21. Ladapo JA, Elliott MN, Kanouse DE, Schwebel DC, Toomey SL, Mrug S, Cuccaro PM, Tortolero SR, Schuster MA. Firearm Ownership and Acquisition Among Parents With Risk Factors for Self-Harm or Other Violence. Acad Pediatr. 2016 Nov - Dec; 16(8):742-749. View abstract
  22. Landrigan CP, Stockwell D, Toomey SL, Loren S, Tracy M, Jang J, Quinn JA, Ashrafzadeh S, Wang M, Sharek PJ, Parry G, Schuster MA. Performance of the Global Assessment of Pediatric Patient Safety (GAPPS) Tool. Pediatrics. 2016 06; 137(6). View abstract
  23. Toomey SL, Elliott MN, Schwebel DC, Tortolero SR, Cuccaro PM, Davies SL, Kampalath V, Schuster MA. Relationship Between Adolescent Report of Patient-Centered Care and of Quality of Primary Care. Acad Pediatr. 2016 Nov - Dec; 16(8):770-776. View abstract
  24. Chien AT, Kuhlthau KA, Toomey SL, Quinn JA, Houtrow AJ, Kuo DZ, Okumura MJ, Van Cleave JM, Johnson CK, Mahoney LL, Martin J, Landrum MB, Schuster MA. Development of the Children With Disabilities Algorithm. Pediatrics. 2015 Oct; 136(4):e871-8. View abstract
  25. Sawicki GS, Garvey KC, Toomey SL, Williams KA, Chen Y, Hargraves JL, Leblanc J, Schuster MA, Finkelstein JA. Development and Validation of the Adolescent Assessment of Preparation for Transition: A Novel Patient Experience Measure. J Adolesc Health. 2015 Sep; 57(3):282-7. View abstract
  26. Lewis T, Schwebel DC, Elliott MN, Visser SN, Toomey SL, McLaughlin KA, Cuccaro P, Tortolero Emery S, Banspach SW, Schuster MA. The association between youth violence exposure and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in a sample of fifth-graders. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2015 Sep; 85(5):504-13. View abstract
  27. Toomey SL, Zaslavsky AM, Elliott MN, Gallagher PM, Fowler FJ, Klein DJ, Shulman S, Ratner J, McGovern C, LeBlanc JL, Schuster MA. The Development of a Pediatric Inpatient Experience of Care Measure: Child HCAHPS. Pediatrics. 2015 Aug; 136(2):360-9. View abstract
  28. Berry JG, Zaslavsky AM, Toomey SL, Chien AT, Jang J, Bryant MC, Klein DJ, Kaplan WJ, Schuster MA. Recognizing Differences in Hospital Quality Performance for Pediatric Inpatient Care. Pediatrics. 2015 Aug; 136(2):251-62. View abstract
  29. Wisk LE, Finkelstein JA, Sawicki GS, Lakoma M, Toomey SL, Schuster MA, Galbraith AA. Predictors of timing of transfer from pediatric- to adult-focused primary care. JAMA Pediatr. 2015 Jun; 169(6):e150951. View abstract
  30. Coker TR, Elliott MN, Schwebel DC, Windle M, Toomey SL, Tortolero SR, Hertz MF, Peskin MF, Schuster MA. Media violence exposure and physical aggression in fifth-grade children. Acad Pediatr. 2015 Jan-Feb; 15(1):82-8. View abstract
  31. Nakamura MM, Toomey SL, Zaslavsky AM, Berry JG, Lorch SA, Jha AK, Bryant MC, Geanacopoulos AT, Loren SS, Pain D, Schuster MA. Measuring pediatric hospital readmission rates to drive quality improvement. Acad Pediatr. 2014 Sep-Oct; 14(5 Suppl):S39-46. View abstract
  32. Schwebel DC, Lewis T, Simon TR, Elliott MN, Toomey SL, Tortolero SR, Cuccaro PM, Schuster MA. Prevalence and Correlates of Firearm Ownership in the Homes of Fifth Graders: Birmingham, AL, Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA. Health Educ Behav. 2014 Jun; 41(3):299-306. View abstract
  33. Tschudy MM, Toomey SL, Cheng TL. Merging systems: integrating home visitation and the family-centered medical home. Pediatrics. 2013 Nov; 132 Suppl 2:S74-81. View abstract
  34. Wallander JL, Kerbawy S, Toomey S, 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 children in the community? Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 Jul; 37(7):920-5. View abstract
  35. Berry JG, Toomey SL, Zaslavsky AM, Jha AK, Nakamura MM, Klein DJ, Feng JY, Shulman S, Chiang VW, Chiang VK, Kaplan W, Hall M, Schuster MA. Pediatric readmission prevalence and variability across hospitals. JAMA. 2013 Jan 23; 309(4):372-80. View abstract
  36. Toomey SL, Chien AT, Elliott MN, Ratner J, Schuster MA. Disparities in unmet need for care coordination: the national survey of children's health. Pediatrics. 2013 Feb; 131(2):217-24. View abstract
  37. Toomey SL, Cheng TL. Home visiting and the family-centered medical home: synergistic services to promote child health. Acad Pediatr. 2013 Jan-Feb; 13(1):3-5. View abstract
  38. Toomey SL, Sox CM, Rusinak D, Finkelstein JA. Why do children with ADHD discontinue their medication? Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012 Aug; 51(8):763-9. View abstract
  39. Porter SC, Guo CY, Molino J, Toomey SL, Chan E. The influence of task environment and health literacy on the quality of parent-reported ADHD data. Appl Clin Inform. 2012; 3(1):24-37. View abstract
  40. 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 Nov-Dec; 11(6):500-7. View abstract
  41. Schwebel DC, Roth DL, Elliott MN, Visser SN, Toomey SL, Shipp EM, Grunbaum JA, Schuster MA. Association of externalizing behavior disorder symptoms and injury among fifth graders. Acad Pediatr. 2011 Sep-Oct; 11(5):427-31. View abstract
  42. Tsukayama E, Toomey SL, Faith MS, Duckworth AL. Self-control as a protective factor against overweight status in the transition from childhood to adolescence. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010 Jul; 164(7):631-5. View abstract
  43. Toomey SL, Homer CJ, Finkelstein JA. Comparing medical homes for children with ADHD and asthma. Acad Pediatr. 2010 Jan-Feb; 10(1):56-63. View abstract
  44. Toomey SL, Finkelstein J, Kuhlthau K. Does connection to primary care matter for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder? Pediatrics. 2008 Aug; 122(2):368-74. View abstract
  45. SL Toomey J Finkelstein K Kuhlthau. Does connection to primary care matter for children with ADHD?. Pediatrics. 2008; 122:368-374. View abstract
  46. Toomey S, Bernstein H. Child abuse and neglect: prevention and intervention. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2001 Apr; 13(2):211-5. View abstract
  47. Toomey S, Bernstein H. Sudden infant death syndrome. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2001 Apr; 13(2):207-10. View abstract
  48. Heymann SJ, Toomey S, Furstenberg F. Working parents: what factors are involved in their ability to take time off from work when their children are sick? Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999 Aug; 153(8):870-4. View abstract
  49. S Jody Heymann Sara L Toomey Frank Furstenberg. Working parents: What can they do when their children become sick?. Archives in Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. 1999; 153:870-874. View abstract
  50. Schneider E, Cowan KH, Bader H, Toomey S, Schwartz GN, Karp JE, Burke PJ, Kaufmann SH. Increased expression of the multidrug resistance-associated protein gene in relapsed acute leukemia. Blood. 1995 Jan 01; 85(1):186-93. View abstract