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Ambul Pediatr. 2006 May-Jun;6(3):130-3.

Community as laboratory: reflections from Rochester, New York, in celebration of the dedication of the Robert J. Haggerty child health services research laboratories.

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Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


The dedication of the Robert J. Haggerty Child Health Services Research Laboratories at the University of Rochester (New York) Medical Center in October 2004 provided an opportunity to reflect on the current state of child health services research. Dr Haggerty had a grand vision for using the community in which children live as a laboratory for studying the varied medical, psychosocial, and behavioral morbidities that affect them. He believed that the diverse problems faced by children were best studied by a multidisciplinary team, including both academic and community pediatricians, epidemiologists, sociologists, policy makers, and community leaders. Research done in the community involving front-line providers allows investigation into the most challenging and relevant problems faced by children. To this end, Dr Haggerty made collaboration and cooperation between the community and the academic medical center a priority during his tenure at Rochester. His vision of community as laboratory continues through the child health services research emanating from the Haggerty Laboratories. Nevertheless, many barriers remain that need to be overcome for the sake of improving the lives of children in the United States and throughout the world.

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