Best Starts to Life


To identify the earliest risk factors and interventions, from fetal development to early childhood, with the goal of improving the life course for all children.

Why is early intervention and care—providing the “best starts to life”—so important?

Children who are born prematurely, who come into the world in poor health, or who are otherwise at risk for poor outcomes can face challenges over the course of their entire lives. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is positioned to discover the causes and define the mechanisms responsible for these conditions while developing new preventive and therapeutic interventions. By focusing on the most critical early-life problems, our investigators are positioned to deliver the greatest possible life-long impact.

Research Theme Leaders:

Beth Smith, PT, DPT, PhD

Douglas Vanderbilt, MD, MS

How we are implementing “best starts to life”

The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is focused on unlocking the promise of discovery and innovation by:

  • Developing non-invasive technologies to detect key indicators for disease progression and prognosis, as well as treatment outcomes
  • Defining causes and developing prevention strategies based on a holistic approach that incorporate the influences of genetics, socioeconomics and environmental factors

Our timeline

Over time, our investigators will advance pediatric medicine and create healthier futures for children by:

5 to 10 years:

  • Enhancing the ability to identify health risks and resilience factors during the prenatal and infancy stages
  • Creating innovative strategies for prevention and treatment of fetal and early childhood conditions
  • Improving our understanding of how pediatric diseases disrupt physical, social and emotional development
  • Discovering the underlining disease causes and factors that affect treatments

10 years and beyond:

  • Enhancing and extending the life course of children born prematurely or with congenital conditions
  • Improving outcomes for babies who require admittance to the neonatal intensive care unit
  • Innovating tools and technologies that promote healthy development of all children