Christopher B. Forrest, MD, PhD

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Christopher B. Forrest, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Director of the Applied Clinical Research Center, and Executive Director of PEDSnet, a National Pediatric Learning Health System.

Areas of Expertise: Theory and measurement of child health, learning health systems, pediatric outcomes and effectiveness research, life course health science
Locations: Specialty Care, Market Street; Main Hospital
Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)


Dr. Forrest is a general pediatrician and health services and outcomes researcher. He leads several multi-institutional collaborations that are advancing our knowledge on how to improve children’s health and well-being.

He is the Executive Director and Founder of PEDSnet (, a national pediatric learning health system, which is one of the PCORnet Clinical Research Networks. PEDSnet is the only PCORnet network devoted exclusively to pediatric research. The network includes 9 pediatric academic health systems, relationships with disease- and specialty-specific networks, and local health plans and national data partners.

PEDSnet has created an analysis-ready database for >7 million children, with data from 2009 to present and updated quarterly, by transforming source institutional EHR data into both the PEDSnet and PCORnet Common Data Models. The network has conducted or is currently supporting >90 observational studies and clinical trials (>$80M in grant support) that use the health provider organization standardized EHR data and/or recruit patients from clinical care settings.

Chris also serves as the Director of the CHOP Applied Clinical Research Center, which is the institutional home for PEDSnet. He led the development of the AHRQ Learning Health System Scientist Competencies, which served as the basis for 11 K12 Centers of Excellence, one of which Forrest leads (PEDSnet Scholars).

He played a seminal role in advancing the PROMIS Pediatric initiative, and is dedicated to ensuring that PROMIS becomes a standard for assessing children’s self-reported health. Forrest served as the Chair of the Executive Committee for the NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (2009-2014), led a large pediatric research site for the second phase of the initiative, and received an NIH award to conduct clinical validation of PROMIS measures as part of the PEPR Consortium, which he leads as Chair of the Steering Committee. His research group has developed >50 pediatric patient-reported outcome measures, both child self-report and parent-proxy versions.

Finally, he is working with colleagues across the US to catalyze the new field of life course health science (LCHS), which is concerned with how an individual’s dynamic interactions with their environments produces health over the lifespan. Life course health science is the theoretical basis for inclusion of children in lifespan studies and for understanding the origins of many chronic diseases. He co-edited the new Handbook of Life Course Health Development, which has been downloaded over 550,000 times from the Springer web site.

Education and Training

Medical School

MD - Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA


Pediatrics - Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


Pediatrics - Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Board Certification

Pediatrics – American Board of Pediatrics

Graduate Degree

PhD - Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Titles and Academic Titles

Academic Investigator, Healthy Weight Program

Attending Physician

Director, Center for Applied Clinical Research

Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Departments and Services

Research Interests

Dr. Forrest's research focuses on developing novel ways of conducting multi-center pediatric applied clinical research, child health services and outcomes research, pediatric person-reported outcome measure development and application, life course health science, learning health systems science, and policies and programs that promote the lifelong health of children. He has a particular interest in the concept and measurement of health.




Forrest CB, McTigue KM, Hernandez AF, Cohen LW, Cruz H, Haynes K, Kaushal R, Kho AN, Marsolo KA, Nair VP, Platt R, Puro JE, Rothman RL, Shenkman EA, Waitman LR, Williams NA, Carton TW. PCORnet® 2020: current state, accomplishments, and future directions. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2021; 129:60-67. PMID: 33002635.


Forrest CB, Meltzer LJ, Marcus CL, de la Motte A, Kratchman A, Buysse DJ, Pilkonis PA, Becker BD, Bevans KB. Development and validation of the PROMIS Pediatric Sleep Disturbance and Sleep-Related Impairment item banks. Sleep. 2018; 41(6). PMID: 29546286.

Halfon N, Forrest CB, Lerner RM, Faustman EM (eds). Handbook of Life Course Health Development. Springer, 2018. Freely available at: Downloaded 550,000+ times.


Forrest CB, Simpson L, Clancy C. (1997). Child health services research. Challenges and opportunities. JAMA, 277(22), 1787–1793. PMID: 9178792.

Forrest CB, Chesley FD Jr, Tregear ML, Mistry KB. Development of the Learning Health System Researcher Core Competencies. Health Serv Res. 2018;53(4):2615-2632. PMID: 28777456.


Forrest CB. (2014). A living systems perspective on health. Medical Hypotheses, 82(2), 209-214. PMID: 24368035.

Kahn MG, Bailey LC, Forrest CB, Padula MA, Hirschfeld S. Building a common pediatric research terminology for accelerating child health research. Pediatrics. 2014;133(3):516-525. PMID: 24534404.

Forrest CB, Weiner JP, Fowles J, et al. Self-referral in point-of-service health plans. JAMA. 2001;285(17):2223–2231. PMID: 11325324.

Forrest CB, Bevans KB, Pratiwadi R, Moon J, Teneralli RE, Minton JM, Tucker CA. (2014). Development of the PROMIS ® pediatric global health (PGH-7) measure. Quality of Life Research, 23(4):1221-1231. PMID: 24264804.

Forrest CB, Crandall WV, Bailey LC, Zhang P, Joffe M, Colletti, RB, Adler, J, Baron, HI, Berman, J, del Rosario, F, Grossman, AB, Hoffenberg, EJ, Israel, EJ, Kim SC, Lightdale, JR, Margolis PA, Marsolo K, Mehta DI, Milov, DE, Patel, AS, Tung J & Kappelman MD (2014). Effectiveness of anti-TNFα for Crohn disease: research in a pediatric learning health system. Pediatrics, 134(1), 37-44. PMID: 24935993.

Forrest CB, Margolis P, Seid M, Colletti RB. (2014). PEDSnet: How A Prototype Pediatric Learning Health System Is Being Expanded Into A National Network. Health Affairs, 33(7), 1171–1177. PMID: 25006143.

Bailey L.C., Forrest C.B., Zhang P., Richards T.M., Livshits A. & DeRusso P.A. (2014). Association of antibiotics in infancy with early childhood obesity. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(11), 1063-1069. PMID: 25265089.


Forrest CB, Fiks AG, Bailey LC, Localio R, Grundmeier RW, Richards T, Karavite DJ, Elden L, Alessandrini EA. (2013). Improving adherence to otitis media guidelines with clinical decision support and physician feedback. Pediatrics, 131(4):e1071-81. PMID: 23478860.

Bailey LC, Milov DE, Kelleher K, Kahn MG, Del Beccaro M, Yu F, Richards T, Forrest CB. (2013). Multi-Institutional Sharing of Electronic Health Record Data to Assess Childhood Obesity. Public Library of Science One, 8(6):e66192. PMID: 23823186.

Forrest CB, Bevans KB, Riley AW, Crespo R, Louis TA. Health and School Outcomes During Children's Transition into Adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2013; 52:186-94. PMID: 23332483.


Forrest CB, Bevans KB, Tucker C, Riley, AW, Ravens-Sieberer U, Gardner W, Pajer K. (2012). The patient-reported outcome measurement information system (PROMIS®) for children and youth: application to pediatric psychology. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37(6), 614–621. PMID: 22362923.

Awards and Honors

2004, Child Health Services Investigator of the Year, AcademyHealth

2011, Most Outstanding Research Abstract of the Year, AcademyHealth

2016, John Morgan Society, University of Pennsylvania

2023, Elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)

Leadership and Memberships

1997-present, Academic Pediatric Association

1997-present, AcademyHealth

2000-present, International Society for Quality of Life Research