Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs

Become a pediatric nursing leader!

Pediatric nurse leaders are critically needed to promote the health of children and youth from diverse backgrounds who are at risk, as well as those who have a chronic illness or disability. Today, as many as 20 percent of U.S. children and youth have special health needs and require care in home, school, primary care, and specialty care settings. These children struggle with chronic physical, emotional, developmental and behavioral conditions such as asthma, autism, diabetes, Down Syndrome, hearing loss and spina bifida. At our Center, students can develop the knowledge and skills to help all children and youth live their lives to the fullest, and help their families and communities be healthy and supportive.


The Center prepares pediatric nursing leaders to improve the quality of care and systems of care for children and youth with an added emphasis on those with special health care needs. Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in primary and specialty care of both children and youth, the organization and delivery of health services, policy, research, education and advocacy. The Center's holistic approach focuses on family-centered care within cultural and community contexts.


The Center has been continuously supported since 1993 by nursing training grant T80-MC00010 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, (Title V, Social Security Act) Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services (MCHB).

Educational opportunities

The Center offers post-master's certificate and doctoral (PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice-DNP) education opportunities as pathways to serve children with special health care needs and their families. Graduates are prepared as pediatric nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, administrators, researchers, educators, public policy-makers and advocates.

The Center also offers continuing education for professionals working with children with special health care needs through educational programs, online resources, conferences and workshops. Educational resources and technical assistance are provided to our maternal and child health partners (MCH).

Areas of research and practice

  • Chronic illness, including asthma and diabetes
  • Cross-cultural health and culturally competent care
  • Family health and caregiving
  • Resilience and stress management
  • Children's satisfaction with health care
  • Service delivery models
  • Family assessment and intervention
  • Population-focused assessment
  • Public policy development
  • Advocacy for children with special needs
  • Complementary and alternative modalities
  • Transition to adult health services
  • Pediatric pain
  • Pediatric palliative care
  • Social capital
  • ©2013 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer
  • Last modified on March 27, 2013