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James Robbins, PhD

Research Overview

Dr. Robbins is a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Associate Director of the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Robbins is trained as a medical sociologist and has interests in the hospital care of infants with birth defects, the impact of nutritional deficits on the health and well-being of children, the safety and effectiveness of hospital care of children, and outcomes of mental health care for adolescents.

Dr. Robbins directs the Child Health Services Research Group, a multidisciplinary research team currently supported by Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Centers for Disease Control, and the Arkansas Biosciences Institute. Recent projects include use of Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) databases to address racial disparities in childhood appendectomy, longitudinal assessment of management of traumatic brain injury, and changing rates of neonatal jaundice and kernicterus. Faculty researchers in Child Health Services Research Group serve as research mentors to trainees and junior faculty in pediatrics and work to involve new investigators in all health services research projects.

Dr. Robbins also directs the Health Services Research and Prevention working group of the Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. Dr. Robbins has directed projects to assess use of folic acid supplements among Arkansas women and women in the Mississippi Delta and a randomized trial confirming that physician advice increases women’s use of folic acid supplements. Dr. Robbins is currently funded by a cooperative agreement from CDC to use the HCUP to study conditions of the neonate. The grant has resulted in completed projects demonstrating reduced national rates of some folate-preventable birth defects in addition to neural tube defects following fortification of grains with folic acid in 1998 and drastically reduced rates of newborn hospitalizations for fetal alcohol exposure over the past 10 years. Ongoing projects from this grant include assessment co-occurring birth defects among newborns with lethal chromosomal anomalies, racial and ethnic disparities in the surgical repair of gastroschisis, use of the HCUP as a complement to state birth defects surveillance, and longitudinal study of trends in newborns exposed to cocaine and amphetamine.

With support from National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Robbins has also developed an outcomes measurement instrument for adolescent mental health care (the Adolescent Treatment Outcomes Module – ATOM).

Recent Publications

Stuff J, Casey PH, Szeto KL, Gossett JM, Robbins JM, Simpson PM, Connell C, Bogle ML. Household food security is associated with adult health status, Journal of Nutrition 2004; 134: 2330-2335.

Robbins JM, Cleves MA, Collins HB, Andrews N, Smith LN, Hobbs CA. Randomized trial of a brief physician-based intervention to increase women’s use of folic acid. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2005; 192: 1126-1132.

Baldwin RL, Green JW, Shaw JL, Simpson DD, Bird TM, Cleves MA, Robbins JM. Physician risk attitudes and hospitalization of infants with bronchiolitis. Academic Emergency Medicine 2005; 12: 142-146.

Robbins JM, Kotagal UR, Kini NM, Mason WH, Parker JG, Kirschbaum MS. At-home outcomes of hospitalization for bronchiolitis. Ambulatory Pediatrics 2006; 6: 8-14.

Robbins JM, Hopkins SE, Mosley BS, Casey PH, Cleves MA, Hobbs CA, Knowledge and use of folic acid among women in the Lower Mississippi Delta. Journal of Rural Health 2006; 22: 196-203.

Robbins JM, Tilford JM, Bird TM, Cleves MA, Reading AJ, Hobbs CA. Hospitalizations of newborns with folate-sensitive birth defects before and after fortification of foods with folic acid. Pediatrics 2006; 118: 906-915.

Taylor BJ, Robbins JM, Gold JI, Logsdon TM, Bird TM, Anand KJS. Assessing postoperative pain in neonates: A multi-center observational study. Pediatrics 2006; 118: e992-e1000.

Robbins JM , Bird TM, Tilford JM, Reading AJ, Cleves MA, Aitken ME, Druschel CM, Hobbs CA. Reduction in newborn discharge coding of in utero alcohol effects in the United States, 1993 to 2002. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 2006; 160: 1224-1231.

Robbins JM, Bird TM, Tilford JM, Cleves MA, Hobbs CA, Grosse SD, Correa A. Length of hospital stay, hospital charges and in-hospital deaths during the neonatal period among infants with major birth defects in the United States in 2003. MMWR 2007; 56: 25-29.

*To find additional publications by this author, please visit Pubmed Central, a National Institutes of Health-operated site for electronic distribution of life sciences research reports.

Research Support

CDC: Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (Director, Health Services Research and Prevention core)

CDC: Using the HCUP databases to study birth defects (Principal Investigator)

CDC: Epidemiology and hospital management of craniofacial malformations (Principal Investigator)

USDA: Delta nutrition research initiative (Co-Investigator)

National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction: Health care use of children with craniofacial malformations (Principal Investigator)

National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction: Quality of life of children with orofacial clefts (Principal Investigator)

Arkansas Biosciences Institute: CARE health services research core program (Principal Investigator)

Arkansas Children’s Hospital: Child health services research group (Principal Investigator)


Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention
13 Children's Way, Mail Slot 512-40
Little Rock, Arkansas 72204
1-877-662-4567 toll free