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Child Health Evaluative Sciences


Toronto Outcomes Research in Child Health (TORCH) is an initiative developing and employing evidence-based methods and techniques in the development and measurement of “core outcome sets” in randomized controlled trials and cohort studies. To date, we have considered the areas of neonatal opioid abstinence syndrome, bronchiolitis, appendicitis, and complex care.

Given heterogeneous definitions, lack of valid instruments for evaluating paediatric acute diarrheal diseases, conduct of meaningful comparative effectiveness trials is limited and the opportunity to carry out and interpret knowledge synthesis is impeded” (Johnston et al, 2010)

Outcomes research in paediatric settings is rapidly growing area of inquiry that is acquiring breadth but has achieved little depth in any single content area. Much work needs to be done to inform decision making regarding optimal ways to finance, organize and deliver child care services” (Forrest et al 2003)


Toronto Outcomes Research in Child Health (TORCH) is a new and exciting collaborative initiative developing and employing evidence-based methods and techniques in the development and measurement of “core outcome sets” in randomized controlled trials and cohort studies.

Founded by Dr. Martin Offringa, Senior Scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences (CHES) program, this initiative allows researchers to address the unique challenges of outcomes selection and measurement in pediatric studies.

Core outcome sets enable clinical researchers to:

  1. Conduct comparative studies, such as systematic reviews
  2. Inform health policy decision-making
  3. Facilitate the bridging of gaps between bench and bedside care

Led by CHES scientists and divisional representatives from The Hospital for Sick Children, TORCH aims to become a paediatric outcomes centre that will create opportunities to enhance the development of child health core outcome sets using rigorous and systematic selection methods, and to study valid outcome measurement instruments. In collaboration with existing outcome organizations within Canada and across the world, TORCH is a local platform for networking and cooperation with other established outcome groups and stakeholders, such as COMET, PROs, PROMIS, PROQOLID, DIRUM, COSMIN, CANCHILD.


To enhance child health by ensuring children are given with safe and effective treatment based on relevant and accurate outcomes in research.


To create opportunities for improving outcomes selection and measurement in cohort studies and trials by:

  1. Raising awareness on the importance of meaningful outcomes selection and measurement in children;
  2. Providing methodology to select measure and report truthful, discriminative and feasible outcomes in child health research;
  3. Supporting engagement with research ethics boards, funders, journal editors and regulators to critically appraise outcomes selection, measurement and reporting.


  1. Raise awareness regarding the importance of “core outcomes” selection and measurement.
  2. Develop methodology to identify child and family specific needs in selecting and measuring outcomes in children.
    • Develop and evaluate methodology.
    • To develop a “core outcome” set for any paediatric disease.
    • To select and evaluate appropriate outcome measurement instruments.
  3. Network with existing outcomes research organizations such as COMET, OMERACT, PROMIS, DIRUM, COSMIN.
    • To ensure research is high impact by reducing duplication of effort and harmonizing methodologies within fields.
  4. Translate to practice in collaboration with stakeholders, including research ethics boards, funders, regulators, journal editors and governments.
    • To promote uptake and use of “core outcomes” selection and measurement methodology in paediatric clinical trials.


Bradley C. Johnston, Larissa Shamseer, Bruno R. da Costa, Ross T. Tsuyuki, Sunita Vohra (2010) Measurement issues in trials of pediatric acute diarrheal diseases: a systematic review. Pediatrics 126: e222-231

Christopher B. Forrest, Scott A. Shipman, Denise Dougherty, Marlene R. Miller. (2003) Outcomes research in pediatric settings: recent trends and future directions. Pediatrics. 111(1): 171–178.


Updated January 2017