We are pleased to publish the latest Children’s Research Digest on the theme of “Improving Child Health Through Research”. There is extensive evidence to suggest that optimal health is protective for developmental, socio-emotional, physical and cognitive milestones throughout childhood and young adulthood. Social, economic, environmental and individual characteristics and behaviours each contribute to health outcomes which can have profound and lasting effects throughout life. This volume focuses on children’s mental and physical health and will cover the life span from birth to young adults, with a particular focus on children’s outcomes in health care settings. 

The articles in this volume represent the broad spectrum of research that is ongoing and necessary in relation to child health. Articles start from a focus on health promotion in the early years and turn to mental health in college students, the challenges of labels and accurate diagnoses, quality improvement initiatives in health care systems, children and parents’ experiences of rare and life-limiting conditions as well as an overview of health service use and planning and include international perspectives on some of these issues, including on the important problem of medical poverty.

We would like to thank all authors and the reviewers for their contributions to this issue. Special thanks are also due to all who helped with proof reading and to AAD for providing the design and layout. Continuing our recent attempt to make the Digest more sustainable, authors have been offered to make a contribution towards printing costs to facilitate greater distribution and dissemination of the Digestto appropriate audiences. We thank everyone who contributed.

We are delighted to have Assistant Professor Suja Somanadhan from UCD as guest editor on this important volume of the Digest.