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How the GOLDILOKs® Initiative looks for the “just-right” dose


Children’s Mercy offers the largest and most comprehensive pediatric clinical pharmacology program in North America.  We are combining innovative research with personalized pediatric care to advance the field of individualized therapeutics—medicine that is tailored to each child’s unique needs.

Have you ever noticed that your child took the same medication as someone else, but had a completely different reaction? That’s because medications are prescribed based on what’s average for a child’s age or weight, but not all kids fit the mold.

For some children, it may take several months to find the “just right” medication and dose to treat their disease or symptoms without causing significant side effects. In these situations, a one-size-fits-all approach is not enough. They need precision medicine that factors in their unique characteristics.

Precision medicine and your child’s medications

Precision medicine is the science of finding the “just right” dose of medication for your child. This approach allows your child’s care team to work together with you to make more informed medical decisions about your child’s care. 

By tailoring the dosage to your child’s specific needs, we can increase the likelihood of achieving the benefits of the medication while decreasing the risk of unwanted side effects. Ultimately, this proactive approach can help treat diseases earlier and in some cases, even prevent them, resulting in reduced health care costs and healthier kids.

The science behind medication dosing

At the Children’s Mercy Pediatric Precision Medicine Clinic, known as the GOLDILOKs® Clinic, we consider different ways kids may react to their medications, including:

  • Pharmacokinetics--How the body processes the medication

  • Pharmacodynamics--How the medication affects and interacts with the body

  • Pharmacogenetics--How genetic differences affect how the body responds to a medication

Together, these factors help guide your child’s care team to find a dose that is not too big, not too small, but just right for your child.

What is GOLDILOKs®?

GOLDILOKs® stands for Genomic and Ontogeny-Linked Dose Individualization and cLinical Optimization for KidS. There are two main elements of the program: a research initiative—supported by the National Institutes of Health—and a precision medicine clinic for children with complex medication-related issues.

Our GOLDILOKs® Initiative is a collection of research efforts designed to provide answers to the families we see in the clinic. Through this initiative, we are gathering a wealth of information on genetics, development, environment and other factors that not only make each child unique, but also directly affect how they respond to medications.  With that data, we can then use our analytical tools to try to determine the dose of medication that is “just right” for each individual child.

For example, one group of researchers is studying a medication for ADHD to understand how genetic differences in a child’s body chemistry affect the relationship between the dose administered and how much of the medication is present in the body.

Many other specialists at Children’s Mercy are investigating the relationship between medications and dosages through the GOLDILOKs® Initiative as well. Read more about current research studies and the Children’s Mercy Research Institute.

What to expect at the clinic


The GOLDILOKs® Clinic translates research findings into results for children with complex or unexpected responses to medications. It is one of only a few pediatric precision medicine clinics of its kind throughout the country. Your child’s primary care doctor or specialist may refer you to our clinic for various kinds of medication dilemmas. 

The GOLDILOKs® Clinic typically sees children who:

  • Experience adverse medication reactions (unusual and harmful effects of a medication)

  • Aren’t seeing the expected benefit from their current medications

  • Take multiple medications and have a concern about how they interact

  • May benefit from medication-related genetic testing to better understand how their body processes medications

Your care team

During your visit, you will meet with a pediatrician and a pharmacist who will collaborate with the broader clinic team to find the best care plan for your child. They may recommend additional tools, like genetic testing, to give the team additional information they need to help your child. 

Locations and directions

The GOLDILOKs® Clinic is located at Children’s Mercy Adele Hall campus. We also conduct appointments via telemedicine at the Children’ Mercy clinics in WichitaSt. Joseph, and Joplin.  

Request a consultation

Health care providers, visit our Provider Portal to request a consultation. 

The GOLDILOKs® Clinic is part of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Innovations.