Two educational collaboratives in Missouri and the Carolinas have formed to strengthen advocacy and community training in pediatric residency.
Studies show that pediatricians who receive formal training in community health and advocacy during residency are more likely to participate in community activities that promote child health throughout their careers (Minkovitz CV, et al. Pediatrics. 2014;134:83-90).
Through educational collaboratives, faculty in pediatric residency programs in a state or region share existing curricula, develop new educational activities, support and mentor each other, engage in community partnerships to improve children’s health, and encourage residents to participate in advocacy projects and their chapter’s state advocacy.
The four pediatric residency programs in Missouri formed Missouri Children’s Advocacy with Resident Education (MOCARE). The Carolinas Collaborative brought together the eight residency programs in North and South Carolina. These newer collaboratives join existing ones in California and New York.
Collaboratives can significantly enhance residents’ experience and skill development. In April, MOCARE supported the AAP Missouri Chapter advocacy day, helping to bring about 100 residents and pediatricians to meet with state legislators. Most recently, MOCARE held its first leadership training for residents on a new advocacy track. Eight residents and nine faculty, including Community Pediatrics Training Initiative (CPTI) coaches Kathryn L. Plax, M.D., FAAP, and Lisa Chamberlain, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, participated.
The training helped residents better understand themselves as leaders and develop leadership skills. They learned how to identify the community individuals who have the power to make the changes they seek, how to hold productive conversations with community leaders and how to run an effective meeting. The participants also received feedback on their proposed community projects.
“Combining our love for kids and our love for community in efforts to improve health equity with enthusiastic learners and fellow faculty was such an uplifting experience,” Dr. Plax said
“There was such energy and enthusiasm in the room — you could just feel it. I was so impressed with these future pediatric leaders,” Dr. Chamberlain added. “The MOCARE Advocacy Track is off to a great start, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.”
The response from participants also was positive. At the concluding feedback session, one resident reported, “I am leaving here with my tank filled up again.”
Collaboratives also provide mentorship and support to faculty.
“Participating in NYSPAC (New York State Pediatric Advocacy Coalition) has given me and the residents I work with the opportunity to collaborate with others who are passionate about improving the health of children in our state,” said Cappy Collins, M.D., FAAP, a co-lead of NYSPAC. “It is extremely gratifying to know that there is an active, committed group of individuals committed to similar goals and values.”
The Carolinas Collaborative held its first in-state meeting in August. Over the next two years, it will build an educational collaborative to expand its community health curricula and develop projects to address toxic stress in communities. Later this month, faculty will share plans for their community projects. CPTI also will share a map of their curricula to help them identify strengths and areas for improvement.
Collaboratives offer many leadership opportunities, including developing educational activities, evaluating resident training and community projects, and writing promotional and scholarly articles about the work.
“One of the strengths of an educational collaborative is the opportunity for junior faculty from neighboring programs to develop relationships and to engage in statewide and regional leadership opportunities,” said Dr. Chamberlain. “The faculty development we saw in the California Collaborative, as well as in New York, has been one of the lasting impacts of this work.”
MOCARE is supported by a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The Carolinas Collaborative is supported by The Duke Endowment.
For more information on opportunities to enhance community and advocacy training for residents, contact the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative at 800-433-9016, ext. 7397, or firstname.lastname@example.org.