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Academic Careers in Advocacy: Who Says It Cannot Be Done?

June 30, 2022

The importance of pediatricians serving as advocates for children has never been more important. A few years ago, we created Advocacy Case Studies in our journal as a way for pediatricians to share their work and the outcomes. We are impressed with the important work that is described in the articles submitted to this section. 

Yet advocacy is generally not considered for professional advancement in academic centers compared to the more traditional categories of research, teaching, clinical service, and administration. A Special Article being early released this month by Bode et al (10.1542/peds.2021-055014) begins to remedy this situation by issuing a call to action for academic children’s hospitals to consider faculty advocacy efforts with the same academic legitimacy as it does research and teaching. To help make that happen, the authors of this article provide the scaffolding needed for pediatric departments to create an advocacy portfolio similar to the teaching portfolio used to document the scholarly attributes of medical educators. The portfolio, created by the AAP’s Community Pediatric Training Initiative (CPTI), is composed of 8 domains and can be found at Each of the authors, several of whom are also members of the CPTI, also share in the article of what they have done to create pathways for advocacy advancement in their home institutions in ways that can be generalized to other institutions.

If you are at an academic institution and want to be valued academically for your advocacy work, this study is a keeper and will provide you with what you need to advocate to your promotions committee to expand the academic advancement promotion criteria to include advocacy.  

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