Many health problems affecting children today are based in the community and cannot be easily addressed in the office setting. Child advocacy is an effective approach for pediatricians to take.
To describe pediatric residents’ choices of advocacy topics and interventions.
Cross-sectional observational study.
Residents from 3 pediatric training programs participated in the Child Advocacy Curriculum, which featured standardized workshops and the development of individual advocacy projects. To evaluate the curriculum, project descriptions and material products were analyzed to determine individual advocacy topics, topic themes, and targets of project interventions. Differences among programs were assessed. Residents also completed an anonymous questionnaire assessing their experience with the Child Advocacy Curriculum.
Residents demonstrated a wide range of interests in selecting advocacy topics: 99 residents chose 38 different topics. The most common topic was obesity (13 residents) followed by health care access (9), teen pregnancy prevention (6), and oral health (5). Themes included health promotion and disease prevention, injury prevention, health care access, children with special health care needs, child development, at-risk populations, and the impact of media on child health. The project interventions targeted the local community most frequently (37%), followed by resident education (27%), hospital systems (21%), and public and health policy (15%). The vast majority of participating residents reported a positive experience with the Child Advocacy Curriculum.
The wide range of topics and settings in which residents developed projects illustrates residents’ extensive interests and ingenuity in applying needed advocacy solutions to complex child health issues.