The first pediatric-training program of its kind in the nation, the UC Davis Community Partnerships with Pediatricians for Healthy Children provides medical residents a grassroots experience in disadvantaged neighborhoods struggling to create the healthiest and safest environments for their children.
"Physicians have a greater responsibility to their patients beyond telling them what will keep them healthy," said UC Davis pediatrician and program developer Richard Pan. "For example, we traditionally tell children with weight problems to eat healthy foods and get more exercise, and then send them on their way. To be more effective, we need to be in our patients' communities and neighborhoods working with families to help find ways for the children to get good food and exercise. Maybe it's helping to develop community vegetable gardens or parks where children and parents can play safely."
The cutting-edge program, based on an existing child-advocacy effort at UC Davis and several Sacramento-area neighborhood collaboratives, will be expanded and formalized through a $1.8 million grant from the New York-based Dyson Foundation's Anne E. Dyson Community Pediatrics Training Initiative. The Dyson Initiative funds programs that will develop a new generation of pediatricians with skills and knowledge of community-based medicine, advocacy and the capacity to improve the health of all children in their communities.
The UC Davis program will link medical residents with community collaboratives, establish neighborhood health clinics for children and help medical residents develop a broad understanding of how communities work together.