Community Pediatrics and Advocacy Program (CPAP)
The mission of the Community Pediatrics and Advocacy Program (CPAP) is to teach residents to become pediatricians who:
- Are as comfortable and competent in their role as child advocates, as they are in their medical practice.
- Effectively advocate for an individual child and family, as well as all children in their community on a city, state, regional and national level.
- Work in partnership with community-based agencies to promote the well-being of children.
- Create an expanded focus on community-based pediatrics and advocacy throughout the Hospital.
In cooperation with community partners, and based on the medical model of teaching (observe, learn, practice skills, then teach), CPAP combines didactic presentations and practical, interactive educational opportunities with independent and increasing community-based work as more advocacy skills are acquired. Community practice of medicine in the primary care centers continues throughout the residency with a strong advocacy base to frame the experience.
During two-week ambulatory rotations - which occur six times per academic year - experiential learning, didactics, discussion, and practice, are integrated into residents' training. Residents will then use behavior change to incorporate advocacy skills into pediatric practice.
During intern year, the longitudinal curriculum is framed for residents so that skills are introduced in a meaningful way. As they learn bout community resources, residents become comfortable with skills such as educating elected officials, engaging stakeholders, effective partnership, community asset mapping, networking, cultural effectiveness, and public presentation.
Second-year of training provides opportunities to use advocacy skills by teaching in elementary schools, observing the child welfare system, and drafting a proposal for an advocacy project of the residents' choosing. Much of the advocacy experiences reinforce the concepts provided to residents in the Bias & Equity Curriculum and resident-selected Advanced Skills, Electives, and IEUs.
Third-year residents present their Advocacy Project at the CPAP Advocacy Noon conference poster session, which is attended by faculty, community partners, and hospital leaders. Working with program leaders, senior residents are able to define what 'advocacy' looks like for for them - how it will play a part in their career, and how it intersects with their academic and personal interests.
All residents are provided with opportunities to participate (and lead) Advocacy Journal Club (focusing on health disparities) and attend Advocacy Noon Conferences. The resident-run Advocacy Leadership Council partners with Advocacy Program leaders to ensure that residents are informed of local and national advocacy efforts, opportunities to weigh in on policy, and provide ways to connect with, and give back to, the local community.
How do we define advocacy for a pediatrician?
Child advocacy is the active support of ideas, strategies or actions that seek to improve the health and well-being of individual children or adolescents, their families and communities. The goals of child advocacy include:
- Achieving social justice for youth
- Empowering families
- Assisting communities to support the healthy development of children and adolescents
Advocates work to affect the condition of an individual, either directly or indirectly, by fostering the health of families, communities, and populations.
Children and adolescents need strong advocates. They cannot vote, have no political voice, and often have little or no control over their environments. Child and adolescent morbidities have specific biological and behavioral determinants. Advocates who truly understand children are needed to maintain and enhance vital health and educational services, resources, and entitlements. Public policy and legislative advocacy are needed to address system-level problems on the local, state and federal level.
Pediatricians, regardless of specialty, advocate for children and adolescents every day. The American Academy of Pediatrics defines pediatricians as physicians who strive to attain optimal physical, mental, emotional, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Pediatricians have a unique opportunity to address all aspects of health and wellness that cannot be achieved by medical treatment alone.
Senior Advocacy Projects
Senior Advocacy Projects are the capstone of the CPAP curriculum and training. Development and completion of a Senior Advocacy Project provides residents with an opportunity to apply advocacy skills and lessons learned throughout residency to achieve “real life” community advocacy.
Every project will be different due to the unique contribution of the residents. Residents may decide to work alone or in pairs or groups, within or across rotations. Some residents will choose their project based on a particular advocacy skill they want to improve and further develop, while others base their projects on an advocacy issue of interest identified either through CPAP or as life work. It is possible for residents to develop their own project, or advance an ongoing project with additional advocacy goals and objectives.
Examples of Senior Advocacy Projects
- Health Lessons for Local Schools Paired with Dancing Classrooms Philly
- Pertussis Vaccination of Infant Caregivers in the Pediatric Office Setting
- Using EHR Simulations to Improve Pediatric Residents’ Efficiency and Attention to Patient Safety
- Increasing Resident Interest and Participation in Summer Camps for Children with Chronic Diseases
The Community Pediatrics and Advocacy Program (CPAP), in conjunction with community partners, has conducted advocacy campaigns prior to Pediatric Grand Rounds since 2002. Since 2008, third-year residents lead the Grand Rounds Advocacy Campaign Initiative during their advocacy rotation. Advocacy campaigns demonstrate to the residents, faculty and hospital staff that child advocacy can be accessible and time-efficient. With prepared fact sheets and sample letters to government officials, we are making a difference for patients and families.
Advocacy campaigns are designed to:
- Encourage (and make it easy for) all hospital staff to sign/address letters to government officials about a timely child advocacy issue; or
- Enhance awareness about an important advocacy issue directly affecting children, families and the community-at-large