- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
The requirement for advocacy education in pediatric residency training offers an opportunity for chapters and districts to strengthen their partnerships with advocacy faculty and residency programs in their state. The AAP Community Pediatrics Training Initiative (CPTI), which promotes community and advocacy training in pediatric residency training programs, offers many ways to foster these collaborations.
Regional partnerships among residency programs
Advocacy training directors at residency programs in Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Ohio have begun forming regional advocacy training collaboratives that build peer networks to support faculty development, curriculum development and advocacy on behalf of children.
Some collaboratives happen naturally. For example, the New York State Pediatric Advocacy Coalition developed as graduates of the University of Rochester Pediatric Links to the Community program moved to other academic institutions in the state and looked for ways to build their own advocacy training curricula. They saw an opportunity to share best practices in community pediatrics training and hosted the first conference in 2013 with more than 10 New York residency programs represented. Leaders from AAP District II (N.Y.) led a legislative training session. (Because New York and California have multiple chapters, state-level advocacy is coordinated at the district level.)
Other partnerships are developed more intentionally. Leaders of the California Collaborative in Community Pediatrics and Legislative Advocacy sought foundation funding to bring together 13 residency programs across the state. The California collaborative allowed advocacy training faculty to share ideas and resources, identify gaps in curricula, and develop joint educational activities. It also has been a way for the many residency programs to partner with the four California chapters and AAP District IX. Residents have attended lobby days at the capitol, and dozens of residents testified in support of one of District IX’s legislative priorities.
“The Community Pediatrics Collaborative is a tremendous resource to AAP chapters in California. We are able to do more in advocacy and do it better because of the direct and coordinated involvement of faculty and residents,” said Kris Calvin, chief executive officer of District IX, also known as AAP California (AAP-CA).
Several California pediatric residency programs are piloting advocacy rotations in partnership with the CA chapters. Residents visit the AAP-CA office or connect virtually to receive training on reviewing bills, developing positions and advocacy through letterwriting and social media.
“Evaluations show that residents increase their interest in advocacy, advocacy skills and understanding of the value of chapter membership,” according to Calvin.
Benefits of collaboration
“The opportunity to help build collaborations between chapters and residency programs is a win-win for everyone,” said Ben Hoffman, M.D., FAAP, CPTI associate director.
“Residents learn from chapter leaders and engage in practical and relevant initiatives, while concurrently building capacity for effective future leaders for communities and the Academy.”
Chapters also benefit by demonstrating the value of chapter involvement as well as highlighting opportunities for engagement.
Some chapter leaders take a few minutes at the pediatric residency program’s grand rounds to describe a timely advocacy issue and invite attendees to write postcards or make calls to their elected officials.
The North Carolina Chapter sends a monthly calendar of regional and state advocacy opportunities to the five residency training programs in the state. Individual residents often become involved in these activities.
“Chapter leaders often serve as mentors or sponsors at these events, which supports member recruitment,” said Steve Shore, M.S.W., executive director of the North Carolina Pediatric Society.
Once chapters and residency programs begin collaborating, they often identify other ways in which they can partner. Such partnerships can be a valuable entrée into an academic institution, if the chapter does not have a strong relationship, and can add power and numbers to the chapter’s advocacy efforts.
CPTI supports chapter/residency collaboration
CPTI has made formation and support of regional and statewide collaboratives a strategic goal. Such collaboratives accelerate the development of strong advocacy training and help create mechanisms to advocate effectively on behalf of children. Connecting residency programs and chapters has always been a priority. Some CPTI grant programs require chapter/residency partnerships. For others, it is strongly encouraged.
Early this year, CPTI will open a call for proposals for two grant programs that chapters can use to spark or strengthen collaboration with residency programs.
The Advocacy Training Grants offer chapters $1,000 to collaborate with one or more residency programs on advocacy education.
The Leonard P. Rome CATCH Visiting Professorship brings an expert to partner with a residency program. The chapter Community Access to Child Health facilitators are involved with the program, and other chapter leaders and members often are involved as well. Many residency programs have used this opportunity to bring together several residency programs.
If your chapter is interested in strengthening advocacy collaboration with residency programs in your state, contact Jeanine Donnelly, manager of the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative, ator 800-933-4016, ext. 7397.