For years, adolescent medicine specialist Maria E. Trent, M.D., M.P.H., FSAHM, FAAP,
has seen how adverse outcomes in her patients are associated with where they live,
the resources they have access to and how the world views them.
Despite the hardships they may face, Dr. Trent always sees the glass as half full.
“The residents and fellows in our program tease me because I walk out of almost every
room saying, ‘I love that kid’ or ‘that mom, dad, family is amazing’ even in cases
where the patient or family is facing significant medical complexity or distress,”
said Dr. Trent, professor of pediatrics, public health and nursing at Johns Hopkins
University Schools of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing. “It is easy to just focus
on the distress, but I have learned after almost 18 years serving mostly families
with low income that this approach is just not healthy for the patients, families
or the medical team.”
Dr. Trent will share the latest data on health disparities and discuss how to improve
care of diverse families, including opportunities to maximize family strengths, during
a seminar titled “Closing the Gap: Reducing Health Disparities Through Practice and
Partnership (S2129).” The session will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, in
room W310 of the convention center.
Pediatricians know that living in poverty or being a racial, ethnic or sexual minority
is associated with poorer health. However, they may not know what they can do to make
a difference in the little time they have with patients.
Dr. Trent, chair of the AAP Section on Adolescent Health Executive Committee and a
member of the Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination, will present cases
to generate discussion on how practices can address their community’s needs.
In her community, for example, adolescent literacy is a concern. So, Dr. Trent used
the Reach Out and Read model to develop a literacy program for teens. She partnered
with educators to develop a reading list for patients with varying reading levels
that includes authors and stories from diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences.
Each time patients come in for care, she gives them a new book.
“While I’ve not studied the impact,” Dr. Trent said, “when I come back into the room
with the discharge paperwork and they’ve started reading the book, I know that it