Childhood Advocacy Training

Child Advocacy

Project REACH: Resident Experience in Advocating for Children's Health

Pediatricians play a key role in promoting the health and well-being of children. Pediatricians must work towards this goal not only by providing high-quality, clinical care, but also by advocating for children on an individual, community, and health policy level. To prepare our future pediatricians to become successful advocates, we provide our residents with the necessary tools, experiences and education in child advocacy during their training.Our child advocacy curriculum, Project REACH, includes both didactic and experiential components. The curriculum includes the following elements: 

CACH 1 (Child Advocacy & Community Health) Experience

Through this rotation, residents have the opportunity to participate in a variety of community-based health experiences and activities. The curriculum is designed to provide residents with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the social, economic, behavioral, and environmental factors that are critical factors in the health and development of children. Residents work in safety net clinics with a focus on the issues involved in delivering primary care in settings that serve vulnerable and racially/ethnically diverse children and families. Residents engage with community agencies and participate in nurse home visits, WIC appointments, and early intervention visits.   Residents learn about community demographics, perform asset-based mapping of local neighborhoods, and identify and visit community-based organizations advocating for children. By the end of the rotation, residents should have an understanding of the needs and assets of the community, of the current services available to children in the community, and of possible gaps in service that can form the basis for future advocacy projects. There will be additional time and support to pursue these advocacy projects during residency through the CACH2 rotation and Advocacy Groups (SIGs).  

CACH 2 Experience

Learning basic skills to prepare our residents for the role of advocates in their communities is a priority for our program. We begin with an exploration of the world in which our patients live examining demographics, poverty and resources available in the Portland area. The best learning about our community occurs out in the community, and in concert with the CACH activities, residents learn how to perform structured assessments and asset maps. The CACH program empowers residents to explore the needs of their communities, and walks each resident through the process of developing an interest, and formulating a solution that engages the community. Residents get a chance to practice these skills with mentoring through writing a simple grant (See CATCH grants below), and an op-ed about their interest.

Resident Advocacy Projects

Residents familiarize themselves with advocacy tools and resources by completing an advocacy project during their residency. All residents choose or create an Advocacy SIG (special interest group) that they work with throughout their residency training. The goals of the Advocacy SIGs are to encourage collaboration, share ideas and achieve successful completion of projects. Projects are driven by residents with faculty oversight, and are identified through resident passions, interests and past experiences. Present topics include:

  • Immunizations
  • Foster Care  Legislation for Children
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Global Health
  • Reach Out and Read
  • Child Abuse
  • Car Seat Safety

Legislative Advocacy

We have a longitudinal curriculum designed to help residents learn and practice the skills necessary to advocate for children at the legislative level. We use a patient related problem as a springboard, and develop resident "coalitions" who collaborate to propose legislative solutions. We use those solutions to create educational campaigns, media approaches and legislative testimony, and make sure that residents get to practice these skills in a collaborative environment. Faculty for this curriculum includes pediatricians, state legislators, and media experts and personalities.

Resident CATCH Grants

Residents are encouraged to apply for a Resident CATCH (Community Access To Children's Health) Grant, administered by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Our institution has both faculty and resident liaisons to this national program that can support the application process and implementation of projects. Six residents have been awarded a CATCH grant since 2003.