A review article published in the journal Pediatrics outlines strategies for engaging physicians-in-training in this new approach to providing care and building strong community partnerships.

Rigorous residency training in community health and child advocacy will help fight the increasing impact of social and environmental risk factors on the health of children and adolescents.

"Many of the health issues affecting our nation's children are problems which the whole community, not solely the individual family must address," says pediatrician and health services researcher Nancy L. Swigonski, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

"Pediatricians see patients for 15 minutes a few times a year to treat such problems as asthma or lead poisoning, but for these illnesses, as for many others, treating the disease is not sufficient. We must alter the environment to get to the root of the problem and we must equip our physicians with the knowledge and skills to work in a community environment, says Swigonski.

Swigonski and colleagues provided examples of training programs and strategies for involving pediatricians in community health issues. Each residency training program is different in its resources and needs, the authors stress.

"For residents and medical students, this training provides an important reconnection to interests and passions that may have led them to a career in medicine, advanced competencies in working with communities and the acquisition of life-long leadership skills relevant to careers in both subspecialty and general pediatrics," the authors observe.

Rigorous training of young physicians in community health and child advocacy will help fight the increasing impact of social and environmental risk factors on the health of children and adolescents.

MEDICA.de; Source: Indiana University