Session Chairs: Euan Ross, MD, and John Pascoe, MD, FAAP
Speakers: Mitch Blair, MB, BS, BSc, MSc, FRCPCH, FRCP, FRIPH, Mary Rudolf, MD, MB, BS, BSc, DC, FRCPCH, FAAP, Renee R. Jenkins, MD, FAAP, and Thomas G. DeWitt, MD, FAAP
The aim of this session is to define curricular issues and approaches to undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education to address critical contemporary determinants of child health. Such issues include a focus on how to train students and residents/registrars about social and economic health determinants and provide skills related to advocacy, community-oriented primary care, and population-based medicine.
These efforts are being pursued in the context of the emerging discipline of community pediatrics in the United States and the United Kingdom. Understanding community pediatrics, increasing its visibility, and demonstrating its relevance and importance to the future of pediatrics are our ultimate challenges. It is most important to the future of pediatrics that this knowledge and perspective be imparted to young physicians. Mentorship of pediatricians in training and their involvement in successful advocacy experiences are key to engaging and sustaining them in the practice of community pediatrics.
It also is important to understand that we are in new territory—there has been a seismic shift in the world of child health that will require new skills to understand and teach. Unfortunately, there are few people in either the United States or the United Kingdom who have been trained to 1) teach new knowledge that is only now being generated about the evolving morbidities of contemporary child health; 2) change traditional attitudes about the preeminence of biomedical medicine; and 3) develop skills in child advocacy to impact the social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of child health in our respective countries.
We must begin this journey together and learn from one another, through colleagues in other professions and from other communities, if we are to succeed. Interdisciplinary training will need to expand beyond the biomedical and related disciplines to engage professionals from the social sciences. This broad expertise and experience will be required to address the complex issues facing children today.
Universities will play an important role as conveners of the resources necessary to respond to these pressing child health issues and as purveyors of the interdisciplinary skills required for the success of these responses. Academic resources must be leveraged and integrated with those of the community to effect positive change in the education of health professionals and in the health of children in our respective countries.
The articles in this session will expand on these perspectives to provide a framework for redefining medical education in the context of community pediatrics. Mitch Blair, MB, BS, BSc, MSc, FRCPCH, FRCP, FRIPH, will discuss how to introduce issues of poverty and inequalities to future physicians with an emphasis on engaging students and encouraging self-learning. Mary Rudolf, MD, MB, BS, BSc, DC, FRCPCH, FAAP, will further the discussion as to how to train pediatricians to speak out and effect change. She will draw on her experience with a child advocacy course that she developed at the University of Leeds. Renee Jenkins, MD, FAAP, will discuss the US graduate and postgraduate medical education system and the processes required to make the critical and sustainable changes necessary to ensure the capacity of pediatricians to respond to contemporary determinants of child health. Finally, Thomas G. DeWitt, MD, FAAP, will conclude with a discussion of the application of social and adult learning theory to community pediatrics curricula.