The Issue. Given the critical role of pediatricians in child advocacy, it is important to understand how to train pediatricians to speak out to improve the health and well-being of children. This article describes the experience of developing and implementing a 5-day child advocacy course at the University of Leeds, which formed part of a master’s program. Eight community pediatricians and pediatric registrars participated in the initial course. The material from the course has been published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.1 This exercise was about the only time as a teacher that I also started at the same level as the students in the course. We started off by defining what we meant by advocacy. The definition that we chose was “the active support of a cause or course of action,” and we applied this to any child problem for which the system was at fault and use of action was required. What is needed to be an effective advocate? One must have an awareness of issues confronting children, in particular on the local level and not only on the national and international levels. One then needs to gain an understanding of the political framework of the issue, how change can occur, and how one can contribute to bringing about the necessary change. Then follows the identification and acquisition of the practical skills and competencies related to effecting these changes. Finally, one needs to have a successful experience tackling a particular issue to realize that one can be effective.
- Received March 14, 2003.
- Accepted March 14, 2003.
- Copyright © 2003 by the American Academy of Pediatrics