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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose the Community Health Track?

Children’s National is one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals. Our diverse patient population and extensive connections with local community agencies and The George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services will give you an unparalleled opportunity to learn about community pediatrics in an academic setting. In addition, our location in the nation’s capital gives you unique access to many national organizations working to better the health of children as well as plenty of opportunities to advocate for children on a national level.

The Community Health Track (CHT) is the track for you if you are interested in learning how broad factors such as community deficiencies, available community resources, and health policy can affect children’s health especially in underserved populations. Residents learn to create successful community partnerships, advocate for children, and integrate public health concepts into the everyday practice of medicine to improve the health of underserved communities.

“I picked the CHT because it already builds in all of the things I would have wanted to do with my elective time (advocacy, policy, mobile health unit, global health). Also, there are such varied interests and experiences among the residents in CHT. We can also learn a lot from each other.”

What am I trading in if I am in the Community Health Track instead of the Primary Care Track or the Categorical Track?

For the most part you receive the same inpatient training as categorical residents. During the course of three years, you will have one less month of inpatient pediatrics, but the same amount of time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, and electives. The major difference in the training lies in what you do during your ambulatory months. As part of the CHT, you will be assigned to continuity clinic at an underserved community site with a mentor who is interested in community pediatrics. You will also have specific outpatient rotations designed for you, such as Introduction to Community-Oriented Primary Care and Community Building Blocks, time at Children’s Health Center at THEARC and on the mobile medical vans, a rotation through Children’s Child and Adolescent Protection Center, a block at the Child Health Advocacy Institute and a health policy elective (see Our Curriculum).

Many applicants ask about the difference between the Primary Care Track (PCT) and the Community Health Track. The PCT provides an opportunity to learn in one setting during a concentrated period of time, thereby becoming an integral part of a working pediatric practice. PCT residents spend five blocks of time in both their second and third year working closely with office staff and seeing patients side-by-side with the attendings, to gain in-depth exposure to daily primary care pediatric practice. The CHT’s main focus is on advocacy, public health, and serving the underserved. Therefore, CHT residents will spend outpatient time learning about public health techniques used to identify and address community health needs, becoming a physician advocate, and helping to manage vulnerable populations.

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Is there any time set aside for working in the community?

In your second and third year of training, you will have one half-day a week set aside to do a longitudinal community-based project. You use this time to design a health promotion project for your local community using the concepts of community-oriented primary care and working with a faculty mentor. Additionally, several of the CHT rotations, such as THEARC and CHAI, provide you with time to work with local community-based organizations.

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“My clinical preceptors were excellent teachers. They used clinic time as opportunity for teaching points on patient advocacy and the in and outs of the business of medicine, such as managing an office, billing, and reimbursement.”

What sort of mentorship is available for residents in the Community Health Track?

At the beginning of their first year, each CHT resident is assigned a portfolio advisor who is committed to community pediatrics. As topics for longitudinal projects are identified, additional mentors will be assigned to each resident. Additionally, all of the faculty members of the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health are available to offer career advice for our residents.

What do you expect residents to do after they graduate?

We expect that residents will choose to practice in underserved areas and become leaders in community and public health, even if they decide to subspecialize within the field of pediatrics.  In the past, our residents have gone into both primary care practice and subspecialty fellowships such as in the Emergency Department or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We also expect that some of our residents will choose to further their education by obtaining a Master’s of Public Health degree, pursuing a fellowship in general pediatrics or preventive medicine, or applying for Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars.

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If I decide I want to do subspecialty fellowship training, will my options be limited?

The Community Health Track does not limit your choices, as your inpatient time is almost identical to the Categorical Track. In addition, you will have ample elective time to explore subspecialties of interest during your three years of training.

What is the application process?

Children’s National Medical Center has eight residency positions available each year that are designated as Community Health Track positions. Residency applicants interested in being considered for a Community Health Track position should check off the appropriate Community Health Track box in ERAS. Checking the box does not obligate an applicant to enter the Community Health Track, but interested students selected for interview will have one of their interviews with our Community Health Track faculty.

Since the Categorical, Community Health Track, and Primary Care Track have separate match numbers, Community Health applicants may rank from one to all three of the tracks at Children’s National.

Where can I get more information?

Cara Lichtenstein, MD, MPH
Director of Community Health Track

Marceé White, MD
Assistant Director of Community Health Track

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