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Advocacy at Children's National

One of the many advantages of our location is the convergence of several child advocacy organizations in the nation’s capital. These organizations often look to Children’s National faculty and residents for expertise, and provide ample opportunities for residents from all tracks to get involved. Our residency program adheres to the philosophy that child advocacy is a fundamental skill for every pediatrician.

To this end, we have created the Child Health Advocacy and Public Policy (CHAPP) Pathway to provide opportunities to augment pediatric residency training with advocacy and public policy elective opportunities.

Additional examples of how we have built advocacy into our curriculum to reach all residents include:

  • Our noon conference and Professorial Round curricula include advocacy training and provide residents with the basics of health policy
  • Our Global Health Curriculum encourages residents to include advocacy as part of their international electives
  • A yearly “August Advocacy Month” aimed at increasing pediatric residents’ engagement in-patient, community and legislative level advocacy through weekly didactics, online learning modules and hands on field trips
  • The Trainee Education in Advocacy and Community Health (TEACH) curriculum incorporates child poverty as a social determinant of health into each year of the Children's National pediatric residency primary care education. The curriculum consists of interactive modules, experiential learning at a government benefits site, home visits, and other activities. The curriculum was designed with input from residents, educators, social workers, and community members and is based on the learning objectives of the U.S. Child Poverty Curriculum.

Our residents are lucky to have unique exposure to the Child Health Advocacy Institute, which functions as the hub of Children’s National progress in legislative activity, community advocacy and advocacy-related research. As the first hospital-based department in the country focused exclusively on child health advocacy, CHAI is on the forefront of this space.

  • During intern year, residents spend one afternoon with CHAI faculty and third-year residents from the Community Health Track discussing the basics of advocacy and how to integrate advocacy throughout residency training.
  • Residents rotate through CHAI during their elective time or as part of the Community Health Track’s Advocacy Rotation or if they chose to be part of the CHAPP Pathway. Residents learn about pediatric public health policy and learn skills to become effective advocates for children’s health.
  • Residents are invited by CHAI faculty whenever they are testifying or attending interesting hearings on Capitol Hill at the federal level, or with any local governments.

There also are many other ways for residents to get involved in advocacy, including:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opportunities: Serving as a Program Delegate in the DC Chapter of the AAP Board Meetings and helping coordinate resident involvement in chapter activities; participating in Annual Advocacy Day that attracts residents from across the US to lobby for child-health related issues on Capitol Hill; applying for an AAP internship, a month-long elective spent in AAP’s Federal Affairs office; or attending the Annual Legislative Conference of workshops that culminates in a day lobbying on Capitol Hill
  • Children's Defense Fund Annual Advocacy Day: Annual event held on Capitol Hill by the more than 40-year-old nonprofit child advocacy organization.
  • REACH Projects: Residents work with Children's National faculty who have an interest in International Health, are faculty in CHAI, or have leadership positions in the D.C. Department of Health and the Maryland Emergency Medical Services for Children. An example of a project is the Sickle Cell Disease Transition Education Program.