Advocacy & Public Health
“Mister!” he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”
— Theodore Geisel (Dr Seuss), The Lorax
While many don’t realize it, the birth of modern organized pediatrics came about over child health advocacy. The American Academy of Pediatrics was founded in 1930 after the AMA House of Delegates overrode the Pediatric Section’s support of the Sheppard-Towner Act in 1922, which authorized the federal government to provide grants to states for maternal and child health activities. Our program follows in that rich tradition of advocacy as a key component of pediatric training and practice. Additionally, it is an expression of the Wisconsin Idea in action.
Many medical students enter training passionate about different aspects of child health. Our goal is to allow you to develop those interests through our Residency Advocacy Curriculum, designed to improve residents’ skills as a child advocate. We offer several opportunities for residents to take advantage of:
- Advocacy Curriculum: Interwoven throughout our PL-1 community pediatric experiences, the Advocacy Curriculum incorporates online learning with reflective assignments together with real-world experiences designed to expose residents to the full breadth and practice of advocacy. Ranging from community advocacy groups to medical interpreters to legislative matters, a full array of experiences and opportunities for learning about resources, approaches, and practical techniques are covered.
- Database: The Madison Advocacy Database – Computerized Access to Projects (MADCAP) is a self-archiving, collaboratively-editable system containing the advocacy projects of residents and faculty, available 24 hours a day. MADCAP allows for the intellectual output of residents to be immediately useful to colleagues and, ultimately, for child health.
- Team Advocacy Project: Interns self-select into groups of 3 to 5 residents, who will work on a team advocacy project throughout their first year. Offering an opportunity to practically work on an issue and make a real difference for child health, these projects are meant to both teach the principles of planning and implementing a project as well as have a meaningful impact. Designed to mimic the process by which advocacy is often carried out after training is completed, we expect that this will be an enjoyable and enriching experience.
- Longitudinal and Collaborative Advocacy: Residents may use their team advocacy project as the basis for their Academic Project. Others may choose to develop their projects further over time in other ways, including seeking grant funding or incorporating it into other rotations. We also encourage collaboration and sharing in longer-term projects, both between residents, as well as residents/faculty, residents/University, and residents/community. Connections to outside organizations, including the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics are facilitated.
For questions regarding pediatric advocacy or to request guest access to MADCAP, please e-mail dnavsaria [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (Dr. Dipesh Navsaria)
The Wisconsin AAP, State Medical Society of Wisconsin, and the pediatric residency programs in Madison, Milwaukee, and Marshfield join together annually for Wisconsin Pediatric Residents’ Advocacy Day. Each year, this conference has a different focus, e.g. various legislative issues, issues affecting urban populations, issues affecting rural/farming populations, depending on which program is hosting the conference. These experiences allow the participants to learn about existing advocacy programs and collaborate on issues important to child health.
“but NOW,” says the Once-ler,
“Now that YOU’RE here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.