Residents Engage the Community

Department of Pediatrics faculty and global health residents with Centro Hispano director Karen Menendez Coller and staff.
Department of Pediatrics faculty and
global health residents with Centro Hispano
director Karen Menendez Coller and staff.

In 2015, residents in the Department of Pediatrics’ global health track gained valuable local community health experience through a new partnership with Centro Hispano, a nonprofit organization that provides health and social services to Latinos in Dane County.

Global health track director Sabrina Butteris, MD, global health track associate director Laura Houser, MD, chief resident Sarah Webber, MD, and pediatrics faculty Ryan Coller, MD, MPH, first met with Centro Hispano leaders to determine priorities for the partnership.

Together, they decided to focus on a portion of Centro Hispano’s emerging Community Health Worker (CHW) program that promotes reproductive health among adolescent and young adult Latinas.

CHWs are laypeople within a community who provide members of that community with culturally appropriate health education, advocacy, and connections to services. Often, they are a bridge between their community and the health care system.

Eighteen global health residents participated in a five-day curriculum in support of the new program. First, they performed asset mapping to identify reproductive health services in Dane County and to better understand the current status of reproductive health in the population Centro Hispano serves. Then, they outlined a reproductive health curriculum that supports CHWs in their engagement efforts.

In addition, Dr. Webber and Centro Hispano Executive Director Karen Menendez Coller are developing a series of educational group sessions---designed for Latina women and led by CHWs---on maternal-child health from pregnancy through the first year of a child’s life. Dr. Webber plans to help pilot the sessions later this year, and will work with Centro Hispano to develop a sustainability plan for the future.

Pediatrics resident Christina Beaird, MD, also presented an abstract on the project at the 2016 Association for Pediatric Program Directors.

Nearly all of the participating residents felt that they made a meaningful contribution to the CHW program, and most were interested in continuing the partnership with Centro Hispano. Centro Hispano leadership echoed similar sentiments.

“The residents made a significant impact in moving the planning process along for Centro wellness programming,” noted Coller. “The quality of their work was top-notch. Such technical assistance is invaluable for a non-profit.”

This project also sets the stage for future partnerships between community organizations and the pediatrics residency program overall, not just its global health track.

“We strive to have ethical and sustainable partnerships with our partners abroad; it should be the same with partners here in Wisconsin,” Dr. Butteris explained. “We’re trying to teach cultural humility applied in our own backyard.”