Resident Advocacy


Community Pediatrics, Advocacy, and Ambulatory eXperience (CPAAX) rotations are two 4-week blocks for pediatric residents to have longitudinal exposure to various outpatient and community agencies, advocacy training, and acute and chronic outpatient care. Residents develop skills in local, professional, and legislative advocacy, outpatient medicine topics such as mental health, child abuse, and breastfeeding, and learn about social determinants of health and the importance of community partnerships. The rotation culminates with a resident-initiated advocacy project and presentation in the third year. The images below include links to some of our community partners:


Advocacy Opportunities

In addition to the CPAAX rotations, there are many other opportunities throughout residency to engage in advocacy and continue to build on acquired skills. Residents may also use flex and elective time for additional advocacy experiences. There are often other conferences, advocacy lectures, or time to talk with legislators that may arise through the WIAAP, the AAP, or through UW.

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Advocacy Projects

Our residents develop a project during residency with the goal of improving child health. The project may involve, but is not limited to, partnership with our community stakeholders, focus in resident continuity clinics, incorporation into quality improvement projects, other research or data collection, volunteer time, legislative efforts, or many other possibilities! Brainstorming and community outreach begins in CPAAX I or intern year, and research or implementation continues throughout residency. Past residents have applied for CATCH grants from the AAP to fund their projects or presented their projects at national conferences. Examples include:

  • Drs. Rogers and Williams Al-Kharusy planned a week-long focus on food insecurity, including faculty Q&A and case examples, a resident-led SNAP Challenge, and discussions with WIC, SNAP, and food pantry representatives in Madison. Their abstract was also accepted to PAS!
  • Dr. Condit’s article was featured in the WI State Journal: Hannah Sherfinski and Dr. Paige Condit: Pediatricians should screen for stress from racism
  • Dr. Lamers is currently working on an order set for immigrant health, with a focus on new immigrants.
  • Dr. Woodring has proposed an updated lactating resident policy to improve the support for lactating residents.
  • Dr. Wolf’s letter to the editor was featured in The Cap Times: Letter | Sex ed needs to include contraception

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Our residents participate in AAP initiatives both locally within the Wisconsin Chapter and at a national level. The residency has an AAP National Program Delegate who educates our program on national child health campaigns, advocacy projects in other programs, and local efforts.

Committee for Advocacy and Resident Education (CARE)

CARE’s vision is for all pediatric trainees to be effective advocates for children. CARE is a resident-led advocacy group that is open to any and all pediatric residents.  It provides extra opportunities to learn about advocacy throughout your time as a pediatric resident and strives to develop even more opportunities for advocacy training and involvement. The group meets in the evenings and is hosted by a resident or an attending. Guest faculty share how they have incorporated advocacy in their respective careers, how they’ve created partnerships, and how they utilize the various forms of advocacy. Our faculty mentors are Drs. Mala Mathur & Laura Houser.

Doctor Day

Each year, Wisconsin physicians, residents, and medical students meet at the Wisconsin State Capitol to engage in the legislative process and to educate representatives to better promote the health of our patients.

Left to right: Ala Bdair, MD, Allison Hogan, MD, Paul Skelton, MD at Doctor Day 2024




Lead Resident for Advocacy

The Lead Resident for Advocacy is elected yearly by program leadership and is responsible for distributing weekly advocacy information and opportunities for involvement, coordinating resident involvement in Advocacy Day, liaising residents with faculty and departmental advocacy efforts, and representing the program at state and national AAP meetings.

Morning Report

Morning Report is a dynamic, resident-driven conference that focuses on the problem-oriented approach to both inpatient and outpatient cases of interest. Chief residents facilitate discussion about differential diagnoses, management, and plan with support from faculty in attendance. Our program hosts quarterly advocacy Morning Reports and participated in an advocacy Morning Report takeover last spring! 

Spring 2023 Morning Report takeover

Quarterly Morning Reports

Pediatric Education and Active Resident Learning (PEARL) Conference

Each year of residency, one half-day is dedicated to teaching residents to be effective advocates. PEARL sessions are modeled from AAP Training Modules and led by advocacy faculty:

  • Legislative Advocacy Session
  • Working in Partnerships Session
  • Advocacy Communication Session

Jean Raphael, visiting CATCH professor, facilitated an education session on how to partner with local community organizations to improve child health.

Left-Representative Chris Taylor (D) and Right-Representative Joan Ballweg (R) meet with residents.

Meet our CARE Leads

Jessica Davis Bethel, MD, MPH is a second-year pediatric resident and the Lead Resident for Advocacy for the 23-24 academic year, as well as co-lead for the Committee for Advocacy and Resident Education (CARE). She is originally from Southern California and completed medical school in Texas, where she worked closely with the migrant populations there. She feels that pediatricians have such an important role of being an intersection between the community and the health care system. She is especially interested in migrant health, improving access to health care, and education of residents in advocacy. Email.

Alex Wolf, MD is a second-year pediatric resident and the AAP SOPT delegate for the 23-24 academic year, as well as the co-lead for the Committee for Advocacy and Resident Education (CARE). She is originally from Houston, Texas and completed medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she did multiple advocacy projects, including medical education reform and advocacy for pediatric patients with Sickle Cell Disease. She is especially interested in mental health and wants to help improve the management of mental health in primary care pediatrics. Currently, she is working with a youth advocacy organization to teach them how to talk to legislators. Email.

Julia Clemens, MD is a second-year pediatric resident and also very active in CARE. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to Wisconsin from Burlington, Vermont, where she attended medical school. In medical school, she led a monthly event for the homeless community and also volunteered at the local juvenile detention center. She is interested in caring for underserved populations, and enjoys working with new immigrant patients at her continuity clinic at Access. She will soon be starting a project at the ARC house, talking to new mothers with substance use disorders about parenting topics. Email.

See our faculty and general pediatrics advocacy pages for more information and resources.