The pediatric residency program at Nationwide Children's Hospital makes child advocacy a priority in resident education, the goal of which is to establish a lifetime pattern of physician involvement and action that extends beyond the classic physician/patient relationship.
Each intern works closely with the Office of Government Relations during an intensive three-day orientation that examines the role of pediatrician as an advocate for children. During this seminar, residents attend legislative events and meet with predominant community child advocates. They are exposed to various mechanisms to protect and promote the well being of children, with specific goals of learning how to reach legislators through effective lobbying and testimonials, as well as the general public through the local media.
Each resident has the opportunity for ongoing advocacy training. The Child Advocacy Special Interest Group meets monthly to discuss pertinent issues and execute resident designed projects. Residents from Children's also have the opportunity to attend a national child advocacy conference in Washington, D.C., where they learn basic advocacy skills and test their experience with congressional officials.
Additionally, residents have the opportunity to choose a specific child advocacy issue and design a two to four week elective rotation examining the topic. The generated data are used in the continuing education of patients and their families, the general public, and community legislators.
Advocacy education during residency provides a unique opportunity for the pediatrician-in-training to explore issues that affect their patient population, to identify resources available to the pediatric community, to become involved with mentors and organizations for ongoing education, and ultimately, to understand their responsibility as a physician to advocate change.