Child Advocacy is one of the fastest growing areas of our program, and P.U.S.H. - our resident-driven child advocacy group - is gaining lots of ground within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The current areas of emphasis for the child advocacy rotation and P.U.S.H. are child abuse and obesity. In these efforts, our P.U.S.H. program had a big role in getting Kentucky's House Bill 285 passed. This bill, in part, mandates training for healthcare workers who interact with children about signs of child abuse and training for new parents in hospital nurseries about Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Over the past year the residents of PUSH successfully lobbied for the creation of a governmental Child Fatality and Near-Fatality Review Board. This board will investigate the causes of child fatalities in the commonwealth that are suspected to be the result of abuse. This will allow us to identify any flaws within our current child protection system and make improvements that will help prevent future occurrences of fatal abuse. We also began a project to identify community-level environmental contributors to the high prevalence of childhood obesity within the city of Louisville. This project focuses on the presence of “food deserts” within certain communities in Louisville and investigates economic, transportation, and environmental impediments to provision of appropriate nutrition in our most at-risk patients and their families. Our hope is that this needs assessment study will lead to concrete, community based projects that will improve the health of our patients.
Over the last year we have also forged a partnership with the Neighborhood House community center in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville. There, residents have provided needed education to community center childcare providers on signs of physical abuse and neglect, normal child development, food allergies, and common pediatric rashes. We hosted a movie night for residents to view “A Place at the Table”, the 2012 documentary by Kristi Jacobson about child hunger in the United States. We lobbied with state legislators for children’s health issues at the Kentucky capitol and participated in Children’s Day at the Capitol organized by Kentucky Youth Advocates. In addition, our resident advocacy leaders are actively involved in the Kentucky Chapter of the AAP and their efforts to advance the health and welfare of our commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens. We are looking forward to another year with an eye toward increased community outreach, continued advocacy for our patient’s at the legislative level, and a continued fight against child abuse and childhood obesity.
Additionally, our advocacy leaders created a "Child Abuse Quick Reference Guide" to be shared with all of the pediatricians practicing in Kentucky as well as all of the pediatric and family practice residency programs in the country.
Kate Livesay, MD, and Brooke Jones, MD, are the University of Louisville's program delegates. The sections of the AAP "enable residents, fellowship trainees, and medical students of the AAP to meet for the purpose of developing ideas and generating programs and projects which will improve the care of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults."