Pediatric clinicians are an integral part of the public health system, as they typically participate in at least one of the three core public health practice functions: assessment (assessing a child’s health status and health needs), assurance (ensuring that necessary services are provided), and policy development. Pediatric clinicians are in an optimal position to address health disparities facing children in the United States due to the trusted relationships and early and frequent points of contact they have with children and families. The purpose of this proposal is to strengthen the pediatric health care workforce to foster a more competent, current, and connected public health system, and improve delivery of essential public health services. To accomplish this, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will provide capacity-building assistance (CBA) to foster the following: 1) leadership and workforce competencies, recruitment, and retention; 2) the establishment and maintenance of results-driven partnerships; and 3) the identification of best practices and implementation of evidence-based/informed programs and services. The CBA will be planned and implemented within the context of a proposed National Center for Pediatric Population Health (“National Center”) that will bring more visibility to public health issues for AAP members and other organizations, facilitate leveraging of and coordination with other AAP activities, and foster connections between key stakeholders.
The AAP has been privileged to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more than a decade, and has demonstrated its capability, expertise, resources, and national reach in capacity-building activities for pediatric clinicians across numerous projects and a wide range of child health topics. Building on this experience and the public-health focused mission of the AAP to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults, the activities of the National Center will focus on the following: determining the needs of the pediatric public health workforce, developing training and technical assistance activities, enhancing and cultivating partnerships with key stakeholders, fostering concrete and collaborative connections between AAP chapters and local public health entities, and strengthening mechanisms to disseminate AAP evidence-based guidelines that have the potential to impact public health.
Through this National Center, the Academy will cultivate and enhance partnerships at all levels of the public health system, including the broad range of agencies, organizations, and individuals that play a significant role in affecting the health of the pediatric population. The National Center will convene an annual partners forum through which multidisciplinary organizations will develop a shared agenda based on collective expertise, resources and national research. The Academy will also foster and enhance connections between pediatric clinicians and public health systems by supporting AAP chapters to partner with state or local public health agencies with the goal of identifying or addressing critical gaps and disparities. This will further support capacity building among pediatric clinicians and other stakeholders regarding public health priorities.
The proposed activities will strengthen the capacity of pediatric clinicians to address pressing public health needs facing children and families, thereby leading to a more current, competent, connected public health system; improved delivery of essential public health services; and improved pediatric health outcomes related to the Healthy People 2020 national objectives.