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 implement strategies and activities aimed at improving: 1) pediatricians’ capacity to support children and families living with alcohol and substance use, 2) patient- and family-centered approaches that advance access to care, and 3) identification and health of children living with prenatal alcohol and substance exposure and FASD. The CBA will be planned and implemented within the context of a proposed Program to Enhance Pediatric Capacity to Support Children and Families with Prenatal Substance Exposures and FASD (“FASD Program”) that will bring more visibility to FASD-related 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 on FASD initiatives, and has demonstrated its capability, expertise, resources, and national reach in capacity-building activities for pediatric clinicians across numerous projects. 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 proposed activities 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.
The initiatives of the FASD Program will cultivate a shared vision for strengthening the nation’s public health infrastructure by addressing public health challenges, emerging trends, knowledge, and cross-cutting skillsets to build capacity at all levels. This shared vision and related initiatives are consistent with the AAP mission to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.
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.