Advocacy

Our residency program has a longstanding commitment to improving the health of our community. We seek to provide you, our residents, with the skills you will need to advocate for patients at the local, state, and national level. Our residents are active in a variety of community settings and participate in community outreach programs such as obesity prevention programs, combatting food insecurity, school-based health education initiatives, and other clinic-sponsored projects. You will be involved in community and statewide advocacy initiatives, working with faculty and pediatric professional organizations to improve the health of the children we serve. Examples of our most recent efforts have included promoting the importance and safety of vaccines, advocating for medical vaccine exemptions only, and supporting gun safety legislation. 

Prior to COVID-19, during the Advocacy and Community Pediatrics Block rotation, residents had the opportunity to visit a variety of East Harlem community-based organizations, learning about the challenges faced by the families we serve and the services these organizations provide. Residents visited local food pantries, government agencies, social services agencies, and the Mount Sinai School Health Program, which is designed to improve access to primary health care and social services for elementary school children. They can also rotated with pediatricians within the New York City Department of Education who provide an overview of the health services provided in the city's public schools.While we cannot currently visit sites due to social distancing, we continue to work closely with and meet virtually with our community partners, and hope to resume in-person visits when we are able to. 

The Advocacy curriculum is spread out over the course of three years and includes a combination of virtual training sessions, interactive online modules, articles, videos, Ted talks and movies.  Some of the topics covered include: the epidemiology of poverty, adverse childhood experiences, screening for and addressing social determinants of health, Covid-19 and health inequities, and legislative advocacy.

Highlights of the advocacy rotation include:

  • Walking tour of East Harlem and community service activity at local food pantry (currently on hiatus)
  • CHIT (Child Health Information Topic) chat—a 5-10 minute video created by interns on a health education topic
  • Mentored advocacy project during the second year rotation on the topic of the resident’s choice. Residents receive one on one mentoring to create and implement a project to address health disparities
  • Advocacy Journal Club—focuses on advocacy/community health topics, led by residents on their Advocacy block

Finally, we invite all residents to join our pediatric advocacy club, SinaiPAC, run by residents. The group meets monthly to work on advocacy initiatives and community programs. We hold bi-monthly dinners and documentary nights at the home of the faculty mentor. They offer great food and stimulating discussions.

Current Resident Advocacy initiatives and projects include:

  • Creation of an onsite food pantry at the resident continuity practice—in order to combat the growing problem of food insecurity, we have created an onsite food pantry to provide families with emergency food and enroll them in our local food pantry where they will continue to receive services
  • Monthly webinars for parents of children at a local public school on a variety of health educations topics. Sessions are led by residents,  mentored by Dr. Mogilner and include input from a multi-disciplinary school team
  • Streamlining of the SDH screening and referral process, working closely with the social determinants of health screening team
  • Development of an online resource database (cap4kids.org/newyork) that houses a host of resources to address social needs
  • Understanding reasons for vaccine hesitancy and developing educational materials to increase vaccine rates
  • Development of an educational curriculum to address Covid-19 and racial disparities
  • Youtube channel with taped book readings developed in conjunction with our Reach Out and Read program and Mount Sinai medical students

Residents are encouraged to attend the statewide American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Advocacy Day in Albany, where you learn firsthand about the AAP’s advocacy agenda and have the opportunity to meet with legislators and hone your advocacy skills.

We are also a proud member of NYSPAC (New York State Pediatric Advocacy Coalition), an organization that partners with the 30 pediatric residency programs in NY state to promote advocacy education, partner with community based organizations on projects to improve the health of children and families, and advocate for legislation that promotes child health in the state of New York.

Residents who wish to pursue additional Advocacy work can choose to do a two or four week Advocacy elective with our faculty.