Resident Involvement in Community Advocacy

Advocacy Within the Curriculum

The field of pediatrics is rooted in advocacy. Therefore, this work is integrated at all levels of our program from anticipatory guidance in clinic all the way up to direct engagement with lawmakers to better understand how government policy is debated and enacted.

At the beginning of our Thursday morning conferences, residents and faculty provide an “Advocacy Update” informing the program about current events and opportunities for action. Through our integrated Community Pediatrics curriculum, our first-year residents learn about the foundations of social determinants of health, adverse childhood experiences and the basics of health care financing. They create patient information sheets on a health topic of their choosing. In later years, our residents participate in home safety visits, write letters to their legislators and think more broadly about community health through the use of geo-mapping tools and creation of root cause analyses. During these rotations, residents also connect with community organizations such as schools, Regional Centers (early childhood intervention services) and homeless youth centers to engage with valuable partners in the effort to advance child and adolescent health. In addition, our residents and faculty participate in small group discussions throughout the year to review the AAP Policy Statements on social topics such as poverty, school attendance, toxic stress, racism, foster care and immigrant health. Legislative-Advocacy1.jpg      

Legislative Advocacy

Each spring, our first-year residents participate in local legislative visits to discuss state bills supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Recent topics include legislation on flavored tobacco products, food insecurity, gun violence prevention and vaccines. Residents on the IMPACT Track also have the opportunity to travel to the state capitol in Sacramento to visit elected officials and attend committee hearings. These opportunities allow residents to not only become familiar with local, state and federal legislative processes, but also learn how to effectively communicate with their elected officials and advocate for children on a policy level.

Advocacy Collaborative

Advocacy-Collaborative1.jpgGraduates from our residency program started CHLA’s Pediatric Advocacy Collaborative, which aims to increase engagement in advocacy efforts at CHLA and provides a platform for collaboration, advocacy education, project design and professional development. The collaborative is multidisciplinary and involves residents and faculty, as well as other providers and staff members including social workers, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and members from our government relations and community affairs team. This environment allows for true collaborative efforts in advancing pediatric advocacy goals.

Please contact Dr. Kimberly Petko for more information.


Residents with a special interest in advocacy and program development can enroll in the IMPACT Track. Residents spend three years developing and implementing a community health, global health or quality improvement-based project. IMPACT residents also attend noon conferences throughout the year on various community health and advocacy topics. More information on the track can be found here.