Resident Education in Advocacy and Community Health (REACH)
Resident Education in Advocacy and Community Health (REACH) is an opportunity available to residents of the University of Connecticut Pediatric Residency Advocacy Program.
To foster the development of pediatricians who are committed to improving children’s health and well-being through engagement with effective community-oriented programs and services to address children’s critical health needs.
REACH presents the University of Connecticut pediatric resident the unique opportunity to develop knowledge and skill in the areas of advocacy, community health, and public policy. As an integral program of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health, REACH works closely with experts in the fields of population health, community research, policy formation and social innovation, all toward the promotion of children’s healthy development.
Each pediatric resident is partnered with one of eight community programs during their PL-1 (intern) year and works with the program during all three years of residency. Residents are given protected time during which they engage with their community partners.
Additionally, residents interested in furthering their skill in advocacy, partnership building and community engagement can chose to use complete “REACH pathway blocks” that are individualized to serve the learner’s educational needs.
Learn more about our resident-community partnerships:
The Hartford Youth HIV Identification and Linkage Consortium (HYHIL) is a collaborative network of community based agencies, medical providers, youth representatives and others working together to prevent the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among youth through interactive prevention education, community engagement and outreach, and youth friendly HIV/STD screenings.
Our residents partner with HYHIL to:
- Engage and participate in the HYHIL network
- Provide free STD/HIV screening programs for high school students
- Provide outreach and education in STD/HIV prevention, consent and safety for high school students
- Engage in fundraising and grant writing
The University of Connecticut residents have also started a health initiative to address health disparities in stem cell and bone marrow donation that is supported by the HYHIL program. Residents participate in community outreach and health fairs run by HYHIL affiliates and partners with the goal of education on bone marrow donation and increasing representation of minority populations on the national bone marrow donor list.
Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program (Healthy Homes) improves children’s health by making their homes healthier, safer places by protecting children from lead poisoning and other health and safety hazards; and making homes more energy efficient. Healthy Homes receives funding through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Connecticut Department of Housing.
Our residents partner with Healthy Homes to:
- Engage and participate in statewide meetings regarding housing regulation
- Participate in advocacy related to safe housing
- Provide education and assessment of homes to families
- Review effectiveness of work done by Healthy Homes through research
Connecticut Children’s Center for Care Coordination (the Center) empowers families to advocate for their children; provides care coordination services; and connects families to appropriate medical, behavioral, educational, legal and social services. Care coordination is a team-based approach designed to meet the needs of children while also strengthening the caregiving capabilities of families through the Protective Factors Framework.
Our residents partner with the Center to:
- Engage and participate in statewide meetings regarding care coordination services
- Work with the Center to provide direct services to families
- Disseminate the model and educate health care providers on the benefits of care coordination
- Build and integrate technical functionality that allows departments to access care coordination services
- Engage in research to assess the effectiveness of current integration models
The mission of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center (IPC) is to reduce unintentional injury and violence among Connecticut residents. The IPC translates research into injury prevention programs and policy.
The mission of Capitol Squash is to empower the youth of Hartford to reach their potential as athletes, students, and engaged citizens. Capitol Squash is an after school program that promotes high school graduation among inner city students using squash as a retention and engagement mechanism.
Our residents partner with Capitol Squash to:
- Work with Hartford middle and high school students providing homework support and mentorship
- Provide health education with a structured curriculum
- Engage in team building and personal development through squash and sports
The Connecticut Human Milk Research Center is comprised of a multidisciplinary research team, sponsored by Connecticut Children’s Division of Neonatology. The primary research objective is to further understand the relationship between human milk intake in premature newborns and their growth, development and health status.
Our residents partner with the Connecticut Human Milk Research Center to:
- Engage in research to help establish standards for breast milk donation and distribution
- Disseminate findings to the national stage
- Start and run the first breast milk donation depot in northern Connecticut
Catholic Charities is a national organization and our local Hartford location works to resettle and provide support to the large refugee population of greater Hartford.
Our residents partner with Catholic Charities to:
- Provide up to date and culturally sensitive health care education to the refugee population as required by national guidelines
- Participate in community outreach activities
Under the direction of Melissa Held, MD, our residents also conduct initial physical exams, screening and full care planning for all newly arrived refugee children to the Hartford catchment area.
Started in Connecticut, and now disseminated to over 20 states, Help Me Grow is a program that implements effective, universal, early surveillance and screening for all children and links those at risk for developmental and behavioral problems to appropriate programs and services.
Through partnership with Help Me Grow and the Lego Foundation, the Books, Balls and Blocks program was designed to help parents learn about developmentally appropriate play and learn about monitoring their child’s development.
Our pediatric residents partner with Help Me Grow to:
- Bring the Books, Balls and Blocks events to local community organizations
- Participate in the events to help parents and children engage in developmentally appropriate play
- Provide real time developmental screening, counseling and education to families
- Help families link to developmental services with Help Me Grow and Birth to Three programs
In partnership with Community Health Centers, Inc.,the pediatric residents have established a community garden which is used to provide free fruits and vegetables to the community. The residents care for the garden, plan for expansion and planting and have applied for grant funding to further establish their garden.
The residents have also partnered with several community organizations to develop a nutrition curriculum for children including live demonstration cooking classes. The residents provide this curriculum at several sites in the local community.
Pediatric residents also engage in real time community service events and advocacy opportunities.
Some examples of current resident engagement:
- Residents testified before Connecticut Senators Blumenthal and Murphy on the Affordable Care Act
- Residents partnered with Representative John Lawson for an outreach event dedicated to school engagement at the Lawson Center
- Residents worked with the University of Connecticut’s Health Careers Opportunity Program to provide mentorship to under represented students interested in health care
The residents also help organize and run a 5K fundraising event in memory of Dr. Nancy Law, who was a pediatrician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and dedicated her career to the care of medically complex and underserved children. The proceeds from the event are used to help families and patients in the resident continuity clinics.