Resident Education in Advocacy and Community Health (REACH) is an opportunity available to residents of the University of Connecticut Pediatric Residency Program.

Our Mission

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 residents the unique opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in the areas of advocacycommunity health, and public policy.

As an integral program of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health, our residents work with experts in the fields of population health, community research, policy formation and social innovation in order to promote healthy development. Under the guidance of Connecticut Children’s Government Relations team, our residents participate in a “Resident Capitol Day” to highlight issues important to children’s health and meet with legislators when they visit Connecticut Children’s.

As part of their residency training, each pediatric resident participates in a Community Longitudinal Elective and partners with community organizations to engage in community-level advocacy and health promotion. We also provide a structured didactic curriculum that covers health disparities, protective factors and health care equity.

Learn more about our Community Longitudinal Electives:

We are proud to partner with Capitol Squash, an innovative program that empowers Hartford youth to reach their potential as athletes, students and engaged citizens. Our partnership with Capitol Squash is thanks to Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center.

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
  • Ensure each child and family is connected to a medical home

Listen to and read about the amazing work Capitol Squash and our residents are doing to help kids reach their educational potential.

Our residents understand the importance of access to quality health care for vulnerable populations. We’ve partnered with Catholic Charities of Hartford to provide recent refugee arrivals with a structured health education curriculum. Our residents engage refugees from all over the world to help them understand our medical system and how to engage with the medical community.

Our residents also run our Global Child Health clinic in partnership with our Infectious Disease department to provide entry physicals for refugee children. Our residents develop care plans for each patient and transition them to medical homes.

Read about our resident’s work with the refugee population.

Our residents were awarded an American Academy of Pediatrics CATCH grant for their work with the refugee population.

The rise of obesity in children is an enormous struggle for families, healthcare providers and communities. They partnered with established community organizations that needed pediatricians to help with their programs.

Our residents partner with:

East Hartford YMCA Preschool program offers quality, subsidized preschool education for low-income families. Our residents deliver a nutrition curriculum to the students to help them learn about healthy eating.

Family Life Education provides a variety of community based services to families in need including access to a food share program. Many families were unsure of how to use and cook the produce they received. Our residents have partnered with Family Life Education to provide cooking classes so families can learn how to use fruits and vegetables in new ways.

Fern Street Food Ministry provides assistance to community members with food insecurity. Our residents help staff the food pantry and community breakfast programs.

Connecticut Pediatrics at CHC is a federally qualified health center in Hartford where many of our residents attend a continuity clinic. The residents run the community garden at the clinic which provides free, fresh produce to our families. The residents also maintain the nutrition education installation where families can sign up for WIC, SNAP, and school meals, as well as get information on community programs for food assistance.

Our residents were awarded an American Academy of Pediatrics CATCH grant for their work with nutrition.

REACH Curriculum

For residents interested in furthering their education in advocacy, we offer 16 weeks (four blocks) of discretionary electives. These electives include:

This 4 week experience covers how pediatricians can engage in advocacy to advance children’s health and well-being through legislative work, community engagement and media participation. Residents meet with experts in the fields of: legislative advocacy, policy creation, social justice, health disparities research and media relations.

Our residents learn how to:

  1. Write and publish op-eds and blog posts
  2. Contact and work with legislators
  3. Work with community partners
  4. Engage with media (including written, television and radio) to promote children’s health

Read an example of a blog post written by one of our residents.

Read an example of an op-ed written by one of our residents

This 4 week elective is open to all residents and takes place in Washington D.C. You can read more about this unique experience here.

This is a 4 to 8 week experience that can be completed over two years. Residents partner with community organizations including the Office for Community Child Health to engage in research and policy development. Our residents have developed policy briefs, produced written and verbal testimony on active bills and secured grant funding for new resident led community initiatives.

We understand that residents who want to make advocacy the focus of their career may need further education. We help residents identify educational programs (including certificate and courses) and provide funding assistance.

Read about what our residents experience in REACH pathway.

Follow our residents on social media to see more of their advocacy work.