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Pediatricians contributing to poverty reduction through clinical-community partnership and collective action: A narrative review

A.F. Beck, L.E. Marcil, M.D. Klein, A.M. Sims, A.A. Parsons, A.N. Shah, C.L. Riley, O.N.R Bignall 2nd, A.W. Henize, R.S. Kahn, N.I. Unaka
Acad Pediatr

Poverty affects child health and well-being in short- and long-term ways, directly and indirectly influencing a range of health outcomes through linked social and environmental challenges. Given these links, pediatricians have long advocated for poverty reduction in both clinical settings and society. Pediatricians and others who work in pediatric settings are well-suited to address poverty given frequent touchpoints with children and families and the trust that develops over repeated encounters. Many pediatricians also recognize the need for cross-sector engagement, mobilization, and innovation in building larger collaborative efforts to combat the harmful effects of poverty. A range of methods, like co-design, community organizing, and community-engaged quality improvement, are necessary to achieve measurable progress. Moreover, advancing meaningful representation and inclusion of those from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups will augment efforts to address poverty within and equity across communities. Such methods promote and strengthen key clinical-community partnerships poised to address poverty's upstream root causes and its harmful consequences downstream. This article focuses on those clinical-community intersections and cross-sector, multi-disciplinary programs like Medical-Legal Partnerships, Medical-Financial Partnerships, clinic-based food pantries, and embedded behavioral health services. Such programs and partnerships increase access to services difficult for children living in poverty to obtain. Partnerships can also broaden to include community-wide learning networks and asset-building coalitions, poised to accelerate meaningful change. Pediatricians and allied professionals can play an active role; they can convene, catalyze, partner, and mobilize to create solutions designed to mitigate the harmful effects of poverty on child health.

Beck AF, Marcil LE, Klein MD, et al. Pediatricians contributing to poverty reduction through clinical-community partnership and collective action: a narrative review. Acad Pediatr. 2021 Nov-Dec;21(8S):S200-S206. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.04.010. PMID: 34740429.

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Social Determinant of Health
Economic Security
Study design