Redesigning health care practices to address childhood poverty
Child poverty in the United States is widespread and has serious negative effects on the health and well-being of children throughout their life course. Child health providers are considering ways to redesign their practices in order to mitigate the negative effects of poverty on children and support the efforts of families to lift themselves out of poverty. To do so, practices need to adopt effective methods to identify poverty-related social determinants of health and provide effective interventions to address them. Identification of needs can be accomplished with a variety of established screening tools. Interventions may include resource directories, best maintained in collaboration with local/regional public health, community, and/or professional organizations; programs embedded in the practice (e.g., Reach Out and Read, Healthy Steps for Young Children, Medical-Legal Partnership, Health Leads); and collaboration with home visiting programs. Changes to health care financing are needed to support the delivery of these enhanced services, and active advocacy by child health providers continues to be important in effecting change. We highlight the ongoing work of the Health Care Delivery Subcommittee of the Academic Pediatric Association Task Force on Child Poverty in defining the ways in which child health care practice can be adapted to improve the approach to addressing child poverty.
Fierman AH, Beck AF, Chung EK, et al. Redesigning health care practices to address childhood poverty. Acad Pediatr. 2016;16(3 Suppl):S136-146. PMID: 27044692. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2016.01.004.