Community and Advocacy at Stony Brook Children’s

All residents experience eight dedicated weeks of training, education, and exposure in Community and Advocacy during PGY2 and PGY3.  Residents have numerous opportunities to engage in outreach opportunities both while on the rotation and at other times throughout their training.

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Improving the health and wellbeing of children and families is central to the specialty of Pediatrics. It is important to reflect on your ability to advocate for patients even outside of direct clinical care. Stony Brook Pediatrics residents learn to develop advocacy skills to better assess and maintain the health of children and families in their community.  They learn about social determinants of health and its potential effect on children’s health.

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Some of the highlights of the Stony Brook Pediatric Resident’s experience we’d like to share with you:

  • Teddy Bear Clinic-  Residents participate in an Injury Prevention Program sponsored by The Trauma Center at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital by visiting local elementary schools leading an interactive activity aimed at enhancing their knowledge of car and helmet safety.  The children also have fun dressing up as doctors and nurses during the activity, caring for their teddy bear patient.
  • Middle School Education-  Residents visit local middle schools to teach a variety of health topics to 6th and 7th graders.  These interactive sessions are fun and engaging.  In addition to education on health topics, students have the opportunity to learn about careers as a health care professional.
  • Advocacy Day in Albany, NY-   Residents travel to our state capital to learn about the unique role of a pediatrician in legislative advocacy for health issues involving the safety and wellbeing of children, families, and their communities. Pediatrics residents learn about the most up-to-date initiatives being promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Advocacy Campaign. Through interactive sessions, residents receive training on advocating at the state and federal level. Residents meet with state senators to present their summary of a current issue impacting child and family health.
  • Advocacy at the Local Government Level-  Each resident connects with a local elected official to discuss a child public health issue in our local community.
  • Building a Community Profile on the local community within your Resident Continuity Practice-  Residents identify the social determinants of health impacting the health and wellbeing of the patients and families in  one of the towns surrounding their weekly continuity practice. Using this knowledge, residents then identify local resources within this community that are available to address these needs.
  • Taking a Closer Look at our Local Community Resources-  Residents visit several local organizations to learn more about the services they provide to our families.  Examples include:  Women’s Infants Children’s, Help Me Grow Long Island, Children’s Dentistry Clinic, Early Intervention, New York State Environmental Health Centers, Safe Harbour (caring for children who have been or at-risk for sexual exploitation), Sepa Mujer (support for immigrant women and children at risk of deportation or with needs in navigating local resources), Awixa Home (providing troubled youth with a safe and nurturing environment and tools for a productive and safe life).
  • Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program- Residents learn about a this local resource’s educational program addressing the reproductive and sexual health of teen and young adults.
  • Alternatives for Youth- Residents attend and learn about this program that diverts adolescents on a PINS Petition (Persons In Need of Supervision) from the juvenile justice system to provide home-based crisis intervention and community resources.
  • Brookside Chronic Care Facility-  Stony Brook Pediatric residents learn about the collaborative care team involved in caring for the pediatric patients at this facility with chronic, complex health conditions.  Residents receive firsthand experience in addressing the integration of medical and social health issues for these patients by interacting with a variety of support staff, as well as primary care and subspecialty care.
  • Child Advocacy Center-  Residents have the opportunity to work with our Child Abuse Specialist at the local Child Advocacy Center, learning about the medical evaluation of a child suspected of being abused.  They learn about the history, physical, labs, testing, and other differentials to be considered.  Residents work alongside Child Protective Services workers to understand their role as a mandated reporter.  At the culmination of the experience, residents are asked to reflect on how they can incorporate what they’ve learned into their routine practice strategies to reduce the risk of abuse and neglect for children.
  • Vaping and Smoking Cessation-  Currently, our department is collaborating with the Stony Brook Cancer Center on a needs assessment for smoking cessation resources at local homeless shelters.  Residents also participate in the Great American Smoke Out, aimed at outreach for teens and adults with addressing nicotine and vaping use.  Recent resident research projects also centered on local vaping knowledge and habits by conducting focus groups with teens at schools throughout our community. 
    All residents receive motivational interview training through workshop and standardized patient simulations specifically focused on smoking cessation education.  Residents apply this knowledge throughout their inpatient and outpatient experiences and refer patients and families to New York State Quitline’s Opt to Quit program. This program provides free resources to encourage smoking cessation.
  • Vaccine Pods-  Residents volunteered their time administering COVID vaccines to children in our local community. Under the guidance of Dr. Sharon Nachman, pediatric infectious disease specialist, Stony Brook Children’s is a national clinical trial site for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness in pediatric patients.
  • Holiday Toy Drives- Created by a local family in our Stony Brook Children’s community to honor their son’s battle with cancer. The department of pediatrics patriciates in this annual toy drive, providing gifts to children throughout Suffolk County.