Advocacy Training Program
Service Training in Advocacy for Residents and Students
Jefferson Service Training in Advocacy for Residents and Students (JeffSTARS) is an advocacy educational program in collaboration with Sidney Kimmel Medical College (JMC) and the Department of Family and Community Medicine (FCM) of Thomas Jefferson University (TJU).
Become a Voice for Children
JeffSTARS is dedicated to teaching health advocacy to residents in the Pediatric Residency Program of TJU and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, residents in the FCM Resident Training Program at TJU, and medical students at SKMC.
Advocacy components of the program, incorporated into a required outpatient rotation:
During their outpatient rotation at Jefferson, pediatric residents and medical students visit community sites where they work on a number of public health issues, including youth violence, asthma, access to care for mothers and children, and immunizations.
Our volunteer community partners include:
- The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
- The Clean Air Council
- Maternity Care Coalition
- Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility
- The Maternal, Child and Family Health Division of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program For Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Philadelphia, administered by NORTH, Inc.
Informing Advocacy Through Medical Literature
In 1848, Dr. Rudolf Virchow wrote a report citing social conditions as the source of typhus in Prussia. The report angered public officials, but helped bring about change — as did Dr. John Snow’s famous treatise in 1854 that traced a cholera outbreak to a single water pump in London. The history of health advocacy has been to document public health issues through data-driven, action-oriented publication.
The monthly Advocacy Journal Club covers a health advocacy article from a peer-reviewed journal at the start of the Jefferson outpatient rotation.
Articles typically address issues related to advocacy and public policy around a major child health topic, and the social determinants of health. Participants critically review the article and discuss related health policies and individual and community advocacy action steps.
Meeting to Make a Difference
The Advocacy Café is a weekly small group session that brings students, residents, faculty and visiting professors together to discuss major public health topics, such as childhood asthma obesity.
Residents and students come prepared to discuss a related case, organization, article or bill, and exchange ideas about potential policy changes and solutions.
Sharing and reflecting on health topics and personal experiences are such important aspects of advocacy that both the Advocacy Café and the Advocacy Journal Club are integrated into the required outpatient and elective rotations.
The Café and Journal Club have been made possible thanks to the dedicated faculty of the Division of General Pediatrics at Jefferson and volunteer and guest lecturers, including Michael Campbell, Esq., from Villanova University School of Law and David Paul, MD, from the Department of Neonatology at Christiana Hospital.
The following resources are available to assist health professionals and residents become effective health advocates for children's health in the clinical setting and the community.
The JeffSTARS program also includes a longitudinal component. As part of the resident Continuity Clinics, case-based presentations focus on local and national resources available to help families.
Advocacy and Community Partnership Elective
In this elective, fourth-year medical students and second- and third-year residents spend 50% of their time working with a community organization on a mutually agreeable project, 30% of their time in clinical care, and 20% in a seminar series that teaches practical skills in advocacy, such as preparing a fact sheet and meeting with legislators.
Our goal is to transform the institutional culture at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children making advocacy a core part of educating residents and students.
JeffSTARS trains residents and medical students to understand and promote health advocacy by:
- Providing an opportunity to approach clinical care with a “trained eye”
and new understanding of how public policy affects the lives and health
- Modeling and teaching skills for effective and life-long advocacy, including building relationships with and listening to community members.
- Demonstrating the power of stories to engage the media and public.
- Helping identify strategic policy issues and solvable policy problems, and incorporating advocacy into clinical practice and professional development.
- Offering hands-on experience in a local advocacy project conducted with a seasoned community organization and mentor.
The JeffSTARS curriculum was launched in 2009, thanks to a grant from Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Residency Training Funds and the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative (CPTI) of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2009 the project was extended through the support of a three-year grant from Columbia University's Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) via the Advocacy Education and Training Initiative Grant.
Core faculty members include Drs. James Plumb and Marc Altshuler from the Department of Family and Community Medicine (FCM) at Sidney Kimmel Medical College and Dr. J. Lindsey Lane, former Pediatrics Director of Undergraduate Medical Education.
Integrating advocacy and community opportunities into a required pediatric outpatient rotation helps create an experience that medical students and pediatric and FCM residents can apply to other clinical settings, including the resident continuity clinics. JeffSTARS also provides an intensive elective offering for medical students and pediatric and family medicine residents.
From individual advocacy to social activism, JeffSTARS seeks to empower trainees by giving them the experience, skills, and tools they need to be strong and effective advocates for their patients.