BCH DBP Brings Community Advocacy Rounds to National Conference

April 20, 2016

At Boston Children's Hospital's Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship, we are completing our second year of Community Advocacy Rounds, and taking it on the road! Community Advocacy Rounds is an educational series created for our trainees, focusing on topics most relevant to children with autism and developmental disabilities who are also among underserved populations. For 10-12 afternoons each year, trainees in our Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship, Postdoctoral Psychology Fellowship, and LEND Program come together for team based learning. An equally interdisciplinary team (of social workers, psychologists, an educator, and a developmental pediatrician) leads each session.

Using adult learning methods, we have covered at least 14 topics via in depth conversation and activity allowing learners to unpack the content to better understand how it impacts the lives of children we see. For example, we read about the immigrant experience in first person narratives, then in small groups reconsidered cases of immigrant families we have seen but now as better informed clinicians. We read about best practice response to mass trauma (to which underserved children and those with disabilities are particularly vulnerable), then worked as teams to plan a response to a Mass Trauma event. We applied cutting edge educational literature to work through a case of an English Language Learner struggling in elementary school. We learned the state of understanding of toxic stress, of the role that early environments play in the epigenetics impacting brain development. Later, we came together to play The Brain Architecture Game, thereby learning how "to engage policymakers, community and business leaders, health and education service providers, and government officials in understanding the science of early brain development-what promotes it, what derails it, and what are the consequences for society (http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/the-brain-architecture-game/)." In each session, learners could "dive deep" into the material, applying it to meaningful situations, and taking advantage of the group's many experiences and perspectives to expand the depth of discussion.

We have brought Community Advocacy Rounds to national meetings to share our adaptable curriculum. At Society for Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (Las Vegas, October 2015) we met with developmental pediatricians from around the country to review the content and methods, and to brainstorm modifications for varying settings. At the Association for Pediatric Program Directors (New Orleans, March 2016), we reflected on modifications for varying subspecialty groups. We are happy to share the schedule, readings, and our reflections with programs interested in learning more about Community Advocacy Rounds, or those who want to use part or all of our new series.