UNC’s Advocacy curriculum is designed to grant graduating residents with the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to advocate on behalf of their patients, regardless of their future areas of practice. Curricular components are longitudinally integrated throughout residency, with residents participating in several advocacy-related site visits or workshops during each elective rotation. Topic areas of focus include: poverty, health disparities, social determinants of health, vulnerable populations, and resource awareness. Residents participate in workshops designed to improve knowledge and skills around: local history and culture, poverty, social determinants of health, legislative advocacy, media communication, and safety net programs. In intern year, they participate in a community scavenger hunt to gain a better sense of our community by visiting local resources utilizing public transportation. Each elective or subspecialty month, they participate in at least one deep dive community site visit to gain a greater understanding of resources available to patients. Examples of such core experiences include home visits with Early Intervention and participation in a multidisciplinary child abuse clinic.
Residents also complete an advocacy project of their own choosing, through which they partner with community organizations to strive to improve children’s health from beyond the clinic walls. Current residents have presented their projects at local and national conferences or received Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grants from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some examples of recent or ongoing advocacy projects include:

List of Current/Ongoing Projects

  • Addressing food insecurity by creating a clinic-based food pantry
  • Reducing risk of dog bite injuries through partnership with veterinarians
  • Preventing toddler injuries through education in local day cares
  • Improving asthma management through school-based family education
  • Reducing child abuse risk by building parental resilience in partnership with area preschools
  • Offering healthier food options by starting a community garden
Advocacy Scavenger Hunt
Jeffrey Okonye (recent graduate), seen here, is on the Advocacy Scavenger Hunt. Residents learn to navigate the public transit system to visit many of the community resources that our patients use.