Pediatric Health Equity: Macy Faculty Scholar

Funding Source: Macy Faculty Scholar Program
Principal Investigator: Darcy Mahoney
As a Macy Faculty Scholar, Dr. Darcy Mahoney will educate future pediatric clinicians in understanding the drivers of pediatric health inequity including poverty and related social determinants of health and how they have a vital link to early brain and child development. She will work to equip nurses and doctors with the knowledge, skills, and courage to build more equitable health systems and organizations.

The proposed project will develop, implement and build an educational program that teaches medical and nursing students to identify and address the social determinants of pediatric health and equity through multidisciplinary learning, service and experiential learning. The proposed educational intervention is a Pediatric Equity Scholars Program (PESP) housed within the multidisciplinary Health Workforce Institute at GW. The program will address the root of the problem and begin to reform medical and nursing education so that it focuses on the social mission of healthcare. Partners for this effort include GW’s School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Milken Institute School of Public Health, Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, and Children’s National Medical Center. The program will be collaboratively developed by medical, nursing, and public health faculty (Drs. Pelphrey, Hinds, Pulcini, and Mullan) with a strong background in SDH and health equity related to the pediatric population. The PESP is conceived as an interprofessional program to help students recognize diverse social factors influencing health in children and identify potential roles that pediatric health professionals enact to improve social conditions through multidisciplinary action. This program will blend in-person and online learning to build comprehensive knowledge of the converging, multidisciplinary science of human development. This has profound implications for our ability to enhance the life prospects of children and to strengthen the social and economic fabric of society. Varied pedagogical approaches will focus on the pediatric SDH that impact the health of D.C.’s pediatric population and that of similar communities nationwide. Examples of other topics covered in the PESP are poverty, early brain development, toxic stress, literacy, and education as social determinants of pediatric health. Scholars will enhance their capability to address these disparities through conversations with content experts and visits to programs and institutions pioneering positive change.

The goals of the PESP are to:

  1. Develop a collaborative, interdisciplinary course focused on improving the health and well-being of this vulnerable pediatric population

  2. Educate health professions students about SDH

  3. Promote a longitudinal commitment to community health among participating health professional students