Pediatricians' Perspectives Regarding Community Child Health

Training, Involvement, and Expectations According to Age

Published In: Pediatrics, v. 120, no. 5, Nov. 2007, p. 1036-1043

Posted on on December 31, 2006

by Cynthia S. Minkovitz, Karen G. O'Connor, Holly Grason, Judith S. Palfrey, Anita Chandra, Thomas F. Tonniges

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OBJECTIVE: There are increasing opportunities for pediatricians to promote children's health through community involvement during and after residency training. Little is known about whether younger relative to established pediatricians have different experiences regarding community activities. In this study the authors examined whether pediatricians' training, perspectives, and involvement in community activities vary by age. METHODS: Eight hundred seventy-six pediatricians participated in a national, random-sample, mailed periodic survey of US members of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2004 (response rate: 58%). 2 statistics and median tests were used to measure associations of age (34, 35-39, 40-50, and 51 years) with training, perspectives, and involvement. RESULTS: Younger pediatricians reported more training in community child health during and before residency but were less likely to be involved currently (37.9% for 34 years, 44.4% for 35-39 years, 46.2% for 40-50 years, 48.3% for 51 years). They were more likely to report that their current involvement was too little versus just right or too much (81.3%, 73.5%, 60.7%, and 47.1%, respectively). Younger pediatricians were more willing to spend 1 hour/month on community child health activities (95.0%, 91.2%, 89.7%, and 85.4%, respectively). Younger versus older pediatricians were more likely to sense moderate or greater responsibility for improving children's health in their community (83.6%, 77.2%, 76.7%, and 70.2%, respectively) and expected their community work to increase during the next 5 years (80.0%, 67.5%, 59.7%, and 40.1%, respectively). Age findings persisted when adjusted for gender. CONCLUSIONS: Although practice constraints may limit community involvement, younger pediatricians anticipated growing participation in community activities. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether such expectations are realized.

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