URMC Trains Young Doctors to Meet the Needs of Poor Children

May 26, 1998

Unique collaboration between University of Rochester School of Medicine and community agencies provides health care for Rochester's children while training pediatric residents in the special health care needs of the disadvantaged

This fall, Pediatric Links with the Community (PLC) will begin its fourth year of providing University of Rochester School of Medicine pediatric residents with experience in caring for economically disadvantaged children and adolescents at a variety of community sites. More than 100 medical students and residents have provided medical care and health education to children in community centers in some of the area's poorest neighborhoods, including the Corpus Christi Medical Outreach Clinic, Webster Avenue Family Resource Center, Head Start, Threshold Center for Alternative Youth Services, the Foster Care Clinic, and the Migrant Families Clinic in Sodus.

"We have three major goals for the PLC program," said Elizabeth R. McAnarney, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester/Children's Hospital at Strong. "One is to enhance medical care and health education for poor children. A second is to give residents the opportunity to learn firsthand about poverty's effects on children's health. The third is to nurture future pediatricians' provision of care and advocacy for poor children."

The University of Rochester Department of Pediatrics training program is nationally recognized for its strength in general and community pediatrics. The program received a national award for excellence from the Ambulatory Pediatric Association at this spring's academic meetings in New Orleans. The PLC program has further enhanced the general training program, McAnarney said, and has been popular with residents as well as an interest area for medical students who are considering the University of Rochester residency program.

The PLC program was designed by three former chief residents: Michelle Jones, M.D., Jeffrey Kaczorowski, M.D., and Laura Jean Shipley, M.D. in consultation with faculty member Michael Weitzman, M.D. They identified a need in the community as well as a concern on the part of residents for these children. "We have the pleasure of bringing together two extraordinary resources for children in Rochester," Shipley said. "One is the enduring commitment of our community health agencies to caring for poor children, and the other is the excellence and concern of our pediatric residents."

It's because of the unique medical needs of poor children that special training for future pediatricians is required. The highly-regarded Pathways to a Coordinated System of Health Care and Human Services for Children and Families in Rochester, published jointly by the University of Rochester School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the Monroe County Department of Health in 1994, listed the training and recruitment of physicians to care for impoverished children as one of its top three goals in improving health care for Rochester's children.

The PLC program has received substantial support from the Monroe County Department of Health and community foundations, including the Andrew J. Kirch Charitable Trust, the Glen and Maude Wyman-Potter Foundation, the Harold and Joan Feinbloom Foundation, the Fred and Floy Willmott Foundation, and the Halcyon Hill Foundation.

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