Parent Partners in Health Education Update Issue #1 January 2008

Parent Partners in Health Education (PPHE) is a curriculum to train medical residents about working with families and children with developmental disabilities. Funding for PPHE projects is provided by the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. The NYS Council on Graduate Medical Education provides technical assistance to grantees and is conducting the overall program evaluation of the grants. This news sheet is provided to inform you about this important project and to invite your inquiries about how you can adopt the curriculum. Updates will be issued periodically by the NYS Council on Graduate Medical Education.

Exciting programs to enhance resident training to support families and children with developmental disabilities are happening at 12 New York teaching hospitals, where 16 pediatric and family medicine residency programs are implementing PPHE.

  1. Improve medical residents' awareness of the day-to-day issues faced by families caring for children with disabilities;
  2. Improve residents' knowledge of non-medical supports and potential sources of referrals within the community;
  3. Increase collaboration and communication between residents, non-medical human service professionals and families of children with disabilities;
  4. Enhance residents' skills for developmental disabilities as part of an overall Patient-Centered approach to the care of children with disabilities and their families; and
  5. Enhance satisfaction with primary care services for children with developmental disabilities and their families.

  • Parent Interviews designed to help the resident gain an understanding of the experiences of raising a child with a disability from the perspective of the family.
  • Four Didactic Lectures that contain specific, detailed content including an orientation session, Assessment of Developmental Disabilities in Primary Care - Denver II, Legal Aspects and Accessing Services for Children with Disabilities, and Doctor-Patient-Family Communication.
  • Community Agency Interviews that allow the medical residents to learn directly about available community resources and including at least one interview with an agency providing services to the paired family.
  • Clinical Experiences that provide direct experience with children with developmental disabilities and giving the resident the opportunity to develop essential skills and highlight the integration of clinical, family and community aspects of care.
  • Community Medicine Case Presentations through which residents share medical, social, and educational details about their assigned family and child with other residents and faculty.
  • Small Group Discussions that provide a forum where residents can share in informal peer-to-peer exchanges.
  • Personal Reflection Logs that allow residents to record notes, feelings, and experiences about their contacts with children, parents, and providers.

Although using the same curriculum, residency programs are applying the curriculum differently. Some of the different models are:

  • One-year programs offered in the year that pediatric residents have their behavioral and developmental rotation.
  • Multi-year programs for either PGY-2s and PGY3s or for all three residency years.
  • Concentrated programs conducted during 3-4 week sessions.

<96% of residents have found PPHE to be a good experience and would recommend it to their colleagues.

"I am in awe as to the resilience and persistence of this family in surviving whatever is thrown their way."

The residents were asked what they learned from PPHE that will have the greatest implications for their future clinical work with individuals with developmental disabilities. Typical responses include:

  • Learning about resources in the community and how to access services;
  • The role of the primary care provider in helping with care coordination;
  • Awareness that children with disabilities and their families need help;
  • Benefits of early intervention;
  • Better understanding of laws relating to children with disabilities;
  • Being exposed to patients in their homes;
  • Importance of advocacy;
  • Experiencing first hand the difficulties that parents go through when they have a child with a disability or how having a child with a disability affects the whole family;
  • To be more sensitive and a better listener; and
  • To see the parent's point of view when dealing with a problem.

Following is a list of PPHE grantees. You are invited to contact them for their personal perspectives. For more information about PPHE, email

This Parent Partners in Health Education Update is provided by the

  • NYS Council on Graduate Medical Education
    Corning Tower #1190, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12237
    with funding from the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
    Telephone 518-473-3513
    FAX 518-486-7854

Parent Partners in Health Education Grants

PPHE Phase I Residency Programs 2005-2008

St. Barnabas Hospital

St. Elizabeth Medical Center

  • Nicole Cocomazzi, Administrative Coordinator
  • St. Elizabeth Hospital
    Department of Family Medicine
    120 Hobart Street
    Utica, NY 13501

Stony Brook University Hospital

  • Susan Guralnick, MD, PPHE Project Director
    Department of Pediatrics
    Residency Director
    Stony Brook University Hospital
    HSCT 11, Room 020
    Stony Brook, NY 11794-8111

Winthrop-University Hospital

  • Bill Bryson-Brockman, PhD, PPHE Project Director
    Chief, Behavioral Pediatrics
    Winthrop-University Hospital
    222 Station Plaza, Suite 611
    Mineola, NY 11501

PPHE Phase II Residency Programs 2006-2009


  • Lisa Altshuler, PhD, PPHE Project Director
    Co-Director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
    Maimonides Medical Center
    977-48th Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11219

New York Medical College

  • Karen Edwards, MD, PPHE Project Director
    Associate Dean, Primary Care
    Department of Pediatrics
    New York Medical College
    Munger Pavilion, Suite 600
    Valhalla, NY 10595

New York Presbyterian Hospital

  • Heidi Beutler, MD, PPHE Project Director
    Assistant Attending, Pediatric Service
    Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York Presbyterian
    3959 Broadway
    New York, NY 10032


  • Nienke P. Dosa, MD, MPH, PPHE Project Director
    Center for Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics and the
    Department of Family Medicine
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    SUNY-Upstate Medical University
    750 East Adams Street
    Syracuse, NY 13210

PPHE Phase III Residency Programs 2007-2010

Elmhurst Hospital Center

  • Melvin Gertner, MD, PPHE Project Director
    Director of Pediatric Services
    Elmhurst Hospital Center
    79-01 Broadway
    Elmhurst, NY 11373

Institute for Urban Family Health Beth Israel Residency in Urban Family Practice

  • Andreas Cohrssen, MD, Project Director
    Residency Program Director
    16 East 16 Street
    New York, NY 10003

South Nassau Communities Hospital

  • Samuel Sandowski, MD, Project Director
    Director, Family Medicine Residency Program
    196 Merrick Road
    Oceanside, NY 11572

DDPC Grant for Technical Assistance and Program Evaluation

NYS Council on Graduate Medical Education

Developmental Disabilities Planning Council

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