Parent Partners in Health Education

About Parent Partners in Health Education

In 2003, the staff of the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) approached staff of the New York State Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) on how to expand physician skills, knowledge, and attitudes towards working with children with developmental disabilities and their families. It was agreed that providing training during medical residency programs would be an effective way to improve primary care physician screening skills and the care of children with developmental disabilities. The value of incorporating educational experiences with families in their homes and with community agencies was also recognized. A search for an existing curriculum identified Parent Partners in Health Education (PPHE), originally developed by the University Of Illinois, College of Medicine under a grant from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.

DDPC began a 5-year initiative to pilot the PPHE curriculum in primary care residencies, starting with four 3-year grants in 2005 and adding four more grants in each of the following two years. Parent Partners in Health Education Update Issue #1 provides details on the curriculum and identifies the 11 teaching hospitals with 16 residency programs implementing the curriculum. DDPC awarded a separate grant to COGME to provide technical assistance and overall program evaluation. One product of the COGME grant will be a revised PPHE curriculum incorporating the innovations and experiences of the New York State programs.

Comments from residents who participated in the PPHE curriculum include:

"It opened my eyes to the everyday struggles that families with a developmentally delayed member have to go through to live."

"(From my agency experience, I see the need to) work toward coordinating the various services such children need, and be more apt to refer to early intervention. From what I've seen, it's much safer to err on the side of caution."

"The (agency) experience not only broadened my horizon as a person, but as a pediatrician gave me options to offer a family who may feel like they have none at the time of diagnosis."

"Meeting Mrs. G. yesterday will be an experience that will stay with me through my career as a pediatrician. I have always found that learning about something on paper is never the same as having sat and talked with someone who lives it everyday. I will always further investigate any concerns a parent has about their child's development, whether they are first time parents or not. The more resources we are exposed to now, during our training, the better for our patients later on."