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Pediatrics. 2009 Nov;124 Suppl 3:S237-45. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1100L.

Community engagement and its impact on child health disparities: building blocks, examples, and resources.

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  • 1University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics, Arkansas Children's Hospital, 1 Children's Way, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA.


National attention to racial and ethnic health disparities has increased over the last decades, but marked improvements in minority health, especially among children, have been slow to emerge. A life-course perspective with sustained community engagement takes into account root causes of poor health in minority and low-income communities. This perspective involves a variety of primary care, public health, and academic stakeholders. A life-course perspective holds great promise for having a positive impact on health inequities. In this article we provide background information on available tools and resources for engaging with communities. We also offer examples of community-primary care provider interventions that have had a positive impact on racial and ethnic health disparities. Common elements of these projects are described; additional local and national resources are listed; and future research needs, specifically in communities around issues that are relevant to children, are articulated. Examples throughout the history of pediatrics show the potential to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities not only for children but also for all populations across the life course.

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