Advocacy and Community Outreach

All residents, primarily during their intern year, participate in a one month advocacy rotation. This rotation serves multiple purposes—it exposes residents to community agencies that serve impoverished children and their families, provides exposure to schools in the community and improves understanding of the business side of pediatrics. Residents are assigned to a variety of sites for ½ day-1 day sessions and to various schools from elementary through high school. Examples include WIC program, daycare licensing, hospice, child protection team along with foster family home visitation.


Residents have a set of activities to complete for each site. In addition, there are a variety of independent study activities that are done throughout the month. Residents during both the ambulatory rotation and advocacy spend time on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. After this initial exposure, residents can opt for a more intensive elective later in their training in School Health, Child Abuse/Neglect with the Child Protection Team or by conducting an advocacy project.


A variety of community volunteer opportunities occur throughout the year. Examples of prior experiences include:

  • • Health fairs at both urban and rural sites
  • • Community talks (coaches, parents, schools, Great American Teach-In)
  • • High school sports team coverage
  • • Participation in community boards
  • • Participation in annual events such as the Festival of States and Gasparilla Children's Parade
  • • Child Abuse Holiday Toy Drive
  • • Attendance at camps for children with chronic disease such as Diabetes Camp and Boggy Creek Camp

Legislative Advocacy and the AAP

Residents have participated in legislative activities by attending Children's Week in Tallahassee and AAP Legislative Conferences in Washington, DC as well as actively participating in the AAP Resident Section. Florida has an extremely active Resident Section for which USF Residents have provided key leadership. USF Residents have served as Chair of the section many times in recent years and Dr. Dabrow, Program Director, has served as the group’s faculty advisor since its inception. She serves on the FL AAP Executive Board and on the National AAP Committee for Resident Scholarships.

For the 2014-2015 year, Dr. Erin Wright serves as the Chair of the FL Resident Section. Dr. Pelaez, general pediatric faculty, serves on the national AAP as the FL representative for the Young Physician's Section.

Many of our residents have been applied for and been awarded AAP CATCH grants. Recent projects have involved providing health care and education to refugee families and peer support for obese children.


Advocacy Projects

USF has an active Reach Out and Read (ROR) Program which is the oldest in the state. The program is active at both continuity clinic sites.

Dr. Katie Kelly, 2012 graduate, who was Chair of the Florida AAP Resident Section, had an article published about the Affordable Care Act in the St. Petersburg Times.

Former resident, Dr. Cary Aungst, had an article regarding the Privacy of Firearms Owners bill published in the St. Petersburg Times. Both articles were a result of Dr. Kelly and Dr. Aungst's AAP advocacy experience.