Healthy Homes, Healthy Futures: A Home Visitation Curriculum for Pediatric Residents

Publication ID Published Volume
10480 October 2, 2016 12

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A working knowledge of the home and neighborhood environment is critical to understanding the barriers that families face when struggling with obesity. Most doctors are only given the opportunity to address individuals with obesity in the office setting and usually describe their counseling abilities as ineffective. This focused home visitation curriculum offers a unique tool to improve residents’ understanding of the social determinants of health, how these determinants relate to obesity, and critical obesity-management skills. The curriculum requires residents to review three PowerPoint modules and an article on motivational interviewing. Residents then implement what they have learned by doing two home visits with a family from their continuity clinic and completing a windshield survey of the family’s neighborhood. This publication includes all of the materials necessary to facilitate the curriculum, including scripts for the residents to use at each visit, resources for the family, and curriculum evaluation tools. The program has been integrated into our pediatric residency curriculum and completed by 20 interns during a first-year community health rotation, but it could be completed at any time during resident training. Residents who completed the curriculum reported improved counseling skills and improved understanding of the social determinants of health. During postcurriculum qualitative interviews, residents described the experience as eye-opening and revealed that lessons learned from the visits will alter how they approach patients who are obese in their future clinical practice.


Essel KD, Yalamanchi S, Hysom E, Lichtenstein C. Healthy homes, healthy futures: a home visitation curriculum for pediatric residents. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2016;12:10480.

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

After completion of this curriculum, residents will be able to:

  1. Discuss appropriate child nutrition recommendations.
  2. Illustrate how social determinants of health affect obesity.
  3. Apply motivational interviewing skills to guide a family struggling with obesity through choosing appropriate personal healthy living goals.
  4. Formulate personalized recommendations for a family struggling with obesity based on what is learned from a home and neighborhood assessment and discussions with the family.


  • Childhood Obesity, Overweight, Home Visitation, Nutrition, Motivational Interviewing, Social Determinants of Health, Pediatric Residents, Physical Activity, Healthy Lifestyles

Prior Scholarly Dissemination

  • Essel K, Jonnalagadda S, Lichtenstein C. Healthy homes, healthy futures program: a home visitation curriculum to help facilitate more dynamic and effective communication strategies between pediatric residents and families of obese/at risk children. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting; April 25-28, 2015; San Diego, CA.
  • Essel K, Jonnalagadda S, Lichtenstein C. Healthy homes, healthy futures program: a home visitation curriculum to help facilitate more dynamic and effective communication strategies between pediatric residents and families of obese/at risk children. Presented at: American Pediatric Association Region IV Annual Meeting; February 20-21, 2015; Charlottesville, VA.

  • Essel K, Jonnalagadda S, Lichtenstein C. Healthy homes, healthy futures program: a home visitation curriculum to help facilitate more dynamic and effective communication strategies between pediatric residents and families of obese/at risk children. Presented at: Children’s National Research & Education Week; April 7-11, 2014; Washington, DC.


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