The JeffSTARS Advocacy and Community Partnership Elective: A Closer Look at Child Health Advocacy in Action

Publication ID Published Volume
10526 December 31, 2016 12

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Introduction: Advocacy and service-learning increasingly are being incorporated into medical education and residency training. The Jefferson Service Training in Advocacy for Residents and Students (JeffSTARS) curriculum is an educational program for Thomas Jefferson University and Nemours trainees. The JeffSTARS Advocacy and Community Partnership Elective is one of two core components of the larger curriculum. Methods: The elective is a monthlong rotation that provides trainees in their senior year of medical school or residency training the opportunity to learn about health advocacy in depth. Trainees develop a basic understanding of social determinants of health, learn about health policy, participate in legislative office visits, and work directly with community agencies on a mutually agreeable project. The elective provides advocacy training to self-selected trainees from area medical schools and residency programs to develop a cadre of physicians empowered to advocate for child health. Results: JeffSTARS has advanced the field of child health advocacy locally by forging new partnerships and building a network of experts, agencies, and academic institutions. After this experience, trainees realize that their health expertise is very valuable to health advocacy and policy development. JeffSTARS is recognized nationally as one of a growing number of advocacy training programs for students and residents, with trainees presenting selected projects at national meetings. Discussion: Teaching advocacy has raised awareness about social determinants of health, community resources, and the medical home. One of the many benefits of the elective has been to strengthen the skills and expertise of trainees and faculty members alike.


Chung EK, Kahn SR, Altshuler M, Lane JL, Plumb JD. The JeffSTARS Advocacy and Community Partnership Elective: a closer look at child health advocacy in action. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2016;12:10526.

Educational Objectives

After participating in the advocacy elective, trainees will be able to:

  1. Understand how social determinants and policies affect child health.
  2. Partner with community organizations to advocate for community and child health.
  3. Model practical and effective advocacy skills for lifelong advocacy, including, but not limited to, building relationships in the community, incorporating advocacy into clinical practice, and identifying policy solutions to child health problems.


  • Advocacy, Child Health, Women’s Health, Poverty, Social Determinants of Health, Health Policy, Editor's Choice


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