Original Publication
Open Access

EMPOWER Curriculum: Teaching Effective Use of Community Resources for Children With Special Health Care Needs

Published: January 8, 2015 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9993

Included in this publication:

  • EMPOWER Curriculum Instruction Guide.doc
  • Resident Introduction.docx
  • Seminar 1 Description.doc
  • Seminar 1 Life Course PowerPoint.ppt
  • Seminar 2 Description.doc
  • Seminar 2 PowerPoint.ppt
  • Seminar 2 Mnemonic Handout.doc
  • Seminar 2 Problem Based Learning Assignment Handout.docx
  • Seminar 2 Quality Rating Guide Handout.docx
  • Problem Based Learning Description.doc
  • PBL Exercise Score Sheet.doc
  • Group Exercise Description.doc
  • Curriculum Evaluation by Trainee.doc
  • Resident Evaluation.docx
  • EMPOWER Reference List.docx

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are a unique population of patients, whose care often requires coordination of community resources. Intended to empower providers to connect families with effective community resources, the EMPOWER curriculum was implemented by a third-year fellow in developmental-behavioral pediatrics rotation to help their pediatric resident colleagues. Methods: EMPOWER is an experiential curriculum intended for residents or medical students with an interest in primary care or chronic care. The curriculum is divided into three sessions with an interim problem-based learning (PBL) activity. The first seminar focuses on developing an understanding of life course theory. The second seminar introduces skills in needs assessment and strategies to locate and perform a quality assessment of community resources. The PBL assignment allows learners to practice the skills learned in the previous two seminars with a family. The third session involves a review of the PBL assignment and mapping of selected resources identified through the learners’ assignments, by visiting the resources within the community. A preliminary convenience sample evaluation of the impact of the curriculum on our learners was completed during 2013-2014 academic year using a de-novo pre-/posttest to assess self-report of knowledge, comfort level, and behavior. Unique identifying numbers were assigned to the surveys to preserve anonymity and enable comparison of pre-/posttest responses using McNemar’s test of paired proportions. Results: The EMPOWER curriculum has been implemented successfully for five cycles of resident rotators. Following the intervention, significantly higher proportions of residents reported feeling knowledgeable about CYSHCN (50% vs. 89%, p = < .01), said they would ask about community resources (25% vs. 54%, p = .04), and check resource quality (4% vs. 29%, p = .02). In addition, higher proportions were comfortable discussing income, personal safety, housing, organizations, transition, and respite. Discussion: In summary, findings suggested positive effects of participation in the EMPOWER curriculum. Thus, it may be a useful tool to teach pediatric residents about coordination of community resources for children and youth with special health care needs.

Educational Objectives

After participating in the EMPOWER curriculum, learners will be able to:

  1. Apply the life course perspective to children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN).
  2. Perform a needs assessment for community resources in CYSHCN.
  3. Locate community resources for these patients.
  4. Perform a quality assessment of these resources.
  5. Communicate information about relevant, quality resources to families.

Author Information

  • Marie Clark, MD: Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  • Wendy Hobson-Rohrer, MD, MSPH, FAAP: University of Utah School of Medicine
  • Blanche Benenson: Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  • Ruth Stein, MD: Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

None to report.

None to report.

Prior Presentations
Clark M, Benenson B, Stein REK. The EMPOWER curriculum: expanding DBP into the community. Presented at: Society for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Annual Meeting; September 27, 2013; Baltimore, MD.


Clark M, Hobson-Rohrer W, Benenson B, Stein R. EMPOWER curriculum: teaching effective use of community resources for children with special health care needs. MedEdPORTAL. 2015;11:9993. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9993