Dr. Gilles Julien has fundamentally changed the profession of pediatrics. All medical students at all major universities in Montréal are now required to do a rotation in social pediatrics supervised by Dr. Julien. Medical conditions and social conditions are closely intertwined, and socio-economic adversity has serious health ramifications. Children living in poverty require a different kind of pediatric care.
Social Pediatrics has developed progressively over the past 20 years in 2 underserved communities in Montréal with community support. What started as the small project of one pediatrician to better serve under-served children has become an innovative model of developing global preventive and curative services for children’s needs and rights with the active participation of families and communities. Five new Social Pediatrics Centers are opening in the Fall of 2009 and more than 20 others are in preparation.
The approach is based on respect, comprehension, and the mobilization of different sectors (health and social, education, youth protection, law, media and business) to work together to sustain children in need (no children should fall through the cracks and fail to get the support they need).
Networking, empowerment, children’s rights, and innovation are strong values of the approach. Social Pediatrics involves widening the lens through which one views a child’s health, and diversifying the players. Medical conditions and social conditions are closely intertwined. Social Pediatricians realize that environmental, socio-economic, and family conditions contribute as much to health and illness as do genes and germs. Social Pediatricians also realize they cannot do their job alone. They work closely with communities to develop a local system of integrated services. Social Pediatricians view health as thriving as opposed to simply the absence of sickness, and see prevention as critical.
(a) To understand social iniquities as a severe threat to child health and development globally
(b) To define community actions on how to sustain children and families
(c) To be aware that interdisciplinary action is a powerful tool for empowering the child, the family, & the community (e.g., Medical Legal partnership for implementing children’s rights)
This talk “Social Pediatrics: A Powerful Approach to Sustaining Child Development in Underserved Communities” was given at the conference “Brain Development and Learning 2010 Meeting” in Vancouver. It was an interdisciplinary conference devoted to improving children’s lives by making cutting-edge research in neuroscience, child psychology, & medicine. Further information available on http://www.interprofessional.ubc.ca/bdl.html