New views on global child health: global solutions for care of vulnerable children in the United States

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This paper provides a brief overview of the current landscape of global child health and the impact of social determinants on the world's children. In the United States (US), global child health (GCH) has increasingly been highlighted as a priority area by national organizations, such as the National Academy of Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as individual pediatricians committed to ensuring the health of all children regardless of geographic location. Although GCH is commonly used to refer to the health of children outside of the US, here, we highlight the recent call for GCH to also include care of US vulnerable children. Many of the lessons learned from abroad can be applied to pediatrics domestically by addressing social determinants that contribute to health disparities.

Recent findings

Using the ‘three-delay’ framework, effective global health interventions target delays in seeking, accessing, and/or receiving adequate care. In resource-limited, international settings, novel health system strengthening approaches, such as peer groups, community health workers, health vouchers, cultural humility training, and provision of family-centered care, can mitigate barriers to healthcare and improve access to medical services.

Summary

The creative use of limited resources for pediatric care internationally may offer insight into effective strategies to address health challenges that children face here in the US. The growing number of child health providers with clinical experience in resource-limited, low-income countries can serve as an unforeseen yet formidable resource for improving pediatric care in underserved US communities.

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