Communities and Physicians Together (CPT) at University of California, Davis Health System provides a novel approach to teaching residents to be effective community advocates. Founded in 1999, CPT is a partnership between a pediatric residency program, five community collaboratives located in diverse neighborhoods, and a grassroots child advocacy organization. Using the principles of Asset-Based Community Development, the program emphasizes establishing partnerships with community members and organizations to improve child health and identifies community assets and building capacity. Community members function as the primary faculty for CPT.
The authors describe the CPT curriculum, which teaches residents to build partnerships with their assigned community. Residents have three, two-week blocks each year for CPT activities and maintain a longitudinal relationship with their community. In the first year, collaborative coordinators from each community orient residents to their community. Residents identify community assets and perform activities designed to provide them with a community member’s perspective. In the second and third years, residents partner with community members and organizations to implement a project to improve the health of children in that community. CPT also provides faculty development to community partners including a workshop on medical culture and resident life. A qualitative evaluation demonstrated residents’ attitudes of their role as pediatricians in the community changed with CPT.
CPT is unique because it provides a model of service learning that emphasizes identifying and utilizing strengths and building capacity. This approach differs from the traditional medical model, which emphasizes deficits and needs.