With the birth of a new baby comes much change in the lives of families. While joyful, these times can be challenging as parents meander through dirty diapers, feeding challenges, sleepless nights, immunizations, and developmental milestones. Growing up healthy means supporting a child’s physical needs as well as their capacity to form secure relationships, experience and regulate emotions, and explore the world around them. Parents often rely on their child’s health care provider for guidance and support.
In 2014, we launched the Pediatrics Supporting Parents (PSP) initiative to focus on the unique opportunity that pediatric well-visits present for pediatricians and parents to partner to promote and support young children’s social and emotional development (SED) and nurture parent-child relationships. Healthy SED and nurturing parent-child relationships are critical building blocks for school readiness and lifelong health, learning, and resiliency. Through this collaborative effort, we first learned from evidence-based programs already doing great work to bring SED to pediatric well-visits. This helped us learn what approaches, tools, and funding mechanisms work best.
Next, we plan to explore how these findings can be applied to change pediatric well-visits for the better in local communities across the country, and how state and national policies and other conditions could help pave the way. This is just one example of how we are exploring how inspiring and successful innovation around quality practices can be expanded across the country. Philanthropic partners include the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, Perigee Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and an anonymous donor.