Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Receives Federal Grant to Train Primary Care Pediatricians for Underserved Communities

October 25, 2010

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has received a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand the hospital’s pediatric residency program by developing a Primary Care training pathway.

The funding will allow Children’s Hospital to provide focused training for residents who want to enter primary care practice in underserved urban and rural communities. Children’s new Primary Care program — Pediatric Advocacy, Leadership, Service (PALS) — will add two residents each year for the next five years, each of whom will train over three years.“

This new federally funded program is geared toward training residents to be outstanding physicians with the knowledge and skills required for practice in tomorrow’s health care environment, including a focus on safety and quality of services, proficiency in the use of new technology and the electronic health record, and teamwork,” said Dena Hofkosh, M.D., M.Ed., residency program director. “We are uniquely poised to provide pediatric primary care training to physicians who would like to work in underserved communities. Residents train in a rigorous, academic environment and are able to take advantage of a large patient base in general and subspecialty pediatrics. We have well-established links with pediatric primary care providers in the region, many of whom trained in our program. Many of our region’s urban and rural communities are in need of improved access to pediatric primary care.”

Children’s is one of 82 accredited primary care residency programs in the country to receive the HHS funding under the Affordable Care Act. The 82 programs will receive $167.3 million in funding to increase the number of residents trained in general pediatrics, general internal medicine and family medicine. By 2015, it is anticipated the program will support the training of an additional 889 new primary care residents beyond the number being trained now.

“Chronic diseases, most of which are preventable, are one of the main reasons health care costs have soared over the past several decades,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Investing in our primary care workforce will strengthen the role that wellness and prevention play in our health care system. With these grants, Americansfrom all backgrounds will have new opportunities to enter the health care workforce.”

Children’s pediatric residency program is among the most respected in the country with more than 30 residents graduating from the program each year. Currently, Children’s has 27 first-year pediatrics residents, four internal medicine/pediatrics residents and two triple (pediatrics, psychiatry and child/adolescent psychiatry) residents. The new PALS program will have two residents entering training in July 2011. When all positions are filled, we will have two residents at each level of training for a total of six new positions by the year 2013. The PALS program is now accepting applications for positions starting in July 2011.

For more information, visit