The Medical Model of Health

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As the pace of social change quickens, children are faced with new social and environmental risks to their growth and development. Of these changes, childhood poverty poses the greatest threat to children 's well-being. One in four American children under the age of 3 years lives in poverty; (Haggerty 1999) a higher percentage of children live in poverty than any other age group. As pediatricians, we know that children in poverty experience a double jeopardy. First, they are more frequently exposed to risks to their health and development (such as lead poisoning, malnutrition, and family dysfunction). Second, children suffer more negative consequences (such as developmental delay and school dysfunction) from such exposure than do children…show more content…
Legal Advocacy It is one thing to recognize the social problems that plague children, quite another to be able to do something about them. Every primary-care clinician who tries to do so runs into significant barriers to helping children and parents receive the benefits to which they are entitled--barriers of inordinate paperwork, telephone delays, arcane rules and regulations, and an unsympathetic bureaucracy. Although well intentioned, most primary-care clinicians have not been trained in what families are legally entitled to, how to help parents gain access to resources and services, and how best to effect change in agencies and bureaucracies. The most fundamental level of preventive pediatrics is ensuring that children have their needs for food, shelter, safety, and health care met. In collaboration with a community legal-aid agency, we have hired a public-interest lawyer to provide legal aid and advocacy to families at our Pediatric Primary Care Clinic. Serving as a legal family advocate, the lawyer helps families receive Medicaid, ensures that medically necessary nonprescription drugs (such as oral rehydration solution) are received by patients receiving Medicaid,
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