Lynam, M.J., Scott, L., Loock, C.L., Wong, S. (2011). The RICHER Social Pediatrics Model: Fostering Access and Reducing Inequities in Children’s Health, Healthcare Quarterly. 14 Special Issue, (3): 41-56. doi: 10.12927/hcq.2011.22576
Considerable evidence shows that children and families who are vulnerable because of their social and material circumstances shoulder a disproportionate burden of disease and are more likely to face both social and structural challenges in accessing healthcare. Addressing these issues in children is particularly important as evidence has demonstrated that inequities in health are cumulative over the life course.
In this article, the authors report on the RICHER (Responsive, Intersectoral-Interdisciplinary, Child-Community, Health, Education and Research) social pediatrics initiative, which was designed to foster timely access to healthcare across the spectrum from primary care to specialized services for a community of inner-city children who have disproportionately high rates of developmental vulnerability. Their research shows that the initiative has effectively “reformed” health services delivery to provide care in ways that are accessible and responsive to the needs of the population. RICHER is an intersectoral, interdisciplinary outreach initiative that delivers care through the formation of innovative partnerships. The authors share research results that demonstrate that the RICHER model of engagement with children and families not only effectively fosters access for families with multiple forms of disadvantage, but also improves outcomes by empowering parents of particularly vulnerable children to become more active participants in care.