Pediatricians and other clinicians who care for children around the globe are aware of the need to address the social determinates of childhood illness and advocate for children and their families living in their communities. Pediatricians have a unique perspective on the health and wellbeing of children and families living in their communities since they are the only professionals who routinely care for and follow preschool children. Pediatricians throughout the world are usually highly regarded by families and respected within their communities. Because of this respect, they have special opportunities to influence child and family policy.
Advocacy is defined by the 4 P’s: personal experience, persistence/patience, passion, and principles. Personal experience usually determines the population or issue for which you decide to advocate. An effective advocate must be persistent and patient because it is difficult to change both policy and health care systems. Passion is also necessary for effective advocacy. An effective advocate feels personally connected to his or her issue. The final P in advocacy is to be principled. This means having a strong sense of integrity, credibility, fairness, and responsibility. Having integrity means a commitment to gain as complete an understanding of the issue as possible. Having credibility means that you will serve the best interests of children. Being fair means your policy recommendations will be based on a uniform standard of care for all children. Finally being responsible means recognizing how the consequences of the policy or advocacy efforts might have unintended effects.