June 27, 2000                                                  



 The UCSD Department of Pediatrics has received a five-year, $2.5 million grant to expand physician training into the community, giving young doctors the skills, motivation and commitment for outreach, involvement and interaction with a diverse patient population.

 UCSD is one of only six centers in the United States to receive funding from The Dyson Foundation, a private foundation in New York. ”The Dyson Initiative – Pediatrics Training in the Community” will fund the development and support of learning activities designed to change the way pediatric residents acquire their skills, knowledge and outlook.

 According to UCSD Pediatrics Department Vice-Chair Vivian Reznik, M.D., M.P.H., the primary goal of the initiative is to give pediatric residents from UCSD Medical Center and the Naval Medical Center both instruction and patient experiences that will lead to a better understanding of community health needs than they might get from traditional hospital-based training.

 “This program will enable the residents to become directly involved with providing care to diverse populations,” Reznik said. The four neighborhoods and areas in which the residents will work are: Mid-City, the San Diego/Tijuana binational border, East County/Native American tribal communities, and St. Vincent de Paul’s programs for the homeless.

“The learning environments will be different from the hospitals and clinics of traditional medical education and will extend to homes, community-based organizations, churches, shelters, schools, community centers, day care centers and public health systems,” Reznik said.

 The initiative also meets UCSD’s objective of setting up a program in which residents can go out into the community to help improve health care, according Phil Nader, M.D., UCSD Professor of Community Pediatrics and co-principal investigator of The Dyson Initiative along with Reznik. 

 “Physicians in training to become pediatricians will deliver care and also learn the skills they need to interact with families, agencies and institutions to improve the health of all children in the community, not just their patients,” said Nader.

Learning to be child health advocates, the residents will act as consultants to non-health agencies like schools and day care centers, and be active in developing policies and legislation to improve the health of children. Most important, according to Reznik, they will learn how to help children and families in need to access health care services.

 “This is a really exciting opportunity,” said Patty Vitale, M.D., a third-year pediatric resident who will be participating in the program. “UCSD is already doing so much in the community, but this will allow us to get out there even more. The program will provide avenues for residents to reach out into the community and make a difference.”

The grant is effective July 1 and residents’ community work will begin Sept. 1. In their first year, residents will visit each of the four training program sites several times. From there, they will choose on area of focus and for the following two years will work at the site for two half days each month.

 UCSD’s Pediatrics Department has a strong community orientation and has formed many continuing collaborative relationships. Community clinics, practicing pediatricians, key UCSD faculty members, community agencies and groups, have all been involved in activities involving children’s services, social interventions and youth health behavior intervention research of national significance.

Dyson Fdn

 The Dyson Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation established in 1957 by the late Charles H. and Margaret M. Dyson. The Foundation is led by Anne E. Dyson, M.D., the Dyson’s only daughter who serves as foundation president. The foundation awards two main funding areas: a national program in child health and medicine and a regional program in the Dyson family’s home community of Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State.


 Media Contact: Kate Deely        619/543-6163