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Faculty Advocacy Efforts

At Feinberg School of Medicine, the Department of Pediatrics’ faculty members are engaged in a wide variety of advocacy efforts. Past assessments of faculty members’ advocacy interests revealed that every division within our department participates in advocacy initiatives, although individual faculty members may not be engaged (similar to research). Over the past decade, some faculty advocacy efforts have expanded into centers or programs convened by the hospital. Other faculty members who are engaged in advocacy do not always work through the hospital or the department; they may work through sub-specialty organizations or parent groups.

Examples of Advocacy Efforts

To advance their advocacy initiatives, faculty members employ different strategies, working at various levels.

Community Advocacy

Joseph DiCara, MD, MPH, member of the Division of Hospital-Based Medicine, founded a youth development organization in 1984 while a Northwestern University medical student. Nearly 30 years later, Chicago Youth Programs has provided thousands of at risk Chicago children comprehensive youth development services including mentoring, safe recreation and comprehensive healthcare.

Media Advocacy

Television, radio, print media and blogs can an effective strategy to promote messages about child health and well-being. For example, several faculty members have been working to call attention to the serious problem of underage drinking. Robert Tanz, MD, member of the Division of Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care, and Sarah McAndrew, MD, former chief resident, were quoted in this Chicago Tribune article about their research that was presented at PAS.

Salubrity is a blog about child health, safety and wellness. While this blog is hosted by Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, there are guest faculty bloggers share their expert opinions on issues that affect kids. See more faculty and hospital-based blogs.

Legislative Advocacy

Many faculty members are active behind the scenes in legislative advocacy or policy development by serving as content experts. In addition, many faculty members testify at city, state and federal levels to promote issues concerning child health and well-being.

In early 2015, Cynthia LaBella, MD, medical director of the Institute of Sports Medicine, worked closely with Illinois State Senators to strengthen the state’s concussion legislation. Dr. LaBella helped to advise the legislators on best practices and testified in Springfield. The Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act was signed into law by the governor in early August 2015.

Jennifer Hoffmann, MD, US Representative Lauren Underwood, and Thomas Shanley, MD, CEO at a press conference in August 2021 to announce the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act.


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