Physicians in the Community

Advocacy and Social Determinants of Health

See a brief video to learn more about Physicians in the Community from Dr. Amy Whittle

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Physician in Community (PIC) rotation is to train pediatric residents to be compassionate, skillful and effective partners in community advocacy for child health equity. We share with PLUS the vision that pediatric residents be effective advocates for health equity so that all children thrive, rooted in caring communities and supported by infrastructures of opportunity.


After participating in the curriculum, pediatric residents will:

  • Recognize structural causes of health inequity and effectively mobilize available resources to provide exceptional care for vulnerable populations of children
    • Include social determinants of health when considering diagnostic and therapeutic plans for all clinical encounters.
    • Demonstrate understanding of community resources, benefits available & barriers to accessing them.
    • In particular, integrate anti-racist practices into clinical and advocacy work, including reflection on individual and systemic power and privilege and how to leverage this to contribute to attitudinal shifts in community members to participate in advocacy.
  • Develop foundational competencies related to advocacy, including clinic-level, institutional, community, legislative, media, and administrative advocacy.
  • Learn to build inclusive collaborations with diverse people and organizations with a common goal of enhancing child health equity
    • Foster interest & ability amongst community members to enter health professions careers.
    • Recognize and elevate the expertise of community members
    • Draw meaning and motivation from feeling part of the community one serves
  • Provide care that is rooted in a trauma-informed approach
    • Strive to understand and honor diverse family and community experiences
    • Cultivate personal practices of resiliency and self-awareness
    • Recognize structural barriers to providing trauma-informed care and ways to advocate around those
  • Demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess and track progress within medical and community settings to decrease health disparities
  • Contribute to an expanded commitment to health equity and advocacy throughout UCSF

Residents have two one-month blocks in the R1 and R2 years that are a combination of Physician in Community and Development and Behavior activities.

Year 1: The intern year PIC curriculum is rooted in partnership with GLIDE, a social services organization located in the Tenderloin neighborhood that is a “radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.” The curriculum provides an introduction to San Francisco demographics and neighborhoods, with a deep dive into the Tenderloin, a downtown neighborhood populated by families from many cultural, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. The area is home to a strong coalition of community-based organizations and family hubs including the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Boys and Girls Club,and Tenderloin Community Elementary School.

Through a combination of in-person volunteer experiences, readings and discussions, and opportunities for reflection, residents gain deeper appreciation for:

  • Principles of effective community partnership
  • Power, privilege, and cultural humility
  • Anti-poverty and anti-racist community-based strategies
  • Public health insurance systems
  • Trauma informed care
  • Food insecurity & homelessness

Year 2: The second year curriculum focuses on pediatrician partnerships with schools, including Mission Education Center Elementary School,which welcomes newly immigrated children and their families. Topics that are covered in the second-year curriculum include:

  • Immigrant health & advocacy
  • Early childhood education
  • School health & special education
  • Foster care & child abuse
  • Trauma informed care part 2

For questions, contact Amy Whittle, [email protected]