Children's Hospital Colorado

Addressing Child Poverty in Pediatric Care (S3:E23)

Poverty is linked to toxic stress in children, which affects early brain development. By the time poor children start school, most of their self-regulation and academic skills are different than wealthier children. Early intervention during early childhood is critical to address the negative impact that poverty has on the health and academic potential of poor children.

There are interventions that a pediatrician can implement to help address child poverty. These include screening for social determinants of health, connecting them with resources, and supporting programs in primary care that improve early brain development.

Listen to a pediatric expert discuss child poverty in pediatric care

In this episode, we talk with Bernard Dreyer, MD, from the New York University School of Medicine about school and healthcare provider partnerships that have been successful in addressing the effects of childhood poverty.

Dr. Dreyer previously served as the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2016. Dr. Dreyer is a general pediatrician, developmental-behavioral pediatrician and hospitalist who has spent his professional lifetime serving poor children and families. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at NYU where he leads the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and is Director of Pediatrics at Bellevue Hospital.

This episode was recorded live from the 2019 AAP National Conference Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In this episode, our expert discusses:

  • The 1980s New York City homelessness epidemic and how he began working with poor families
  • Links between poverty and failed child developmental evaluations
  • Programs he started to help kids in New York
  • Discontinued welfare programs and the role they play in the stagnation of child poverty rates
  • The parts of the brain that are affected by stress and how this stress affects learning ability in young kids
  • Different ways the prefrontal cortex and amygdala interact to affect emotions
  • Areas of possible intervention in housing, hunger reduction and developmental outreach
  • What the Reach Out and Read and Video Interaction projects to do help kids
  • The success that the Video Interaction project has had in supporting positive parenting
  • The success that different countries have had in reducing child income poverty by 50% in 10 years
  • Causal evidence that more money reduces chronic childhood stress, thus improving learning
  • A report listing packages of policies and programs that suggest different ways to reduce child poverty
  • Programs that could be expanded in NYC: food stamps, housing vouchers and child allowance