Doctors

Poverty

Pediatricians recognize poverty as among the most powerful predictors of children’s future health and development. Yet doctors often feel powerless in mitigating the effects of poverty in the office setting, despite the acknowledgement of the critical role poverty plays in both the health of individual patients and the long-term economic success of our nation.

Docs for Tots believes that health care providers can assist families in accessing a range of supports in order to be financially secure. Young children’s doctors can connect families with important resources, like tax credits, and be advocates for strengthening supports like family leave insurance. Doctors must also be a powerful voice for drawing attention to the health consequences of child poverty.

As a doctor, you are uniquely poised to:

  • Advocate for investments in effective programs that target our nation’s youngest children
  • Provide patients and families with resources on financial literacy and directly link families with economic supports and community resources to promote financial health
  • Discuss financial health and well-being at visits
  • Connect families with resources that could support their financial health, e.g. job training, free tax preparation, financial support like nutrition and child care assistance
  • Promote teaching financial literacy to children
  • Advocate for policies that address the root causes of poverty and investments in community based strategies that break the cycle of poverty

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Babies make 700 new neural connections per second.

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University