Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Field Trip: Resident's Day at the State House.

Wow.  The Residents of the Massachusetts AAP organized a fantastic program for Residents Day at the State House, and I got to go.  We got to hear Jack Shonkoff talk to us about how science and policy interact;  John McDonaugh talk about politics; and watch a group of really energized residents go out and talk to their legislators.  Let me try to capture some of what they had to say:
Jack  was superb, talking about his transition from scientist to policy maker, describing his journey with his usual brilliance.  I took lots of notes, but his advice essentially could be summed up in three points;
  • TEACH DON”T PREACH:  We have to close the gap between what we know and what we do, by being smarter about how we bring the science to the table.  Teachers know that they have to meet their students "inside their own heads"- that is the basis of adult learning theory.  He is working with a group called  The Frameworks Institute, which has developed a wonderful rubric for learning about the Frames that guide our thinking and finding language that communicates what we are trying to say.
  • EXPLAIN DON”T COMPLAIN.  It is easy to complain-  by working on policy, we acknowledge that the boundaries of pediatrics need to extend beyond the audience, if we are going to make a difference for children.  He made a point that others made throughout the day;  we are at our most effective when we are knowledge brokers, working with advocates for the benefit of children.
  • RELATE DON”T BERATE.  Politics is all about building relationships.  In particular, with folks that we sometimes think of as "not like us".  Almost everyone cares about children, but there are a wide range of beliefs around how that is best done.  (As most of us docs know from the practice of medicine)  We as pediatricians need new partners:  Change happens when we make the relationships happen.

There's more-  I will try to work it into the blog later.  Check out his stuff at Harvard: The Developing Child,  Jack is where we all need to be.

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