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Alexy Arauz-Boudreau, MD, MPHAssistant in PediatricsInstructor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical SchoolDr. Arauz Boudreau is an academic community pediatrician with the MGH Center for Adolescent and Child Health Research and Policy and practices as a primary care pediatrician at MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center. She is an Associate Director of the MGH Multicultural Affairs Office. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard School Public Health. She has completed the Harvard Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship and the Commonwealth Fund Mongan Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.Dr. Arauz Boudreau’s interests focus on determining effective means to reduce health disparities for vulnerable children by impacting childhood development both through community and primary care initiatives. She studies elements required to structure pediatric practices to successfully influence child development making an impact on school readiness and life style behaviors with the aspiration of influencing life long health trajectories and reducing disparities. Current projects involve understanding how practices transform into a medical home and aim to use the medical home concept as a platform to transform pediatric practice into a holistic system for promoting child development and addressing health disparities. Dr. Arauz Boudreau has served on committees for initiatives that foster healthy child development among vulnerable children.Abstract: The Evaluation of Healthy Steps MGH: Promoting Healthy Child Development and the Reduction of Health Disparities Through an Office Based InterventionBackground: Early life experiences are important in predicting the emotional and physical well being of both children and adults. By setting life-health trajectories, early childhood influences health disparities and offers an opportunity to address disparities through enhancing childhood development. Healthy Steps is one model by which pediatricians can augment preventative childhood health and development. It places child developmental specialists in pediatric practices, coupling well-child visits with parental education.Objective: We aim to explore the effects of Healthy Steps on child development and how it may affect school readiness, obesity, mental health and disparities in these outcomes.Design: A case-control study of the MGH Healthy Steps will assess differences among families that receive Healthy Steps and those that do not, as well as differences across racial/ethnic and socio-economic groups. One hundred cases families and 300 controls (1:3 case:control) that speak either English or Spanish will be enrolled prior to the child’s four-year-old well-child visit. Outcomes will be assessed using established instruments to compare scores across groups.Implications: By demonstrating that developmental specialists can assist pediatricians in improving school readiness and reducing precursors of obesity and mental health, we can move beyond describing health disparities to reducing them and argue for preventative health interventions focused on early childhood.
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