Our Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:
We recognize that we are enriched as a community and better able to serve children and families when we include voices from all perspectives. We value a compassionate and collaborative work environment that promotes diversity, inclusiveness, and cultural humility of our faculty, staff, and trainees. We are committed to advocacy initiatives that allow children and their families to thrive in safe environments free from bias and discrimination. We will work to reduce barriers to health equity for all children and families.
UVM Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital serving a large geographic area including very rural areas of Vermont and Upstate New York. Burlington is also a federally established refugee resettlement site. Although Vermont has the reputation for being a racially homogenous state, the youth population is quite different. ~20% of VT middle and HS students do not identify as white. During your residency training, you will care for children and families from a variety of diverse backgrounds.
The Pediatric Faculty and the Pediatric Residency Program are committed to ongoing professional development in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have added several recent initiatives. In addition to teaching sessions focused throughout the year, we ensure that all didactic teaching sessions include at least on aspect on how health disparities and inequities relate to the topic. Our “rural” primary care month has been broadened to “underserved” to include the option to focus clinics that primarily serve New Americans. We collaborate with community organizations as well (see below).
Medical Home for New American Children:
Over the past 30 years, about 8,000 Vietnamese, Bosnian, Somali, Sudanese, Congolese, Bhutanese and Burmese refugees have resettled in the Burlington and Winooski area through USCRI VT, a federal refugee resettlement program. Since 2004, the Pediatric New American Program (PNAP) has provided domestic medical examinations and primary care to refugee children and other children in immigrant families with the help of a network of interpreters. Recognizing that immigrant status is a social determinant of health, PNAP strives to provide equity through a family centered medical home where special consideration and care is given to support acculturation and integration as well as advocacy. Providers have extensive knowledge of refugee health and adjustment and practice in a manner attuned to cultural respect and safety. PNAP is embedded within the UVM Children’s Hospital’s Primary Care at 1 South Prospect in Burlington and in the community 20 Allen St in Burlington.
The Building Strong Families Clinic, a PNAP community embedded partnership with the Janet S. Munt Family Room, a parent child center, provides group well child care to children age 2 weeks to 5 years with the support of bilingual bicultural Family Strengthening Workers.
Residents in the UVM Pediatric Residency Program serve crucial roles both in the acute hospital setting for this patient population
as well as primary care providers in the PNAP.
Residents and faculty have also been involved in establishing school-based health clinics in Winooski and Burlington.
The national election in 2016 brought fear to many immigrant families in Vermont. With the increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric, new Americans – refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers were distressed about their future in Burlington, Vermont, and the United States. What was going to happen to them? Would they be safe in America? Would they have to leave? Driven by the real fear she witnessed in her pediatric practice, Dr. Andrea Green reached out to Burlington High School (BHS) to see if she could support the students in feeling safe and welcome. Dr. Green partnered with BHS International Club to develop an “All Are Welcome” Symbol that would demonstrate support for our refugee population. The BHS students partnered with local graphic designer, Tyler Littwin, to develop the symbol of a dove sitting in a nest of hands symbolizing migration, peace, and welcoming.
The dove represents peace and immigration because birds migrate much like immigrants looking for welcoming place to live. The hands show that our community welcomes everyone, protects them, and ensures that they are in a safe place. Although their focus is the immigrant community, the students chose #allarewelcome in English because they did not want anyone of any background, affiliation, or identity to feel excluded. The goal of the project was to help refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers live in the United States without fear.
This symbol is on display at the UVM Children’s Hospital Pediatric Primary Clinic and in shops and schools throughout the state and now around the country. Dr. Green and Radhika Tamang, a BHS student, presented the symbol and the work behind it at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Annual Leadership Forum in 2017, where all 50 states are represented. As a result and with the support of the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees, the symbol is now on display at hospitals as far away as California.
“It started here in Burlington – and now you can see it around the country,” says Dr. Green. “But more importantly, it’s a symbol that speaks to the power of testimonial therapy. In the process of developing and advocating for this symbol, kids who were really afraid to speak out have found their voice.”
Burlington also has an active and welcoming LGBTQ community. The Larner College of Medicine, the University of Vermont Medical Center, and the Vermont Children’s Hospital all proudly participate in Burlington’s annual pride parade and festivities. Residents also have opportunities to participate in the multi-disciplinary transgender youth program which was developed by a former resident, Jamie Mehringer. Residents also have the opportunity to work as medical staff and participate in Camp Outright, a summer camp program for queer, trans, questioning, and allied youth during an advanced adolescent rotation.
More About Diversity in our Burlington Community
Although Vermont is not known for diversity as a state, Chittenden County is quite different, especially Burlington and surrounding towns. Here is a link to Burlington’s 2019 Equity Report; our town cares about evaluating and addressing disparities, and you can read more about it here.
UVMCH New American Safety Fair
Burlington Pride Parade