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ABP's Laurel Leslie Authors Paper on Proven Preventive Programs

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 11:00

Pediatricians may help guide families to proven preventive programs.

Prevention programs that focus on the needs of families can benefit many more children if they can be integrated into primary healthcare settings, according to a paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. ABP Vice President of Research Laurel Leslie, MD, MPH, served as the paper's lead author. 

Read Primary Health Care: Potential Home for Family-Focused Preventative Interventions

“Most families already receive advice about child development and health from their primary care providers,” Leslie said. “These providers include pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and others who are often the first ones to whom parents go when they have concerns about their children’s behavior.”

The positive effects of family-focused prevention programs have been demonstrated through numerous studies, Leslie said, especially those offered in a variety of settings and across families with diverse structures and economic, racial and cultural compositions. However, these programs don’t always reach everyone who could benefit from them.

Leslie and her co-authors suggest that primary care providers may be able to help connect families with evidence-based family-focused prevention programs. Effective programs promote the well-being of children from pre-birth through mid-adolescence. Some provide information on preventive interventions to all parents and caregivers, including expectant parents and families who children are entering adolescence. Others serve families of children with special needs or vulnerabilities or those showing early symptoms of behavioral health problems such as disruptive behaviors or autism.

The paper lists these calls for action and research:
  • Create an adequately-funded research foundation to support integration of effective family-focused prevention programs into primary care.
  • Increase public awareness of the effectiveness of family-focused prevention programs and change public norms regarding participation.
  • Increase awareness, acceptance, and opportunities among primary care providers for the incorporation of preventive parenting into primary care.
  • Prepare a work force that can effectively and efficiently deliver proven family-focused prevention programs in primary care settings.
  • Advocate for a specific focus on child health in implementation efforts under the Affordable Care Act.
Co-authors on the paper are:

Christopher J. Mehus, PhD, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota
J. David Hawkins, PhD, Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington
Thomas Boat, MD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Dean Emeritus, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Mary Ann McCabe, PhD, George Washington University School of Medicine, George Mason University
Shari Barkin, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, Vanderbilt University
Ellen C. Perrin, MD, Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Floating Hospital for Children, Tufts Medical Center
Carol W. Metzler, PhD, Oregon Research Institute
Guillermo Prado, PhD, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami
V. Fan Tait, MD, Department of Child Health and Wellness, American Academy of Pediatrics
Randall Brown, MD, PhD, FASAM, Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health
William Beardslee, MD. Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital-Boston