August 26, 2005

In the community, for the community

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

The best way for researchers and health educators to serve the public is to be near the people they want to reach out.

That’s the reason why the UCSD Division of Community Pediatrics, which has many innovative programs that serve the needs of local communities, recently opened new offices in City Heights, a dynamic, diverse area in San Diego.

“Community Pediatrics engages in community-university partnerships focused on issues relevant to child and family health.” said Vivian Reznik, M.D., of the Community Pediatrics Division. “Moving our offices to City Heights makes sense since we have been collaborating with the neighborhood for many years working on issues of nutrition, violence prevention and health disparities.”

A non-clinical division of UCSD School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics since 1986, the division consists of a multidisciplinary team of pediatricians, nutritionists, statisticians, psychologists, health and physical educators, and other professionals.

The goal of the department is to promote health in San Diego and numerous other communities by establishing culturally competent programs that promote health- and safety.

On Thursday, August 18, Community Pediatrics hosted an Open House, so that community members could learn more about what it has to offer.

Present at the event were Congresswoman Susan Davis and UCSD Chancellor Marye Ann Fox.

“This is the ideal location for us,” said Dr. Howard Taras, director of the Community Pediatrics Division. “It is a place where the university is not normally seen.”

Dr. Taras added that one of the main goals of the Division of Community Pediatrics is “to promote health among people who usually find it hard to have access to high-quality health care services.”

That goal is achieved through many health professionals, like Julius Philips, a a Project Coordinator for Community Outreach for the San Diego EXPORT Center, one of the programs available at Community Pediatrics.

His job consists of encouraging minority groups, especially African-Americans and Latinos, to participate in clinical trials sponsored by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

His mission is important, because, historically, minority participants have been underre-presented in clinical trials, he said.

“In theory, what we do is go out and promote clinical trials among minorities. In reality we do much more than that: we are health educators. That’s what I consider myself,” said Phillips, who started his nursing career in the Navy. “We present the information about the condition so that the public can make informed decisions about what it is.”

The UCSD Division of Community Pediatricts new location is at City Heights Center, 4305 University Avenue, Ste 590.

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