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After SCHIP, What's Next?
Date:2/5/2009

Pediatrician, Advocate for Children's Health Suggests Next Steps for Congress and President Obama

(including Video and Podcast interviews)

PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Video and podcast links below - Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed legislation to expand the number of uninsured children who qualify for SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The passage of SCHIP extends health care insurance to four million more children, yet seven million children remain uninsured.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090205/SF67034)

"SCHIP's re-authorization is an important start but there's much more to be done," said Lisa Chamberlain, MD, MPH, a pediatrician and mother of two who has led SCHIP advocacy efforts among the residents at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. "Now, we're hoping that Congress and President Obama will continue to make children's health a priority." In a new video (link below), Chamberlain provides her thoughts on ways to "pave the way for every child in America to reach their full potential."

Universal health care for children

"All children in this country need access to appropriate health care," said Chamberlain. In the video, Chamberlain describes some of the disparities she sees in her clinical work. "Community clinics are stretched to capacity and there are not enough providers." Chamberlain also discusses how an economic downturn can affect access to care.

Investing in pediatric research

"Pediatric research is a fledgling field and we're starting to see significant results from the investments we've made," said Chamberlain, who notes that most medical trials have traditionally been focused on adults. "The President and Congress need to protect and continue to develop pediatric drugs and devices, making sure we can use these successfully by having all the information we need."

Building healthy communities

Chamberlain believes we need to think more broadly about children's health. "We should ensure that every child lives in a neighborhood that's safe and walkable," explained Chamberlain. "Our obesity epidemic has roots in the way we have designed our cities. How we build and design things should encourage families to be more active. But the biggest change we can make in the community would be universal preschool for children. I know we have the ingenuity and capacity to make it happen. It's really a question of political will."

Next steps

"The electorate is connected in a way that they never have been before," said Chamberlain, who believes that everyone can take part in advocating for children. "Parents and other adult concerned citizens understand that the investment in children is a good investment. It's easy. Join an Internet group, send letters, send faxes and contact your legislators to let them know this is important. A chorus of voices for children's issues could really make a difference."

Video interview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=637QMP5OsXI

Podcast at http://med.stanford.edu/121/2009/chamberlain.html

About Lisa Chamberlain, MD, MPH

Pediatrician Lisa Chamberlain, MD, MPH, a mother of two, provides care that goes beyond the clinic door. She helps families with advice about age-appropriate toys, nutrition and the effects of advertising to kids. A tireless campaigner for community health, Chamberlain designed one of the first programs in the country that teaches future pediatricians how to advocate for kids in the legislature, the schools and even in the homes. Her research interests include the causes and possible interventions to reduce the burden of childhood asthma in low-income communities, and the investigation of ways to eliminate the access barriers for uninsured and underinsured children. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and a clinical instructor at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Ranked as one of the nation's top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 272-bed hospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Packard Children's offers patients locally, regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs and services, from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness and injury. For more information, visit www.lpch.org.


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SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
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