Pediatrics Residency Training
in Developmental Disabilities

University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics Residency Training Program

Title: Families and Communities Curriculum: Over Ten Years of Collaboration and Innovation in the Education of Residents in Pediatrics

Description: This training helps prepare pediatric residents to take leadership roles in the practice of family-centered, collaborative care based on the concepts of the Medical Home model when caring for children with special health care needs. This collaborative program has been in existence since 1990 and has impacted over 450 of the next generation of pediatricians that support children with disabilities and/or chronic illness.

Audience: Pediatric residents at the University of Minnesota.


Over the past several decades the increasing number of children and adolescents with chronic health conditions has substantially changed the practice of pediatrics. The unique and often-complex medical needs and developmental and behavioral concerns present a challenge to practicing pediatricians as well as to those preparing the next generation of pediatricians. To meet the changing demands of practice, the pediatricians of the future are being educated today with the technical skills to address the biomedical and psychosocial needs of their patients and families. Yet these pediatricians in training are not routinely taught about or given the opportunity to develop that same expertise in the practice of family-centered, collaborative models of care. Collaboration among physicians, allied health professionals, school and community service providers, and families is a cornerstone of the Medical Home model of care. Like technical skills, leadership skills in family-centered and collaborative care can and should be taught in residency training. Furthermore, training the Medical Home model is likely to be enhanced by non-clinically based learning experiences.

Guiding Principles of Training

  1. Pediatricians of the future should learn to work collaboratively with other physicians, service providers and families.
  2. Training should be respectful of individual differences in perspectives and personal and professional beliefs and values.
  3. Parents and community service providers should be involved in training future pediatricians.
  4. Full participation, by the residents, in all aspects of the program should be the expectation and the rule. There may be consequences for non-participation.

Program Components

Community Resources: Understanding and Working With Community Based Supports

In this 1 ½ hour session, participants will engage in a discussion focusing on their own experiences with accessing and utilizing community based resources and supports for families and children with disability/chronic illness. Community service providers will present descriptions of and mechanisms for accessing a variety of government and non-government agency based programs. Opportunities, barriers and expectations of physician to refer to and participate in these programs will be explored from the perspectives of families, service providers and physicians. A facilitated discussion will consist of local resource and community support experts.

Moving-On: When Children with Disabilities and/or Chronic Illness Grow Up

In this 1 ½ hour session, participants will engage in a discussion focusing on their own experiences with disability/chronic illness in adolescents and young adults. Discussion will address developmental milestones and transition issues that arise with respect to education, employment, community living, emerging sexuality, health care transitions and autonomy.

Putting It All Together

In this 1 hour session, participants will engage in a discussion focusing on their own experiences during the rotation with respect to the concepts of the medical home model. Particular attention will be paid to the key elements of family-centered care and collaboration. Facilitators will draw upon the resident’s own experiences to help them gain a sense of willingness, confidence and competence in their abilities to continually improve the care they provide



For more information, please contact –

Beth Fondell
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
103 Pattee Hall
150 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612-624-6830
Fax: 612-624-9344