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24.12.2018 | Review Open Access

It takes a village: a realist synthesis of social pediatrics program

International Journal of Public Health
Ingrid Tyler, Judith Lynam, Patricia O’Campo, Heather Manson, Meghan Lynch, Behnoosh Dashti, Nicole Turner, Andrea Feller, Elizabeth Lee Ford-Jones, Sue Makin, Christine Loock
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To better understand how social pediatric initiatives (SPIs) enact equitable, integrated, embedded approaches with high-needs children and families while facilitating proportionate distribution of health resources.


The realist review method incorporated the following steps: (1) identifying the review question, (2) formulating the initial theory, (3) searching for primary studies, (4) selecting and appraising study quality, (5) synthesizing relevant data and (6) refining the theory.


Our analysis identified four consistent patterns of care that may be effective in social pediatrics: (1) horizontal partnerships based on willingness to share status and power; (2) bridged trust initiated through previously established third party relationships; (3) knowledge support increasing providers’ confidence and skills for engaging community; and (4) increasing vulnerable families’ self-reliance through empowerment strategies.


This research is unique because it focused on “how” outcomes are achieved and offers insight into the knowledge, skills and philosophical orientation clinicians need to effectively deliver care in SPIs. Research insights offer guidance for organizational leaders with a mandate to address child and youth health inequities and may be applicable to other health initiatives.

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