Cincinnati Children’s provides residents with unparalleled training in nearly every aspect of pediatric care. For residents wanting even more specialized experience, the Residency Training Program offers concentrations in several areas of focus.

As an associate director in the Residency Training Program, Melissa Klein, MD, wants to ensure that residents interested in primary care careers get in-depth learning, including how to be advocates for patients from underserved populations.

Klein, who is also a physician in Cincinnati Children’s Pediatric Primary Care Center, oversees the primary care track, where she provides residents with focused education, experiential learning and opportunities to advocate for patients from underserved populations.

“To train great pediatricians in both primary and subspecialty care,” says Klein, “our goal in the primary care track is to have a curriculum that’s focused on what pediatricians in primary care need to learn, whether they go into a community practice or an academic setting.”

An HRSA award last July expanded the primary care track to accommodate seven new residents each year. Residents spend one month each year in a continuity clinic site. They have the opportunity to work in a variety of subspecialty practices. And they are encouraged to pursue an advocacy, quality improvement or research project related to primary care, focusing on underserved populations.

Current projects include identifying barriers to sources of healthy nutrition for low-income families and identifying families’ use of technology and social media for health needs; a past project to identify and help “food insecure” families continues to this day.

“The idea is to conduct research that helps us understand what our patients need, so we can design more appropriate interventions,” says Klein.