By Margaret G. Parker, Arvin Garg, Margaret A. McConnell, JAMA Pediatrics, September 14, 2020
Two in 5 children are poor or nearly poor, and childhood poverty is a key social determinant of heath that is associated with negative health and developmental outcomes across the life course. In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a policy statement on child poverty and health, emphasizing the importance of addressing poverty-related risk factors in the delivery of pediatric care.1
Many pediatric practices have now begun to rapidly implement innovative care models to address unmet social needs as part of primary care delivery. However, screening for poverty-related risk factors among hospitalized, medically vulnerable populations remains uncommon. Addressing poverty at the earliest stages of life, such as during hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), has the potential to help one of the most vulnerable pediatric populations, low-income premature infants, and to substantially alter their lifelong health trajectory.