New Grant Opportunity to Boost Well-Child Visits and Immunizations in Pediatric Primary Care

As part of our joint project with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Keeping Kids Connected to Care During COVID-19 and Beyond, we have been ringing the alarm bell about the troubling declines in well-child visits and immunizations because of the pandemic. Pediatricians and child health advocates have teamed up to educate and engage community members about the importance of continuing to seek regular pediatric care and catching up on any missed visits and immunizations quickly and safely. Thankfully, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced a new grant opportunity, P4 Challenge: Innovations in Pediatric Primary Care to Improve Child Health, that could further boost these efforts.

The P4 Challenge aims to encourage innovate approaches to increase the number of well-child visits and vaccines and reduce disparities between pediatric subpopulations. This new opportunity comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to report alarming declines in vaccination coverage that could leave young children and communities vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. Pediatric outpatient care has also declined during the pandemic, and it has been slower to rebound than outpatient visits for adult populations. Well-child visits are an important part of primary and preventive care that include vaccine administration and documentation plus developmental screenings, monitoring and treatment of physical and mental health conditions, and personalized guidance on overall child and family health.

Primary care providers serving children, provider organizations, Head Start programs, health educators, MCOs, immunization coalitions, schools and others are invited to form collaborative teams and submit a concept paper outlining an innovative solution to increase access to and utilization of well-child visits and/or immunizations in their local community. We at CCF are excited about this project and look forward to learning about the most effective strategies to improve pediatric primary care and reduce health disparities.

Concept papers for phase 1 funding must be submitted between January 19 and March 15, 2021. Interested parties should register here for the January 15 webinar to learn more.

Kelly Whitener is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families.