Introduction to the Curriculum

Pediatric Preventive Care

familyWell-child visits – whether covered under private insurance, performed by a Title V program, or provided as part of Medicaid’s EPSDT benefits – present unparalleled opportunities to identify health risks, intervene early, and promote healthy outcomes. The standards for preventive care should be the same for all children, whether in public or private health settings. Yet, for many children, this is not the reality.

Analysis of preventive care data from large national or multi-state studies during the past decade indicate that less than half of the children received developmental or psychosocial surveillance, less than half of those at risk for lead exposure were screened, and less than half of the teens at risk for Chlamydia were tested.1

Although Medicaid-eligible children may be at particular risk, disparities between recommendations and realities in pediatric practice exist across all populations. A number of factors contribute to such disparities; three factors, in particular, helped form the framework for this curriculum:2

  • What health providers do
  • How they document what they do
  • Parental values and behaviors

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1 Chung PJ, Lee TC, Morrison JL, et al. 2006. Preventive care for children in the United States: Quality and barriers. Annual Review of Public Health 27:491-515.
Abstract available at

2 U.S. General Accounting Office. July 13, 2001. Medicaid: Stronger Efforts Needed to Ensure Children's Access to Healthy Screening Services. Appendix IV: Comments from the State of New York Department of Health. GAO-01-749. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
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