Samantha Rosman, MD was most recently a pediatric emergency medicine physician with Rwanda Human Resources for Health, Kigali, Rwanda, and a pediatric emergency medicine attending physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Rosman is dedicated to fighting for justice in healthcare, and seeks to make an impact in public health and health policy. As a Board Member of the AMA, she helped to steer their focus to patient access to high quality care. She was a co-founder and Chair of CoSMO, the Columbia Student Medical Outreach Primary Care Center, a medical home for a large population in Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. Her goal is to succeed in advocating for systemic change and she believes the fellowship experience would give her the tools she needs. Dr. Rosman received her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY in 2004 and completed her pediatric residency in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in 2007.
Samantha Rosman, MD, MPH
Attending Physician, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
The Impact of Early Childhood Education on Health Outcomes
The primary goal of this project was to develop an issue brief for Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health’s Education and Health Initiative reviewing the existing literature on the impact of early childhood education on health outcomes. The secondary goal was to perform a stakeholder analysis to inform issue framing and future advocacy efforts.
Americans with better education live healthier and longer lives. At age 25 those with a college degree will live a decade longer than their peers with a high school diploma. We see the less-educated suffering from chronic diseases and dying at higher rates than the more educated even when adjusted for intelligence, income, socioeconomic status (SES) and other background factors. Poor children start school at a significant disadvantage. Based on early math and reading skills, behavior and health measures, only 48% of poor children are school-ready at age five compared to 75% of their peers from moderate or high-income households. Children who start school ready to learn are more successful throughout their school careers, are less likely to drop out, and more likely earn more and achieve middle class status as adults.
A review of the medical and educational literature was performed to analyze the health outcomes of a wide range of early childhood interventions. Direct interviews with key stakeholders were conducted with: city councilors, state early childhood education commission leaders, community and parent organizations and business leaders.
There is significant data documenting the impact of early childhood education programs on educational and health outcomes. Early childhood education improves school readiness and IQ as well as improves future performance and graduation rates. Health outcomes include decreased child and adult obesity, decreased rates of depression, substance abuse and teen pregnancy, and substantially reduced cardiac risk factors. The stakeholder interviews revealed two main themes: 1) lack of awareness of health impacts of early childhood education across a broad array of stakeholders, 2) importance of focus on early childhood education quality since types and quality of programs vary considerably.
It is our goal that this analysis of the impact of health outcomes of early childhood education can serve as a powerful advocacy tool. We hope to develop a robust advocacy strategy to broaden access to early childhood education across the country. We believe there are several critical policies that must be put in place to ensure the future health and success of our nation’s children. These include: 1.) Support high-quality infant, toddler and preschool education and childcare for all children, especially those most at risk. 2.) Ensure all early childhood programs are of high quality and contain the necessary components to ensure performance and health outcomes 3.) Provide parenting support and education to all families 4.) Support home-visiting programs and parental support groups especially for at-risk families.
Amber Haley, MPH,
VCU Center on Society and Health
Steven Woolfe, MD, MPH,
Director, VCU Center on Society and Health