Noted Experts Speak Out About the Issues Surrounding Child Poverty in the U.S.

Academic Pediatrics tackles this complex topic and offers a robust guide for pediatricians, educators, advocates, and policy makers

Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 2016

One in five children in the U.S. lives below the federal poverty level (FPL) and nearly half of children in America are classified as poor or near poor. Childhood poverty creates long-lasting, often permanent, physiologic changes through constant exposure to threats such as malnutrition, acute and chronic disease, toxic stress, social deprivation, and lack of opportunity. Because poor children and families are generally forced to cluster in specific neighborhoods, these changes also produce the higher crime rates, lower education levels, worse job prospects, and vicious cycles of intergenerational poverty that destroy entire communities. In order to contextualize the problem and propose possible solutions, a new supplement to Academic Pediatrics is entirely devoted to examining child poverty in America.

This Academic Pediatrics supplement provides in-depth insights and is part of a strategic plan to increase awareness and education. “This is a state-of-the-art compilation on the entire scope of childhood poverty in the U.S.,” explained Peter Szilagyi, MD, MPH, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, and Editor-in-Chief of Academic Pediatrics. “We hope it will inform the response of pediatricians, educators, advocates, and policy makers to this critical issue facing children and our country today.”

Bringing together groundbreaking work by leading pediatric researchers, child advocates, social scientists, economists, and public health experts, the supplement focuses on four primary areas:

  • Child Poverty: An Attack on Our Nation’s Human Capital addresses how child poverty affects cognitive growth and negatively influences health outcomes, with an emphasis on the mechanisms that attack children early on and stay with them through adulthood.
  • Who Is Poor: The Definition and Measurement of Poverty focuses on what it means to be poor, examines the statistics and methodology used in classifying poverty, and looks at how issues of poverty extend even to children and families living above the federal poverty level.
  • International Child Poverty Levels and Interventions: A Comparison to the U.S. examines America’s place among the developed nations of the world and the effectiveness of programs and interventions used abroad to combat child poverty.
  • Child Poverty Interventions in the U.S.: Reducing Child Poverty and Ameliorating the Impact of Poverty on Child Health and Well-being looks at what the U.S. is currently doing to reduce child poverty and to lower its impact on adverse physical and mental health outcomes.

Ultimately the authors who have contributed to the supplement hope that the information it contains will help doctors, public health officials, and policy leaders at local, state, and national levels better understand all the facets of childhood poverty, enabling them to more efficiently tackle the problem.

“Children remain the poorest members of our society even in good times, with rates that are unacceptably high for a developed nation,” stated guest editor Benard Dreyer, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, NYU School of Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Center. “We hope that this synthesis will empower pediatricians and other pediatric health providers, local and national leaders who are striving to improve the lives and outcomes of children and families, and policy-makers and change-agents to use your agency and activism to address this critical issue.”


Notes for editors

Academic Pediatrics, Volume 16, Issue 3, Supplement 1 (April 2016), published by Elsevier.
Guest Editors: Benard Dreyer, MD; Paul J. Chung, MD MS; Shale Wong, MD
This supplement was made possible through the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is openly available at

Table of contents

  • ‘Child Poverty in the United States Today: Introduction and Executive Summary’, by Benard Dreyer, Paul J. Chung, Peter Szilagyi, and Shale Wong
  • ‘Ending Childhood Poverty in America’, by Marian Wright Edelman
  • ‘High US Child Poverty: Explanations and Solutions’, by Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • ‘How Can We Reduce Child Poverty and Support Parental Employment?’, by Janet Currie
  • ‘Poverty, Complexity, and a New Way Forward’, by Neal Halfon
  • ‘The Work for Our Generation: Reimagining Communities of Opportunities for All’, by Michael McAfee and Jessica Pizarek Murray
  • ‘The Cost of Poverty and the Value of Hope’, by Kristin B. Schubert and James S. Marks
  • ‘Poverty is Not Just an Indicator: The Relationship Between Income, Poverty, and Child Well-Being’, by Ajay Chaudry and Christopher Wimer
  • ‘Poverty, Stress, and Brain Development: New Directions for Prevention and Intervention’, by Clancy Blair and C. Cybele Raver
  • ‘Child Poverty and the Promise of Human Capacity: Childhood as a Foundation for Healthy Aging’, by Paul H. Wise
  • ‘Child Poverty: Definition and Measurement’, by Kathleen S. Short
  • ‘Beyond Income Poverty: Measuring Disadvantage in Terms of Material Hardship and Health’, by Kathryn M. Neckerman, Irwin Garfinkel, Julien O. Teitler, Jane Waldfogel, and Christopher Wimer
  • ‘Trends in Child Poverty Using an Improved Measure of Poverty’, by Christopher Wimer, JaeHyun Nam, Jane Waldfogel, and Liana Fox
  • ‘Addressing Child Poverty: How Does the United States Compare With Other Nations?’, by Timothy Smeeding and Céline Thévenot
  • ‘Child Poverty: The United Kingdom Experience’, by Jane G. Mansour and Megan A. Curran
  • ‘Child Poverty and the Health Care System’, by Andrew D. Racine
  • ‘Boosting Low-Income Children’s Opportunities to Succeed Through Direct Income Support’, by Arloc Sherman, Brandon DeBot, and Chye-Ching Huang
  • ‘The Role of Public Health Insurance in Reducing Child Poverty’, by Laura R. Wherry, Genevieve M. Kenney, and Benjamin D. Sommers
  • ‘Home Visiting: A Service Strategy to Reduce Poverty and Mitigate Its Consequences’, by Cynthia S. Minkovitz, Kay M. G. O’Neill, and Anne K. Duggan
  • ‘Mitigating the Effects of Family Poverty on Early Child Development through Parenting Interventions in Primary Care’, by Carolyn Brockmeyer Cates, Adriana Weisleder, and Alan L. Mendelsohn
  • ‘Reforming Preschools and Schools’, by Greg J. Duncan, Katherine Magnuson, and Richard J. Murnane
  • ‘Neighborhood-Level Interventions to Improve Childhood Opportunity and Lift Children Out of Poverty’, by Megan Sandel, Elena Faugno, Angela Mingo, Jessie Cannon, Kymberly Byrd, Dolores Acevedo Garcia, Sheena Colliner, Elizabeth McClure, and Renée Boynton Jarrett
  • ‘Redesigning Health Care Practices to Address Childhood Poverty’, by Arthur H. Fierman, Andrew F. Beck, Esther K. Chung, Megan M. Tschudy, Tumaini R. Coker, Kamila B. Mistry, Benjamin Siegel, Lisa J. Chamberlain, Kathleen Conroy, Steven G. Federico, Patricia J. Flanagan, Arvin Garg, Benjamin A. Gitterman, Aimee M. Grace, Rachel S. Gross, Michael K. Hole, Perri Klass, Colleen Kraft, Alice Kuo, Gena Lewis, Katherine S. Lobach, Dayna Long, Christine T. Ma, Mary Messito, Dipesh Navsaria, Kimberley R. Northrip, Cynthia Osman, Matthew D. Sadof, Adam B. Schickedanz, and Joanne Cox
  • ‘An Essential Role for Pediatricians: Becoming Child Poverty Change Agents for a Lifetime’, by Katie Plax, Jeanine Donnelly, Steven G. Federico, Leonard Brock, and Jeffrey M. Kaczorowski
  • ‘Childhood Poverty and Its Effect on Health and Well-being: Enhancing Training for Learners Across the Medical Education Continuum’, by Lisa J. Chamberlain, Elizabeth R. Hanson, Perri Klass, Adam Schickedanz, Ambica Nakhasi, Michelle M. Barnes, Susan Berger, Rhea W. Boyd, Benard P. Dreyer, Dodi Meyer, Dipesh Navsaria, Sheela Rao, and Melissa Klein

Full text of these articles is openly available at or contact Eileen Leahy at 732-238-3628, to obtain copies. To schedule interviews with the editors or authors please contact Benard Dreyer, MD, at 212-263-0788 (office), 917-658-2583 (mobile) or

About Academic Pediatrics
Academic Pediatrics, the official journal of the Academic Pediatric Association, is a peer-reviewed publication whose purpose is to strengthen the research and educational base of academic general pediatrics. The journal provides leadership in pediatric education, research, patient care, and advocacy. Content areas include pediatric education, emergency medicine, injury, abuse, behavioral pediatrics, holistic medicine, child health services, and health policy and the environment. The journal provides an active forum for the presentation of pediatric educational research in diverse settings, involving medical students, residents, fellows, and practicing professionals. The journal also emphasizes important research relating to the quality of child health care, health care policy, and the organization of child health services. It includes systematic reviews of primary care interventions and important methodology papers to aid research in child health and education.

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Media contact
Eileen Leahy
+1 732 238 3628