Doctor Gets Law Degree to Advocate for Children

Some of us might consider doctors heroes for what they do on the job every day to save lives, but some doctors keep that commitment going in their free time, too.

Dr. Jeffrey Colvin is one of them. For the Stormont-Vail Pediatric Hospital, caring for kids goes beyond the hospital.

As a student in Baltimore, he saw his teachers’ frustration in making changes to help inner city patients. He says they could find out what was wrong, but couldn't get anything done about it.

In trying to find solutions, Colvin found attorneys, and decided to get that legal training himself. He says, to him, being a lawyer means having a tool bag full of tools to help people.

Colvin brings the medical and legal aspects of the puzzle together through his work in Topeka. His contract with Stormont-Vail is actually structured to allow time to do child advocacy work. Some of it is centered at the Family Resource Center, 400 SW Oakley. Colvin calls it every doctor's dream. He says it's a place with answers to issues doctors are often the first to encounter. For instance, it might be a handicapped child with no health insurance, a teenage mother having problems staying in school while caring for a child, or a child with bad asthma who is living in sub-standard conditions. In fact, screenings show half of babies in Shawnee County are born into at least one risk factor, like poverty, drugs or illness.

Colvin says it take more than doctors and lawyer to make a difference. He says every parent is a child advocate.

Helping parents be that advocate is his passion. He says when you really want to improve the lives of children, it means getting outside of the box you live in, the box you work in, and trying to find the root causes of what harms children and going after those causes.

If you need help from the Family Resource Center, contact them at 357-4763. You can also check out their web site, www.scfrc.com.


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