A to Z’s of Early Childhood

The Science of Child Development and Learning

M is for Medical Home

Developing a Medical Home

A medical home is an approach to pediatric care that involves ongoing collaboration and trusting partnerships among the family and a child’s health care providers1 This approach provides continuous care to address a child’s medical needs. A child’s medical home is usually centered in a pediatrician’s office. It is made up of a team that includes the child and family, primary care physicians, office staff, specialists, and public health service professionals2. When using this team approach, primary care is accessible, comprehensive, and compassionate for all children3.

Strategies for Developing a Medical Home

Here are four strategies for ongoing collaboration and trusting partnerships within a medical home.

Strategy 1. Form a family-led partnership.

  • Develop a trusting partnership between a child’s family and health care providers who respect the family’s culture and diversity (e.g., share details about the child’s health, strengths, and needs). 
  • Establish communication methods preferred by the family (e.g., online, in person, print).
  • Prioritize the family’s schedule and individual needs to coordinate care. For example, consider family’s work schedule or additional supports that might be needed to attend appointments (e.g., transportation or coordination across multiple care systems for children with special health care needs).

Strategy 2. Implement coordinated care services.

  • Work together as a team to implement a personalized care plan with the family, physician, and other service providers.
  • Listen to and respond to each member of the care team to ensure a comprehensive approach to medical care for the child.
  • Connect parents and caregivers with each other to form a circle of support through sharing experiences and resources found within each family’s medical home.

Strategy 3. Continue ongoing, collaborative care.

  • Make sure each member of the team knows and understands the child’s medical history, including medical events in between visits (e.g., an urgent care visit).
  • Organize communication, collaboration, and transitions among pediatric providers or specialists with a focus on supporting the child and family while navigating medical systems of care.

What We Are Doing

The Anita Zucker Center and our collaborators work to advance practices that support coordinated care for all children. 

Learn more:

  • Healthy Kids Medical Legal Partnership
    The Healthy Kids Medical Legal Partnership (MLP), a collaboration between UF physicians and the Southern Legal Council (SLC), works to expand access for children with barriers related to early health care and education. MLP partners with the Anita Zucker Center to place non-legal education issues of children from birth to age 5 with faculty supervising graduate students to consult, educate, and assist families seeking early intervention, special education, or early care and education services or supports.

Other Resources

Resources and Tools for Parents


Articles by Center Members and Other Collaborators

  • Knapp, C., Woodworth, L., Fernandez-Baca, D., Baron-Lee, J., Thompson, L., & Hinojosa, M. (2013). Factors associated with a patient-centered medical home among children with behavioral health conditions. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 17(9), 1658-1664. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-012-1179-4


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. (n.d.). Medical home. https://www.aap.org/en/practice-management/medical-home
  2. Kash, B., Tan, D., Tittle, K, & Tomaszewski, L. (2016). The pediatric medical home: What do evidence-based models look like? The American Journal of Accountable Care, 4(2), 34-40. https://www.ajmc.com/journals/ajac/2016/2016-vol4-n2/the-pediatric-medical-home-what-do-evidence-based-models-look-like
  3. America Academy of Pediatrics. (2022). What is medical home? https://www.aap.org/en/practice-management/medical-home/medical-home-overview/what-is-medical-home/

Receive Additional Support

The complete 3R’s of Early Learning downloadable video recordings (including the A to Z’s of Early Childhood) for use in the field of childhood development to facilitate learning are available for purchase.

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