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.

A care provider uses a stethoscope on a baby sitting in the lap of a caregiver.

Strategies for Developing a Medical Home

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

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.



  • Evaluate whether child, medical, and family-related services are developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive. 
  • Confirm that all recommended medical evaluations and services support the child’s health, well-being, and development.
  • Consider medical costs to the family and timeliness of care (e.g., increasing weekly services may reduce dependence on medications).

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.

Articles by Center Members and Collaborators

Other Resources

Resources and Tools for Parents



  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, National Resource Center for Patient/Family-Centered Medical Home (2020). Building your medical home: An introduction to pediatric primary care transformation. Retrieved from https://medicalhomes.aap.org/Pages/default.aspx
  2. Kash, B., Tan, D., Tittle, 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.
  3. America Academy of Pediatrics. (2020). Medical home. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/professional-resources/practice-transformation/medicalhome/Pages/home.aspx

Dedicated to supporting the well-being of young children and their families, the Anita Zucker Center has engaged with its partners to launch an ambitious initiative designed to provide accessible and practical information about child development and learning to support parents, caregivers, professionals and policymakers.

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