How Systems Change Arises from Interdisciplinary Learning and Testing: A Brief
Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone (DULCE) is an innovative approach based in the pediatric care setting that proactively addresses social determinants of health, promotes the healthy development of infants, and provides support to their parents, all during the critical first six months of life. This brief highlights some of the local learning, experimentation, and systems change happening at DULCE sites around the country. Drawing from 14 interviews with DULCE team members across three states, the brief provides an on-the-ground snapshot of how DULCE members thought about collaboration, teaching, and effecting structural change in spring 2021. The brief focuses on the early childhood systems partner and the legal partner – the two DULCE team members not from health-related fields.
From the legal trainings to the pilot programs, from communication styles to local advocacy efforts, DULCE is characterized by a spirit of experimentation and flexibility. There is a freedom to adapt to local conditions, and no rigid right way to do things. This flexibility depends on the trust that comes from bringing everyone together around the same table. The structure of DULCE encourages cross-sector collaboration.