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Interactive session to focus on how and why to negotiate effectively :

July 9, 2019

Editor's note:The 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Oct. 25-29 in New Orleans.

You steel yourself for the negotiation process when buying a new car. You put on your poker face when bartering at a flea market. But when it comes to negotiating a raise or for more resources for your practice, you back down.

There are many barriers to negotiation, acknowledged Nancy D. Spector, M.D., FAAP, professor of pediatrics; executive director of Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine; and associate dean of faculty development at Drexel University College of Medicine. But, she added, “It really is a skill that can be taught and should be practiced.”

Pediatricians will get a chance to learn how to negotiate effectively and practice some techniques during an interactive session led by Dr. Spector and Theodore C. Sectish, M.D., FAAP. Titled “Negotiation in Practice: Why and How Pediatricians Should Ask” (I3232), the session will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 in room 295 of the convention center.

“We want pediatricians of all levels and types to be better at negotiating because it does come up quite a lot,” said Dr. Sectish, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; vice chair of education, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital; and program director of Boston Combined Residency Program, Boston Children’s Hospital.

Drs. Sectish and Spector will begin with a brief lecture and then will turn attendees loose to work in pairs or small groups.

“One of the things we want to do is articulate what the struggles are for people, and particularly for women in negotiating, and then create strategies to overcome those barriers and also to give an opportunity to practice the skill,” Dr. Spector said.

“The more they can practice in a safe space, the more confident they’ll feel at the conclusion of the session to go on and try it,” she added.

Over the years, Dr. Sectish has made three career moves. Each time, he negotiated not only salary and benefits, but also for time to do community or advocacy work, space and resources.

Pediatricians shouldn’t view negotiating as advocating for themselves, he said. “You’re negotiating for something that’s going to give you a professional advantage and enhance the likelihood that you are going to do good in the world.”

Added Dr. Spector: “This is just one of the many skills in leadership development that are really important to take the time to focus on. … We all should be students of leadership and continually work on all of these skills, so that we operate the best practices we can, provide the best care, advance our field and advocate for children who really don’t have a voice.”

For more coverage of the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

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