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Looking back and forward: AAP leads the way for child health

June 29, 2018

Summer is underway, and so are our district meetings. This is a great opportunity to connect with members from each chapter to celebrate your achievements and address our challenges. I am interested in your perspective on the future of pediatrics, the Academy and how best to lead child health forward.

Because of you, the AAP remains the national leader in child health. Here are examples of the progress we’ve made at a national level in the 2017-’18 fiscal year:

  • We are creating a Child Health Data Registry that will allow us to collect and analyze data for every child in the U.S. regarding health, disease, wellness and development — from birth to age 21. This unprecedented initiative has the potential to improve health services research and the practice of pediatrics and help millions of children and families.
  • Our Digital Transformation Initiative is improving the way members navigate and access information on and ensuring the information you access on our digital platforms is the best and latest available.
  • We have expanded our commitment to health equity by establishing a task force to address bias and discrimination. Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, is overseeing six work groups that will prepare pediatricians to help families identify, manage and prevent adverse physical and emotional outcomes while promoting health equity.
  • In a related effort, our Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion delivered its final report which ensures that allof our AAP members will feel welcome and that our leadership reflects the strength and diversity of our membership.
  • To pursue our strategic priority of Physician Health and Wellness, we are partnering with other medical professional groups through the National Academy of Medicine to identify elements of our work environments, learning environments and general culture of medicine that adversely affect clinician wellness and well-being. We are developing the Women’s Wellness through Equity and Leadership program to equip female physicians of all ages with the skills they need to take leadership roles in their hospitals, health plans or health systems.
  • We successfully advocated to get key federal child health priorities, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program; Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; and the Family First Prevention Services Act, funded through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
  • We announced our Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Research Initiative that will define and fund research to evaluate and implement effective interventions in clinics and communities to protect the health — and lives — of children.
  • We are taking on child health threats like the national opioid epidemic, electronic nicotine delivery systems and marijuana among youths and young adults. We expose the dangers and lend the voice of science and reason to a national debate that will have lasting impact on the health and life trajectory of America’s children.

Many organizations talk about changing the world, but few have the talent, resources and expertise to make it happen. The Academy has an abundance of all three.

Our Strategic Plan and Agenda for Children continue to set our direction. Our Blueprint for Children maps out what we must ask our lawmakers to do to improve the lives of children and build a healthier future.

With clarity of purpose and a strong sense of mission, we move ahead with full confidence. Our course is the right one, and I’m honored to continue this journey with you. 

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