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2019 AAP Election Guide :

July 25, 2019

Voting for AAP president-elect and national officers will take place from Sept. 7-21. All terms begin Jan. 1, 2020. Voting will be conducted online only. Watch for an email message that contains your personalized link to the election ballot (no additional ballot login information will be required).

Members will choose their next president-elect: Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, or Pamela K. Shaw, M.D., FAAP. The winner will serve as AAP president in 2021.

Voters also will elect district officers in six of 10 districts: district chairpersons (who serve as AAP board members), district vice chairpersons (who assist and support the district chairperson when needed) and National Nominating Committee representatives (who nominate two candidates for president-elect).

Also on the ballot are individuals vying for three new at-large board member seats representing pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists and at-large Fellows or specialty Fellows.

For questions about election procedures, contact Katie Friedman at or 630-626-6296.

All members are urged to vote.

President-elect candidates discuss how AAP can support pediatric experts

The AAP president-elect candidates were asked: How can the AAP support and promote the position of pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists as the experts providing care to children in the changing landscape of health care delivery?

Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP

Washington, D.C.

As health care evolves, pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical subspecialists must lead the way as child health experts. The unique expertise we bring is critical for quality health care system design and delivery, and we need to be prepared to use this expertise to influence change. In this evolving landscape, to ensure decisions are made in the best interest of children’s health, the AAP should develop and support its members to be “at the table” when and where these decisions are being made. As the old saying goes, “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu.”

As president, I will work with the AAP to encourage greater involvement of its members including:

  • Advocacy and leadership development for members at all stages of their career, to ensure we have the skills and relationships needed to make our voices heard in a proactive way.
  • Education focusing on health care policy, financing and system reform, including regular and enduring education — such as webinars and podcasts — for members looking to build their knowledge and skills.
  • Member support to address the concern that this participation takes time and often requires daytime availability. When possible, stipends and/or access to virtual meeting technology should be made available so opportunities are more accessible to a broader range of members.

By supporting our members to engage at all levels of health care policy and delivery, including local, state and federal, together we can work towards systems which promote the highest quality care for children and families.

Pamela K. Shaw, M.D., FAAP

Kansas City, Kan.

Children are not little adults. As pediatricians, we are specially trained to care for young people at every developmental stage while simultaneously addressing the surrounding forces that shape them. We know the value of pediatrics and the medical home that we practice in. We need to use this language confidently with patients, payers, institutions and fellow members of the health care team. We do more than give shots and check growth charts. We are charged with caring for the physical, mental and emotional health of the whole child. The AAP must promote the ability of the pediatric medical home to provide the continuity and guidance that parents need.

Trends in pediatric visits are changing. Research shows that pediatricians are still the preferred providers for children. We are seeing children for more visits for health maintenance and chronic disease management, but fewer sick visits.

Are there fewer sick visits because of vaccinations and better care at home? These questions could be addressed with a data registry, which is part of an AAP plan to gather data on children’s overall health. This registry will benefit generalists and subspecialists with outcomes data to target and provide better care. From preventive health to neurosurgery, the registry will provide practical data to create evidence-based answers. With data, we can prove the value of pediatrics to our families and multiple other stakeholders. We can move into value-based care from a position of strength, showing that the pediatric medical home is what is best for children and adolescents.


Wendy S. Davis, M.D., FAAP

District chairperson candidate

Dr. Davis received an M.D. degree from the University of Virginia, completed pediatric residency and chief residency at Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and a general pediatrics fellowship at Yale. Subsequently, she practiced general pediatrics both at the University of Vermont (ultimately as clinical professor of pediatrics) and in community practice from 1987-2008, directing the Division of General Pediatrics and providing consultation to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH). In 2007, she became director of maternal and child health at VDH, then served as Vermont’s Health Commissioner (2008-’11) and as Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Program chief (2011-’13). In 2013, she returned to UVM’s Vermont Child Health Improvement Program, where she oversees state and national pediatric quality improvement initiatives

Dr. Davis’s experience in AAP leadership began with her service as Vermont Chapter president, strengthening partnerships between child health and public health professionals to improve health care delivery and outcomes, especially for the state’s most vulnerable populations. Nationally, she served as District I National Nominating Committee representative and District I vice chairperson, with liaison roles to the Sections on Pediatric Trainees and Early Career Physicians and the Chapter Forum Management Committee, prior to beginning her current term as District I chairperson and member of the AAP Board of Directors in January 2017.

She continues to leverage insights gained from working with pediatricians and their child health allies, as well as her leadership experience in primary care, academic medicine and public health, to support pediatricians and to advocate and help improve outcomes for children and families.

Position statement

It is a privilege to serve as District I chairperson at this critical juncture in the history of our organization, our country and our globe. I am proud of our efforts to address the many threats to the health of children and families — promoting vaccine delivery (engaging in our first districtwide project to improve HPV vaccine coverage rates), addressing the impact of opioid exposure on patients and caregivers, and advocating for systems that mitigate trauma and protect the health of vulnerable and immigrant children. Hearing about these efforts firsthand at our chapter, district and national meetings, I am grateful for our ability to learn from and leverage each other’s successes for the collective good.

It has been gratifying to serve during a time of such growth in our organization. I began my current term at the time of publication of our Five-Year Strategic Plan,the culmination of a structured process to “clarify key trends shaping the future of pediatric health care” and articulate strategic goals to assure that the AAP remains “strong, healthy and vibrant” over the ensuing five years.

We moved quickly to revise our bylaws and implement key action steps, diversifying representation on the Academy’s Board of Directors beyond geographic districts and facilitating broader access to leadership opportunities with a focus on participation by historically underrepresented member groups at all levels of the Academy. This election cycle we will vote for three new at-large director positions, representing medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists and at-large or specialty fellows.

The reports from the AAP Task Force on Addressing Diversity and Inclusion and Task Force on Bias and Discrimination establish pathways to operationalize the multidimensional activities necessary to embrace and disseminate their recommendations.

I would be honored to continue our collaboration to improve outcomes for children and families by strengthening our capacity to address the psychosocial aspects of pediatric care and moving beyond the important work within our practices to address the social influences on health in our neighborhoods, communities, regions and states in support of our mission to attain optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.


Carolyn T. Cleary, M.D., FAAP

National Nominating Committee candidate

Dr. Cleary is a partner and primary care pediatrician at the Elmwood Pediatric Group in Rochester, N.Y. She attended the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She was a resident and chief resident at the University of Rochester, serving as the AAP resident representative for the program. She has stayed involved in the AAP since that time.

She has been the AAP New York Chapter 1 Pediatric Research in Office Settings representative, the New York (District 2) National Committee on Membership representative, New York Chapter 1 officer and board member (treasurer, vice president, president, immediate past president), and currently serves as New York Chapter 1 Finger Lakes Pediatric Council chair.

She is on the board of Accountable Health Partners (an accountable care organization) and Concordia Healthcare (a super clinically integrated network). She is co-chair for Accountable Health Partners’ Pediatric PCP committee and serves on its Pediatric Work Group committee. She is the consultant to a child care in Rochester, N.Y. She is on the Monroe County Medical Society Quality Collaborative steering committee and has served on the subcommittees for pediatric preventative care guidelines and pediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment guidelines.

Dr. Cleary is married to an internist and has two grown children.


Michelle “Shelley” D. Fiscus, M.D., FAAP

District chairperson candidate

Dr. Fiscus has been engaged in the AAP on the local, state and national levels for more than 20 years. She became active in the Tennessee Chapter (TNAAP) as chair of the Young Physicians’ Committee, planning the chapter’s first conference for young physicians. She has served as vice president, president and immediate past president of the Tennessee Chapter, chair of the chapter’s Nominating Committee, and member and chair of the chapter’s Legislative Committee. She has been heavily involved in legislative affairs on the state level and spent significant time lobbying the Tennessee state legislature on behalf of children.

Dr. Fiscus is co-creator and medical director of the Behavioral Health in Pediatrics (BeHIP) program, a TNAAP initiative focusing on improving the management of behavioral health disorders within primary care.

In 2015, Dr. Fiscus was elected District IV representative to the AAP National Nominating Committee and, in 2018, was elected chair by the committee’s members.

Dr. Fiscus was co-owner of a two-pediatrician practice in Tennessee for 17 years before pursuing a new career in public health. She serves as medical director of the Tennessee Department of Health’s Immunization Program where she oversees administration of the Vaccines for Children program and coordinates clinical response to vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.

Dr. Fiscus graduated from Indiana University and Indiana University School of Medicine, and completed her residency in pediatrics at the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis.

Position statement

As my District IV friend Dr. Debbie Greenhouse and I like to say, “I drank the AAP Kool-Aid” long ago. I was wooed easily. As an early career physician, Dr. Quentin Humberd, then-president of the Tennessee Chapter, told me the chapter needed me and gave me a task. That was all it took. I’ve been hooked ever since. So many of us who have become engaged with AAP tell similar stories — someone in leadership, somewhere along the way, encouraged us to grow with the Academy.

Since then, I have served in the First World and in the Third World, in private practice and now, in state public health. I have owned a small independent practice, weathering the challenges of diminishing insurance payments, small business ownership, electronic health record purchases (and re-purchases), vaccine-hesitant parents, competition from retail-based clinics, expansion of scope of practice and escalating costs. Like many, I eventually fell victim to burnout and left practice. I’m not ashamed to say I succumbed to the mental, physical and financial hardships of today’s primary care practice.

My emergence from that difficult time allowed me to find new energy in state public health and an ability to empathize with and advise colleagues who are facing similar situations. My involvement in the Academy certainly contributed to my resiliency. It’s critically important that those in Academy leadership truly understand the challenges that are faced by its members so that the organization may best support and protect those who are called serve the world’s children.

Over the past decade, I have had opportunities to serve the AAP and, more importantly, the children and pediatricians this amazing organization has been charged to protect. The Academy has provided me with invaluable training and experiences. It has stretched me beyond my natural boundaries and has challenged me more than anything else I have encountered. It would be an honor to continue to serve the Academy, its members and our children as District IV chair as we work together to ensure that the futures of our children, as well as those of the physicians who serve them, are protected.

Robert “Bob” C. Gunther, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP

District chairperson candidate

Dr. Gunther is a general pediatrician/pediatric hospitalist. He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, after working in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where he practiced general pediatrics for the past 30 years. During that time, the practice grew from two providers to 10 providers. He is a pediatric hospitalist in a community hospital in Virginia. He has been involved with international medical mission work over many years and recently completed his second West African pediatric mission with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

Dr. Gunther completed his medical school training at Pennsylvania State University, residency training at University of Kentucky and his master of public health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He has clinical faculty appointments in pediatrics at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

He has served in a number of roles with the Academy, including the Council on School Health and presently is District IV vice chair. He has worked in many roles at the chapter level, including president of the Virginia Chapter. He is a strong advocate for children, including past service on the Virginia Healthy Youth Foundation, which works to reduce youth tobacco use and obesity.

Dr. Gunther has served his community in a variety of capacities, including school board chair, school health advisory board, parks and recreation commission, and soccer coach. He has served his church as a deacon and elder. He enjoys time with his family, including his wife, three grown children and their families.

Position statement

It is an honor and privilege to be nominated for the position of AAP District IV chairperson. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as district vice chair (DVC) for two terms. This position has prepared me to serve as district chair.

During my time as DVC, I traveled around the district and come to know many of you and appreciate what you are doing whether you are a generalist, specialist, community or hospital-based, training, early-career or more seasoned pediatrician. Wherever you are serving, there are challenges but also rewards.  

 Pediatric practice has become more complicated no matter what the setting. There are new forms of insurance payment, increasing standardization of practice, different employment settings and the ongoing challenge of the electronic medical record. We are confronted by societal issues of immigration, legalization of marijuana and a new plague of nicotine addiction foisted upon our youth by the tobacco industry in the form of e-cigarettes. The controversy around issues of gun safety and mental health access continue. Even evidence-based care such as immunizations creates conflict. For those in the trenches providing day-to-day care, it has become more challenging to find joy in the work.

The Academy serves as a focal point for the pediatrician and for child health. The Academy provides education for the child health team and for our families. It provides a trusted voice for children on critical issues related to child health. In short, the Academy is the “go to” source for quality information on issues around infant, child and adolescent health. It is well-recognized by government, media, parents and pediatricians as the place for credible information.

The Academy provides hope and a solid foundation for child health care and advocacy based on the best available evidence. We must continue to lead, continue to educate and continue to serve. The hallmarks of our leadership are kindness, justice, inclusion, equity and compassion for one another and for those we serve. Our leadership will help support a child health system that provides quality, accessible, high-value care, while maintaining joy in pediatric practice.

Patricia “Pat” M. Purcell, M.D., M.B.A., FAAP

District vice chairperson candidate

Dr. Purcell is a general pediatrician in private practice, delivering care to children and families for more than 20 years in her hometown of Louisville, Ky. She joined East Louisville Pediatrics after residency, beginning her career as a partner of the practice. She received her B.A. degree from Otterbein University and her M.D.  degree from Medical College of Ohio. Additionally, she earned her M.B.A. degree in 2018 from Indiana’s distinguished Kelley School of Business.

Dr. Purcell maintains a part-time clinical practice and devotes additional time to numerous professional activities. She also serves as an assistant clinical professor gratis at the University of Louisville Medical School and actively participates in teaching rotating residents and medical students.

She is president of the AAP Kentucky Chapter and has completed terms for both secretary/treasurer and vice president. During her tenure as president, the chapter has garnered two AAP Chapter Awards of Excellence. She continues to develop and lead chapter initiatives, including curbing e-cigarette use by partnering with the AAP Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence and the parent/caregiver driven organization, Operation Parent.

Additionally, Dr. Purcell has championed work on substance abuse prevention, collaborating with the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Disabilities. Nationally, she maintains membership in the AAP Sections on Breastfeeding and Telehealth Care.

Dr. Purcell has two children and two grandchildren and enjoys running and cooking as hobbies.

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