Got a minute? Then you’ve got time to advocate for kids.
Find out how during a plenary session titled “Fitting Advocacy Work Into Real Life” (P5070) from 10:30-10:50 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 in the Great Hall of the convention center. The session will be presented by Elizabeth Meade, M.D., FAAP, who will share advocacy success stories of everyday pediatricians who work full time and have full lives.
“When I talk to people who are not actively participating in advocacy work … the biggest barriers that I hear about are number one is always time and number two is people not really knowing what the most effective ways to advocate are or where to get started,” said Dr. Meade, chief of pediatrics and director of medical communications at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. “I think those are actually barriers that are pretty easy to address.”
Dr. Meade has been advocating for children since her residency at University of California, Los Angeles. Through her involvement in the national AAP and the Washington Chapter, advocacy work became a major focus professionally.
“Our chapter does really incredible work, and so I was lucky enough to see firsthand how people who were working in full-time positions like myself were also able to fit in some meaningful advocacy work,” said Dr. Meade, who is chapter president.
One of the chapter’s biggest victories this year, she said, was getting a law passed that eliminates philosophical and personal belief exemptions from school requirements for measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
During the plenary, Dr. Meade will give examples not only of legislative victories but also how pediatricians can work with schools, communities and health care systems to get children the services they need.
When pediatricians question whether they have the time or the know-how for advocacy work, Dr. Meade tells them this: “Every child needs an advocate and not every child has a parent or family member that can be that advocate. Every pediatrician truly has time to do meaningful advocacy work. Again, even if it’s only five minutes, that voice really does make a difference.”
She also likes to remind pediatricians that they are experts in child health, and they have clinical experience that no legislator or community leader has.
“My hope is that people who leave this plenary session will go home and within the next week be able to find concrete ways that they can start their advocacy work,” Dr. Meade said.