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President-elect candidates share strategies to promote diversity, inclusion at AAP :

August 23, 2019
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Editor's note: Voting for AAP president-elect and national officers will take place from Sept. 7-21.

What specific strategies would you utilize to support and promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of the AAP?

Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP

Washington, D.C.

Promotion of diversity and inclusion is essential work for any organization in order to stay innovative and relevant. For true success, we must all come together towards this goal. The AAP can ensure we have the skills and support needed so that every member has an opportunity to create meaningful change.

Education: We are stronger when we are inclusive of different experiences and viewpoints, while also recognizing our own biases and how they may impede true progress. I will increase organization-wide education on implicit bias and racism, with a particular emphasis on building the skills of our leaders and making resources available online to our members.

Leadership:I will encourage transparent and equitable practices for leadership recruitment and development. It is important for us to reach outside of our networks, partnering with our fellow pediatric organizations, in order to support greater inclusion of a broad range of perspectives.

Accountability: Consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and the Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination, I will ensure that oversight and accountability for these efforts lie explicitly with the Board of Directors, are driven by metrics and have dedicated expert support.

Intent does not always equal impact. Ultimately, to have the greatest impact on child health, we must strive to have a workforce and leaders who reflect the growing diversity of the children and families we serve. Creating systems of accountability and shared learning is an important next step towards coming together to create lasting change.

Pamela K. Shaw, M.D., FAAP

Kansas City, Kan.

Embracing the importance of diversity goes deeper than checking boxes. Inclusion and belonging are core values for pediatricians and the AAP. Learning to view health through an equity lens starts by acknowledging that not everyone has equal opportunity, which leads to pervasive disparities that begin before birth.

Addressing this issue starts within — examining implicit bias within ourselves, our organization and health systems. Once recognized, we need to challenge our biases by intentionally moving out of our comfort zones, seeking out diverse perspectives and listening with openness and cultural humility. This process is painful, but it’s critical for change.

To be effective allies, we must examine how systems reinforce marginalization and address this issue in partnership with affected communities. The Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination began this initiative, which I would help implement and build on by:

  • Establishing a Member Value and Engagement subcommittee specifically charged with accountability for diversity.
  • Incorporating education on health equity, bias and discrimination into the AAP’s continuing medical education, staff training and initiatives.
  • Collaborating with families to effectively screen for, identify, manage and prevent the negative effects of bias.
  • Investigating and addressing current child health policy gaps related to bias and discrimination.
  • Changing practice by improving the ability of all pediatricians to appreciate how symptoms, clinical problems, diseases and attitudes toward patients, populations and health systems are influenced by upstream social determinants of health.

We need to increase the diversity of pediatricians to reflect the patients we care for and encourage them through representation. If they see it, they can be it.

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