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Trust in Academy strengthens its voice against challenges :

October 26, 2019

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

Trust in the American Academy of Pediatrics and in pediatricians has strengthened the organization’s voice in standing up against numerous challenges to child health this year, said AAP President Kyle E. Yasuda, M.D., FAAP, during the President’s Address Saturday.

Measles resurgence, vaping-related lung illness, a decrease in the number of children with health coverage, thousands of children dying of firearm-related injuries and media narratives questioning the science behind abusive head trauma are among the troubling cultural and political forces that threaten child health. In spite of these challenges, he pointed out, the Academy made inroads on numerous fronts in support of pediatricians and children:

  • Legislation to protect Medicaid was passed.
  • Lawmakers were convinced to change policies harming immigrant children.
  • AAP representatives met with some of the largest payers in the country to address prior authorization, value-based payment and telemedicine use in the medical home.
  • Reclined infant sleepers were removed from the market.
  • An AAP Equity Agenda was established to embed the values of diversity and inclusion into the organization and child health.
  • To lead the Academy into a new era, Mark Del Monte, J.D., was named CEO.
  • To reduce administrative burdens for clinicians and improve patient care, relationships have been built across medicine.

Two forces threaten to undo this tremendous progress, Dr. Yasuda said. “Those forces are a diminished trust in government and institutions, and a rising sense of individualism that emphasizes personal autonomy over public health.”

The Academy took on these forces, building relationships to advance child health. For example:

  • AAP leadership reached out to Google, Facebook and Pinterest to help keep misinformation regarding immunization off their platforms.
  • The AAP Gun Safety and Injury Prevention Initiative hosted a summit of 100 experts to work together to help solve the gun violence epidemic. Also, a House funding bill, supported by the AAP, was passed, providing $50 million to study gun violence prevention.
  • In the face of the vaping epidemic, the Academy advocated for policies to ban flavored e-cigarettes.
  • A media campaign is being rolled out to correct misinformation about child abuse, particularly abusive head trauma.
  • The AAP joined the American Heart Association and others to submit an amicus brief on behalf of Juliana v. the United States, the “climate kids lawsuit,” which holds the government accountable for its role in creating a dangerous climate system. The AAP also joined 70 other medical and public health organizations to put forth a climate agenda for policymakers and government officials.

Building trust and relationships is what the Academy does so well, Dr. Yasuda said.

“That is what makes us a leading national voice. … And binds us together as an organization.”

For more coverage of the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit http://bit.ly/AAPNationalConference19.

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