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President-elect candidates discuss how they would support AAP Equity Agenda

June 1, 2021

Editor’s note:To learn more about the candidates and election rules, visit www.aap.org/election (login required). Voting will take place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8. The winner will serve as AAP president in 2023. 

The AAP has developed an Equity Agenda. Describe your experience with the development and/or implementation of equity initiatives within your community, practice or institution and how you would support furthering the AAP Equity Agenda.

Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP

Cheverly, Md.

I am honored to have served as chair of the AAP Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination (TFOABD). In May 2019, on behalf of the task force, I presented a series of societally focused recommendations to the Board of Directors (BOD). Taken together with an earlier set of recommendations developed by the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, the work of the TFOABD has formed the foundational basis for the AAP Equity Agenda.

As a member of the BOD Committee on Equity, I have been able to contribute to execution of the Equity Agenda’s Year One Workplan. Further, with unanimous support of the full BOD, I was proud to lead authorship of the statement Truth, Reconciliation and Transformation: Continuing on the Path to Equity published last summer in Pediatrics.

In terms of continuing medical education, I served on the planning committee of the 2020 Pediatrics for the 21st Century program “Fighting Racism to Advance Child Health Equity.” The content of this course has been recently made available via the PediaLink platform to all at no cost.

In addition to Academy-based work, as sitting co-chair of the Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity of the American Pediatric Society (APS), I was able to spearhead a series of commentaries, “The APS Racism Series: At the Intersection of Equity, Science and Social Justice,” published November 2020 in Pediatric Research.

Commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion has been central to all aspects of my personal and professional journey and will remain authentically so.

Sandy L. Chung, M.D., FAAP 

Fairfax, Va.

As immigrants to this country, my parents struggled. We lived in a trailer park, then low-income housing, eventually moving to the suburbs. We were the first Asian family in our community. I was the first Asian in my elementary school. Unfortunately, I experienced bullying and racism firsthand.

My parents stressed education as the key to a better life. My siblings and I did well in school, earning advanced degrees.

In the U.S., this pathway to success is often challenging. Barriers for some are solid walls for others.

Equity of opportunity, equity of care and equity of access are my core beliefs. This is exemplified throughout my career.

  • Together with passionate child advocates, I founded a $7.5 million statewide program providing equitable access to mental health care.
  • As chapter president, I worked with others to significantly expand our board diversity by creating new pathways of participation.
  • I added a chapter diversity and inclusion champion, providing us a constant equity perspective.
  • With equity as a priority, our chapter successfully advocated for Medicaid expansion, better care for immigrant children separated from their families, improved care for foster children and expanded free meals programs.
  • Identifying access issues, I initiated mobile van services in my practice providing care to families at home.

As your president-elect, I will bring my lived experiences, both personal and professional, as we unite to carry out the AAP Equity Agenda ensuring that we honor and respect our diversity while providing optimal care for all children.

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