The Academy’s institutional investments will better reflect the organization’s mission, vision and values, under a revised policy approved unanimously by the Board of Directors.
The AAP’s reserve funds and endowments will be invested using socially responsible criteria so that sustainability and social impact are optimized. Investments will include the following criteria: environmental responsibility, social (relationships with employees, suppliers and communities) and governance (leadership), commonly known as ESG, as well as equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). The new policy also adds a specific focus on combating climate change and investments that reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases.
The revised policy approved at the board’s May 20 meeting also adds marijuana to the list of products in which the AAP will not invest. Guns, alcohol and tobacco also are on the list. Bank of America will manage the AAP’s portfolio.
The board also heard updates on AAP child health priorities — COVID-19 response; equity, diversity and inclusion; and mental health.
AAP President Moira A. Szilagyi, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP, opened the meeting by acknowledging the strains on the practice environment due to competing crises.
“… From the earliest days of the pandemic, our pediatric workforce has been under siege — stressed out and stretched thin. Whether it’s counseling on vaccines, supporting families through a mental health emergency or helping frantic parents find formula to feed their infants, please know the AAP and I are here for you.”
The crises and emergencies have taken a toll but also have galvanized the Academy to press forward to address its child health priorities, said AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Mark Del Monte, J.D.
“We see it in our members, we see it in our leaders and we see it in staff that this collective experience has changed the way we do our work and reinforces our commitment to this mission.”
Thanks to key partnerships, the AAP continues to develop resources to help members talk with parents and caregivers about COVID-19 vaccines and childhood immunization in general.
One of the most promising efforts is a collaboration with YouTube to create a vaccine education series (https://bit.ly/3t6U6BF). To date, 20 English and 13 Spanish videos have been distributed through YouTube addressing topics such as how vaccines work and how misinformation spreads.
Under another initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the AAP produces resources to help pediatricians promote confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines. The project includes the following:
- a five-module PediaLink course “Effective COVID-19 Vaccine Conversations,” which is free for members, https://shop.aap.org/effective-covid-19-vaccine-conversations/;
- monthly meetings of teams in 10 states to increase COVID-19 vaccination through partnerships with schools;
- grants to 48 chapters to participate in a vaccine confidence social media ad campaign that has had more than 2 million views;
- a 20-minute webinar called “Fostering a Culture of Vaccination in the Practice” (https://bit.ly/3aFKGqn); and
- CDC grants to four chapters for immunization partnership activities that boost vaccine confidence in communities at risk of under-vaccination.
Equity, diversity, inclusion
The AAP continues to make inroads on its Equity Agenda Workplan (https://bit.ly/3GKqY8n), said Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, chair of the board’s Equity Committee.
The policy statement Eliminating Race-Based Medicine (https://bit.ly/3Mf4gql), co-authored by Dr. Wright, was released during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) meeting in April, garnering widespread recognition in the health care industry and media coverage.
“As we look to the future, the principal task is generational and transformational work activating our elimination of race-based medicine,” Dr. Wright said.
Five AAP-led scholarly sessions on EDI also were presented at the PAS meeting.
To recognize AAP Fellows for excellence in advancing EDI in pediatric medicine, the board approved the AAP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award. Chapters, committees, councils and sections can nominate Fellows who have a significant achievement or career-long commitment to advancing child health equity through advocacy, clinical practice or research, and/or promoting EDI within the profession of pediatrics. The first recipient will be honored at the 2022 National Conference & Exhibition in Anaheim, Calif.
The AAP also launched a national search to hire a chief health equity officer. The new executive-level position will be filled by a physician who will work with AAP leaders and staff to implement the Equity Agenda, with the goal of improving EDI and eliminating systemic and structural racism and other inequities in all aspects of pediatric medicine.
Data show suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24 years. The AAP is addressing the mental health crisis on several fronts.
To help clinicians identify strategies to support youths at risk for suicide, the AAP and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention collaborated with the National Institute of Mental Health to develop the Blueprint for Suicide Prevention (http://aap.org/suicideprevention).
The board also approved executive committee members for the new Council on Healthy Mental and Emotional Development.
The AAP Child Health Improvement through Longitudinal Data (CHILD) Registry continues to take shape.
Pilot sites are validating data, testing content and providing feedback on the registry, which will enable pediatricians and others who care for children to use data to improve child health and well-being. Additional primary care organizations are being invited to join the pilot program.
The board took several actions to establish the registry’s governance. First, it approved the establishment of the CHILD Registry limited liability corporation (LLC) as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Academy. The LLC’s sole member will be the AAP, and it will have its own bylaws and board of directors. An LLC is important for liability protection and to provide dedicated leadership focusing on registry governance.
Finally, the board approved establishment of the CHILD Registry Provisional Registry Data Committee and members recommended by the Governance Committee.
- The board approved the 2022-’23 budget of $130,619,000 of revenue and expenses.
- Nine programs and projects were approved for $523,000 in funding through the Friends of Children Fund and Tomorrow’s Children Endowment for fiscal year 2022-’23.