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Dr. Szilagyi on stage

AAP president highlights year of ‘grief, grit, grace’

October 8, 2022

For more coverage of the 2022 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

Speaking at the first in-person National Conference & Exhibition in two years, AAP President Moira A. Szilagyi, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP, called 2022 a year of “grief, grit and grace.”

“ …we sought to find gains in our losses, solve intractable problems and take the lessons learned from the pandemic and our national traumas to protect and promote the health of a generation of children,” she said.

In her remarks Saturday, Dr. Szilagyi focused not only on the care of patients but also on health care providers themselves. She highlighted progress on myriad issues, including health equity, gun violence and mental health.

At the AAP Leadership Conference earlier this year, voting members chose as the No. 1 resolution a measure asking the Academy to support pediatricians who are experiencing stress, threats of violence and/or public attacks and to expedite connections to AAP, peer and/or local resources.

“The challenges and distress of the past 30-plus months have profoundly affected our pediatricians and our pediatric workforce,” Dr. Szilagyi said. “The No. 1 resolution was a cry for help on behalf of our members … a request to support our pediatrician advocates who are experiencing adversity, stress, threats of violence and public attacks. We’ve made supporting and protecting the health and well-being of our pediatricians a strategic priority for 2023.”

The No. 2 resolution called for equitable access to quality health care for patients with public and private insurance.

“This is near and dear to my heart,” Dr. Szilagyi said. “Health insurance, as you know, determines what health care a child does or does not have access to. And, of course, it has to be designed to pay pediatricians and subspecialists for the care we provide.”

Dr. Szilagyi announced the AAP is forming a Medicaid Expert Advisory Panel to help reimagine Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and foundationally change the structure of its programs to improve child health and reduce inequities. The panel will be led by James M. Perrin, M.D., FAAP, AAP past president (2014) and chair of the Committee on Child Health Financing.

Dr. Szilagyi also noted the Academy’s recent partnerships with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health in developing a Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention.

Last month, the Academy received a federal grant of up to $10 million to launch a national center of excellence on social media and mental wellness. The endeavor is one way in which the Academy is advocating for privacy and safety protections to help young people’s mental health, well-being and development as they use social media.

Progress also has been made to reduce gun violence, with President Joe Biden signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act earlier this year.

“The past 32 months have been hard on children and those who care for them,” Dr. Szilagyi said. “It never fails to remind me that pediatricians are the best hope we have for repairing the world’s worst problems. The AAP and its members remain steadfast building on our strong foundation, healing our nation’s grief, celebrating small victories and cherishing those moments of grace along the way.”

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