Five new board members, including three newly established at-large positions, took their seats at the January Board of Directors meeting where the AAP’s Equity Agenda was a common theme.
New at-large members
The addition of the three seats brings the number of board members to 17 (including the executive committee and the CEO). The at-large positions were added in response to a 2017-’18 strategic plan goal, which called for the AAP board to broaden pathways to leadership for medical subspecialists and surgical specialists. The new at-large board members include:
- Constance S. Houck, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, pediatric anesthesiology, of Boston,
- Charles G. Macias, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, pediatric emergency medicine of Cleveland, representing pediatric medical specialists; and
- Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, pediatric emergency medicine, of Upper Marlboro, Md.
They joined newly elected Michelle “Shelley” D. Fiscus, M.D., FAAP, District IV, and Gary W. Floyd, M.D., FAAP, District VII.
“Our new members have joined an active and high-performing board. We are already seeing the richness of the addition of their voices and perspective,” said AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Mark Del Monte, J.D. “The addition of this new expertise is informing the AAP’s work in important ways.”
Equity a priority
The AAP Equity Agenda continues to take shape, with numerous AAP initiatives underway or in the planning stages.
The Board Committee on Equity, which oversees implementation of recommendations from the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination, held its inaugural meeting. The group established the following short-term goals:
- Prioritize equity initiatives for implementation.
- Discuss methods to operationalize and evaluate/measure success.
- Explore opportunities to engage members.
- Review foundational documents and identify any additional areas of focus.
“We have some terrific foundational documents that are a large part of what led to the establishment of this committee,” said District I Chair Wendy S. Davis, M.D., FAAP, who chairs the Committee on Equity.
In addition, the Pediatric Leadership Initiative has committed to selecting its leadership advisory group in the context of diversity, equity and inclusion, and the Board Committee on Policy addressed incorporating health equity on policy intent forms.
“We are delighted the Board Policy Committee is already on the path of being intentional on how they’re incorporating equity into their work,” Dr. Davis said.
In a related action, the board approved full section status for the Provisional Section on Minority Health, Equity and Inclusion.
Six vendors responded to a nonbinding request for proposal to create a registry called Child Health Improvement through Longitudinal Data (CHILD). A vendor would help collect de-identified data from electronic health records and with registry security.
An incubator group of expert members has been advising the AAP in investigating options for a registry and ranked the vendor applications. The top ranked vendors will be requested to give further presentation to the incubator group and AAP leadership. The board will make a final decision regarding the registry in May.
Power of play amplified
In September 2018, the AAP published a revised clinical report The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children. To help amplify that message, the Academy has formed an alliance with a company whose mission reflects the policy’s intent.
“We have a unique opportunity to align with a company that shares our values around the power of play and children,” said Del Monte, about the multi-year agreement with the Melissa & Doug toy company. Under the arrangement, Melissa & Doug may use the Academy’s name in relationship with messaging on the power of play on toy package inserts.
“They have been such an enthusiastic promoter of the power of play,” he said. “Melissa & Doug’s reach through retail stores and online to share messages about the power of play far exceeds anything the AAP could ever do, even with all of the tools we have.
“We’re thrilled about the opportunity to disseminate our message in new and novel ways,” Del Monte added.
The Board approved 19 programs and projects to receive a total of $1,052,253 in funding from the Friends of Children Fund and Tomorrow’s Children Endowment.