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Board update: Year 1 work plan set for AAP Equity Agenda :

November 20, 2020

The AAP debuted its Equity Agenda during the fall Board of Directors meeting, moving the Academy closer to achieving its goal of being an equitable, diverse and inclusive organization.

Expansion of the five-year Strategic Plan and revisions to the campaign rules and election calendar also were adopted during the Oct. 23 meeting.

AAP President Sara “Sally” H. Goza, M.D., FAAP, presided over her final Board meeting — and second virtual meeting. Acknowledging the difficult year and unrelenting challenges to members, Dr. Goza remarked, “I am concerned about the health and wellness of you, my colleagues, as we continue in these times of crisis and uncertainty, with little relief and significant stress on ourselves and our own families.

“I am so proud of the resolve and resilience you have shown. And I want you to know the Academy is here for you. … Please remember to take care of yourself, while you’re taking care of your patients, families … And don’t hesitate to reach out for support when you need it.”

AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Mark Del Monte, J.D., later said there is growing concern about the “strain our members are under trying to take care of children and families in this environment.”

The AAP continues to evaluate its wellness initiatives and explore multifaceted aspects of wellness, such as financial and mental health.

Equity Agenda moves forward

The Equity Agenda Year One Work Plan, which was accepted by the Board, is expected to guide efforts to achieve health equity and actualize the Academy’s goal of becoming an equitable, diverse and inclusive organization. It is “intended to pervade every corner of the Academy… broaden our reach and improve collaboration across many organizations that can help us in our work,” said Board member Wendy S. Davis, M.D., FAAP, chair of the AAP Equity Committee.

The plan’s five domains, built on 10 guiding principles, are:

  • Internal process: Implement organizational change necessary to eliminate racism and promote equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Education: Equip members with knowledge and skills to address equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Workforce and leadership:Strengthen and diversify the pipeline to pediatrics and AAP leadership.
  • Clinical practice: Equip members with the knowledge, skills and capacity to advance health equity and combat racism through clinical practice.
  • Policy and advocacy:Advance the AAP Equity Agenda through advocacy and policy development.

The work plan caps a year marked by several noteworthy equity, diversity and inclusion activities, including publication of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Transformation policy statementfrom the Board of Directors apologizing for the Academy’s past racism and the addition of anti-discrimination language to the AAP bylaws.

“The work is just beginning, but we’ll take this plan and continue moving with the rapid pace and critical work that this topic demands,” Dr. Davis said.

Committees/councils/sectionslanguage added to strategic plan

The Board reaffirmed the AAP Five-Year Strategic Plan and voted to approve the addition of a sixth goal: Continuously improve AAP member activities in education, advocacy and policy by strengthening the structure and function of committees, councils and sections

Goal 6 objectives include:

  • Encourage diversity and inclusion of all kinds among committee, council and section members and promote diversity and inclusion in leadership roles within the AAP.
  • Align entities to support optimal collaboration.
  • Improve the linkage and communication between AAP policymaking entities and the Board of Directors.
  • Improve members’ knowledge of the structure and operations of committees, councils and sections, and opportunities for leadership and engagement.
  • Optimize committee, council and section operations and integration with routine evaluation and oversight.

Implementation steps for Goal 6 are under development.

Election changes

The Board approved significant revisions to AAP election communications, which are intended to promote equal access to candidate information, improve transparency and reduce the burden on candidates to reach voters.

Under new election rules, the National Nominating Committee and staff will coordinate opportunities for president-elect and at-large candidates to engage with members and to promote their candidacy including on Activities prohibited effective with the 2021 elections include personal websites to promote a member’s candidacy and the promotion of national and district candidates via any email list (with or without the use of AAP title). However, candidates for district office will have fair and equal access to chapter and district email lists at the discretion of the chapter and district leadership. Also, all-member emails will be facilitated by AAP staff on behalf of the president-elect and at-large candidates and limited to one per month.

Also changing is the election timeline, which will be shortened from about eight months to four months. Campaigning will begin in May and conclude with voting, which opens at the end of August. 

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