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Candidates outline how they would advance AAP Strategic Plan :

September 6, 2019
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Editor's note: Voting for AAP president-elect and national officers will take place from Sept. 7-21. Go to http://www.aap.org/election to cast a ballot.

The AAP Strategic Plan (http://bit.ly/AAPstrategicplan) and its core goals build on organizational strengths to ensure its continued leadership championing U.S. children’s health and well-being. As president what would your focus be to advance the strategic plan?

Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP

Washington, D.C.

The AAP is a thriving organization that is a leading voice for child health. The Strategic Plan builds on our activities in education and advocacy and enriches member value through promoting pediatric practice support, improving communications and strengthening chapter relations. To advance this plan, I will work with our leaders, members and partners to build on the AAP’s strengths and create enduring structures to support the areas where we need to grow and improve.

First, I will ensure that together we continue to influence child health policy decisions at the state and federal level. The AAP is a leader in advancing policies that support child health, amplifying the efforts of all our members who advocate tirelessly on behalf of children and families. I will work to accelerate this momentum, building on existing efforts to educate and mobilize our members and the public.

I will also promote diversity and inclusion within the AAP through a focus on systemic changes that foster diversity in membership and leadership — accelerating existing efforts, promoting new ones and cultivating an inclusive environment in which a wide range of voices are sought and valued. I will partner with other pediatric organizations, identify key metrics and implement structures to provide oversight to our diversity and inclusion efforts, ensuring that our impact matches our intent — that all of our members have a meaningful voice in the future of pediatrics and the AAP. Our organization is made stronger by these varied perspectives, allowing us to grow, evolve and become even more effective.

Lastly, recognizing that administrative burden is the leading contributor to burnout, I will prioritize identifying and supporting systems-based approaches to promote physician well-being. Pediatricians are facing unprecedented pressures and challenges, leading to increased levels of stress and job dissatisfaction. To better support our members, we must more effectively identify and disseminate best practices and advocate for changes that improve care and decrease administrative and regulatory burdens.

By both speaking up for children and families and supporting our members, together — as the American Academy of Pediatrics — we will make a difference in the lives of our patients, families and colleagues.

Pamela K. Shaw, M.D., FAAP

Kansas City, Kan.

I view the AAP’s Strategic Plan as a dynamic document, one that we must continuously revisit, re-evaluate and use to inform our progress. While all of the plan’s topics are important, I intend to focus on advancing key issues to which I am deeply committed.

The practice of pediatrics has evolved. Whereas infectious diseases were once our dominant focus, we now see more mental health issues and chronic disease. Pediatricians must continue to underscore the link between childhood experiences and health outcomes in adulthood. The first issue I would address as president is the science of adverse childhood events (ACEs) and the toxic stress that our patients and families face every day. The times we are living in are creating future morbidity, especially for those who are marginalized and victimized. I would lead implementation of the roadmap to cut childhood poverty in half, since poverty and inequity are significant contributors to ACEs.

Second, I will focus on expansion and strategic application of technology, including social media, to enhance evidence-based education of the public and disseminate timely, important information to our member pediatricians. The anti-vaccination movement has been strategic and unrelenting in their use of social media to spread misinformation. We must be equally prepared to counter these tactics by providing our membership with the tools and education to combat misinformation and continue to provide the high-quality care we are trained to do.

Finally, I plan to take an active role in improving physician wellness. The term “moral injury” better describes physician burnout. We must help our membership learn the skill of being highly empathetic, yet emotionally resilient enough to remain whole and healthy as we navigate the difficult, changing realities of practice. I believe that part of the solution lies in mentoring and leadership training. It is the personal relationships that we make that will help us become stronger to care for the health and welfare of all children.

I would be honored to share my experience, knowledge and passion to address these issues as AAP president.

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