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Chapters Views and News: Connecting with early career physicians a priority for chapters :

January 19, 2016

Chapter leaders recognize the importance of engaging with early career physicians and their role in chapters’ sustainability, according to the 2015 Chapter Needs Assessment.

The annual survey, designed to evaluate chapter services and determine leadership needs, described how chapter presidents and executive directors involve early career physicians. Engagement strategies include creating official roles on the chapter’s executive committee or board, establishing committees for this group of physicians, encouraging participation in child health committees and organizing legislative events.

The Texas Chapter, for example, offers a reduced dues rate to early career physicians post-residency as a retention strategy, maintains a voting position for an early career physician on its board and includes co-chair positions on its committees to foster leadership opportunities for young physicians. The chapter also holds an annual Advocacy Day to teach medical students, residents and early career physicians how to advocate for pediatric issues at the state Capitol.

Residency program collaboration

As part of broader initiatives to engage early career physicians, most chapters begin by connecting with residency programs.

Nine out of 10 chapters have some type of relationship with residency programs in their state. Similar to Texas, 61% of chapters encourage resident participation in Advocacy Days, while 57% collaborate with residency programs on community or advocacy initiatives. The same number involve residency programs on chapter executive boards, but only 24% designate an official position for residency program representatives.

Over half of chapters (55%) offer advocacy training to residents. Currently, 32% of chapters provide career path information to graduating residents, highlighting the opportunity for more chapters to offer practical guidance to residents.

Other strategies include waiving chapter membership dues for residents, inviting residents to grand rounds and presenting recognition awards for resident contributions.

Successes and challenges

Dr. SchechtmanDr. SchechtmanThe Florida Chapter is among a handful of chapters that experienced success with novel concepts to promote participation among residents and young physicians.“In 2015, the Florida Chapter hosted its first annual Brain Bowl for pediatric residents — a ‘Jeopardy!’-like competition amongst the state's residency programs,” said chapter President Tommy J. Schechtman, M.D., FAAP. “It was incredible to have all of the state’s nine pediatric programs come together to participate in a healthy competition. The event also afforded a wonderful opportunity for the residents to interface with our chapter's pediatricians.”

This year, the chapter will host the 2nd annual Brain Bowl, Dr. Schechtman said, and will include a research forum for residents at the annual meeting.

The Tennessee Chapter engages residents by offering a benefit that fulfills a professional requirement.


“We invite residency program representatives to participate in meetings of the chapter’s board of directors, encourage resident participation in Advocacy Days and collaborate with programs on advocacy initiatives,” said Ruth Allen, chapter executive director. “We are also bringing our chapter’s quality improvement initiatives into residency programs, including offering Maintenance of Certification.”

The Hawaii Chapter designates an early career physician to serve as a liaison between residents and the chapter.

Dr. HamiltonDr. Hamilton“This individual attends board meetings and helps keep residents engaged,” said chapter President R. Michael Hamilton, M.D., FAAP. “At our annual chapter meeting, we also host a session for interns and residents to communicate value about the national AAP and chapter.”

Despite these successes, some chapters have reached out to residency programs without receiving a response. Other challenges include keeping early career physicians as members after residency and demonstrating chapter value on an ongoing basis.

Highlights of chapters’ engagement initiatives with early career physicians will be published in the 2016 Annual Report Compendium, providing best practices and additional strategies to connect with this membership group.

For more information, contact Betsey Siska, in the AAP Division of Chapter and District Relations, at 800-433-9016, ext. 7860, or email at

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