AAP Pediatric Leaders: The Annual Leadership Forum

AAP Pediatric Leaders: The Annual Leadership Forum

What happens when you put pediatric leaders from across the country, with multiple different priorities, projects, and viewpoints in a hotel conference center for 3 ½ days? You get an incredible and passionate sharing of knowledge, stories, challenges and successes, all aimed at doing what is good for children and pediatricians. Such was my recent experience at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Annual Leadership Forum (ALF) in Chicago, March 12th-15th, which I had the privilege of attending t as the President of the Pennsylvania Chapter.

Every year the AAP brings leaders of the academy together to review and discuss ideas that have been proposed by AAP members for presentation to the board of directors. The board then has the responsibility to respond to the top 10 resolutions. Any AAP member who has an idea, suggestion, or passion that they believe should be brought to the attention of leadership can write a resolution for action by the academy. The ALF process is about presenting those member-driven ideas to the entire leadership to invite discussion. The leaders then vote on whether they agree the resolution should be adopted. All passed resolutions are forwarded to the appropriate committees within the academy for commentary, response, and action, if appropriate. If you are interested in 2014’s top 10 resolutions, there is a summary article available that you can read. Look for a future blog about the 2015 results.

The conference includes opportunities to network with colleagues across the country, learn about initiatives, and gain new skills to collaborate with community stakeholders, understand unique regional challenges, and improve advocacy efforts. Many of our fellow pediatricians you read about in the news or see on TV get assistance from the talented staff at the Department of Communications. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on use of social media to improve advocacy. Are you a #tweetiatrician? Join us in our efforts to spread good information about health issues for children and advocacy through our social media efforts.

I also had the opportunity to spend time with Sandy Hassink, an incredible and accessible person who is President of the Academy, and David Nichols, the CEO of the American Board of Pediatrics. As part of a select group, I had the chance to discuss the Maintenance of Certification process with them. There is hope for improving the process. We learned that later this spring any pediatrician who is part of a practice that has achieved NCQA Medical Home certification can use the PCMH recognition for MOC Part 4 credits.

[su_note note_color=”#eeeeee” radius=”4″ class=”bordered”]

Photo Gallery from Sue’s Excellent AAP Adventure

[su_spacer size=”10″]

[su_carousel source=”media: 5875,5876,5874,5873,5872,5871,5870,5869,5868,5867,5866,5865,5864,5863″ link=”image” width=”500″ height=”80″ items=”5″ scroll=”3″ title=”no” pages=”no” mousewheel=”no” autoplay=”4100″ speed=”1900″]


In a conversation with Bob Hall from Federal Affairs, he was optimistic about recent advocacy efforts. He expects CHIP funding will be extended and is hopeful that we might also see Medicaid payments increased. In discussions about dissemination of accurate information as the measles outbreak spread, Mark Del Monte filled us in on how the Academy leveraged social media, including key hashtags and a twitterstorm. It was also great to spend time with Gail Schonfeld and Christoph Diasio, leaders from the Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM), and my personal friends. The section was recognized for innovative efforts to offer scholarships to young physicians at the National Conference and Exhibition (NCE) as well as increasing membership to the practice managers section (PPMA.)

Educational sessions, networking, resolution processing and working meals left me inspired and exhausted. I had the opportunity to speak with Ricardo Fontanet, President of the Puerto Rico Chapter about unique struggles they are experiencing including vaccine financing and lack of payment for well care according to Bright Futures guidelines. Friends and leaders from District III (do you know your AAP district?) discussed our local efforts to remove/repeal/prevent philosophical and religious vaccine exemptions.

The resolutions we discussed and voted on included diverse topics such as addressing pediatrician burnout, improving flu vaccine delivery to pediatric office, and providing all AAP patient information in Spanish and low literacy simultaneously with English handouts. I was the author of Resolution #54: Use of Telehealth to Extend the Pediatric Medical Home. It urges the Academy to educate members, establish best practices, and advocate for payment to incorporate appropriate telehealth visits into our practices.

For me personally, some of the most energizing experiences were those that I shared with the Section on Young Physicians (SOYP) and the Section on Medical Students, Residents and Fellowship Trainees (SOMSRFT). These young pediatricians are innovative, excited and organized! Take a look at the FACE Poverty initiative. Sign up to mentor a young physician. I guarantee you will learn as much from them as they do from you.

If you have great ideas for a resolution or want to be more involved with the AAP, let me know how I can help. It’s time to get involved and to influence your future!