Pediatric Leaders: Who are We?

Pediatric Leaders: Who are We?

As it happens every year, I returned from the annual American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition (unofficially the “NCE”) energized and in awe. For those of you who have never attended, I encourage you to bookmark next year’s conference being held in Washington, DC from October 24-27th. There is always something valuable for every attendee, and when it’s in the nation’s capitol, there will be a special emphasis on advocacy.

You may wonder how AAP advocacy affects you in your daily practice. There are teams of great AAP staffers and many pediatrician members who are advocating for you at the national level to extend the Medicaid payment parity for an additional two years. CHIP funding runs out in October 2015. Do you take care of kids on CHIP? If you do, then this should matter to you. Your colleagues and AAP’s talented staff (many of whom have advanced degrees including public health or health administration) are fighting hard to get CHIP funding extended. They are also working to guide policy on protecting immigrant children, keeping children safe from gun violence, and guiding national responses to children and disasters.

But I digress. The NCE has many lectures which discuss optimal management of hypertension and bronchiolitis. There are discussions on how to code properly, how to open your own practice, how to incorporate PAs/NPs into your practice, and how to navigate the arena of clinical quality improvement. It features national and international experts on subjects that affect the lives and health of children. This year, Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the AAP’s early literacy toolkit. There are meetings for many of the sections and councils of the AAP; from the Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care and the Council on Clinical Information Technology to the Sections on Senior Members and one of my favorites–the Section on Young Physicians.

What always amazes me is the power of the passion that is ubiquitous at the NCE. You meet international attendees who are trying to bring AAP practice guidelines to third world countries and energetic young pediatricians who are part of the Section on Medical Students, Residents and Fellowship Trainees (SOMSRFT) who have their own advocacy campaign PAVE (Pediatricians Against Violence Everywhere). There are colleagues from small practices trying to make sure they are using the latest evidence-based guidelines, and thought leaders who are trying to stay one step ahead of the changes in the business of healthcare for the betterment of pediatricians and their patients.

The first few conferences I attended, I thought to myself, “who are all these amazing pediatricians and where do they get their energy?” Then I started to ask questions and got to know them and realized they are no different than any of you reading this blog. They are folks who are passionate about something related to pediatrics. Whether it’s reaching the underserved, caring for those who have unique needs and diagnoses, advocating for adequate payment for the care we deliver, or advancing quality and technology, they are your colleagues– they are YOU! What makes a great leader in pediatrics? Someone who cares enough to speak up, collaborate with like-minded pediatricians, and carry that passion beyond the exam room to a larger platform. I would argue we are all leaders. So, I am posing a challenge to all of my colleagues: find a way to take your passion and share it with others to affect change. Who are the pediatric leaders? Each of us. Get involved. Make a difference.

For the past several years, I have presented at the AAP NCE. I look forward to sharing ideas and enjoy the interaction with my colleagues.