Board Retreat Reflections: 2023

Beth Ebel, MD, FAAP, MsC, MPH, WCAAP Board President

The WCAAP Board of Trustees retreat wrapped up in Lake Chelan in September after two full days of working together, surrounded by the Eastern Washington late summer fruit harvest and beautiful weather, with wildfire smoke holding off until the end. Over 30 pediatric providers and our extraordinary WCAAP staff spent the weekend planning for the upcoming year and laid the groundwork to develop a new WCAAP Strategic Plan. We were joined again this year by Shayla Collins, a parent representative, who added her perspective on how WCAAP can strengthen partnerships with parents, families, and caregivers.

The rigorous and engaging process was led by Julie Raymond, the Senior Director of Chapter, District, and Member for the American Academy of Pediatrics. WCAAP Board members identified three strategic priority areas:

1. Advance the Health of Children, Teens and Families. This area identified WCAAP advocacy priorities to support policies so that Washington kids and families get off to a healthy start. We focused on innovative policies to improve behavioral and mental health, supporting childhood immunization and the rollout of new RSV prevention vaccines, and therapies, and evidence-based approaches to preventing gun violence which has become the leading cause of death for children and teens.

2. Advance the Personal and Professional Well-Being of WCAAP Members. Priorities include ongoing support for hard-working pediatric providers to do their jobs, creative approaches to broadening and diversifying member and board engagement, and support for sensible policies to ensure fair compensation for the important work each of you do every day on behalf of kids and families.

3. Strengthen WCAAP Structure and Operations to Fulfill our Mission. The WCAAP Mission is to champion the health and well-being of children, adolescents and families through advocacy, education and partnership. The group focused on critical topics such as sustainable funding models for Chapter, as well as broad considerations of how we can better model goals for equity, diversity and inclusion in every facet of the organization and its work. A practical measure was unanimous commitment to add two family/parents advisors to share their insights with the WCAAP Board. We explored ideas to ensure internal and external partnerships from all areas in the state to strengthen our voices, including strategies to build early career participation, reach out to specialists providing pediatric care, and support diversity at all levels of the organization.

Together we celebrated the accomplishments of the past year and laid the groundwork for our priorities and growth the next three years. WCAAP Committees met together to plan their upcoming priorities and how they integrate into the overall work and mission. Thanks to ALL who shared their weekend for the Annual Retreat, and a particular thanks to Executive Director Sarah Rafton in her eighth year leading the chapter, and the amazing WCAAP staff whose diligence and commitment and planning bring our vision into practical reality.

Looking for ways to add YOUR voice to the WCAAP? Join one of our working committees, or sign up for Advocacy Day on February 12, 2024. Make an annual tax-deductible contribution to support the amazing work of the WCAAP on behalf of kids and families. Encourage others to join! WCAAP has options for all providers who care for children, and we are stronger together.