Charting a Course for the Coming Year

Rupin Thakkar, MD, FAAP
President, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

The chapter has been an important part of my professional life since I moved to Seattle to start residency – I am honored and thrilled to start my term as chapter president. For thirteen years, I have enjoyed participating in an evolution of the chapter. We have grown in our membership numbers and staff size. But more importantly, our membership is more engaged than ever, and our staff works tirelessly on our behalf. The strength of our chapter lies in our strong community of members, which includes general pediatrician and subspecialists, doctors practicing in large systems and in small practices, and providers at various stages in their career.  Together we support each other’s professional development while also prioritizing making Washington’s kids healthier and safer.

Legislative advocacy is an enduring strength of our chapter.  Legislators truly look to us as the voice for child wellness, and recognize that our advocacy for improved reimbursements and simplified regulations ensures expanded access and allows pediatricians to keep up with the demands of our profession.

In recent years, we have also supported pediatricians’ professional development with provider trainings in developmental screening, office-based mental health care, population health initiatives, addressing vaccine hesitancy, quality improvement, medical home certification, and transitioning to value based payment.  The chapter has also created more networking opportunities, such as the regional listening sessions.

This past weekend the chapter Board gathered for our annual retreat to chart a course for the upcoming year.  We agreed on our legislative agenda which will prioritize improving access to physical and behavioral health care for kids on Medicaid and promoting legislation that keeps kids safe from preventable injuries and harmful chemicals.  We charted next steps in our healthcare transformation initiative.  Further, we strategized ways to maintain the financial health and membership growth of the chapter.  We believe these priorities for the coming year continue to reflect our membership’s passion for and dedication to advocating for Washington’s children, their families, and their pediatricians.