Forging Ahead in Exceptional Times

Dear WCAAP Members,

I had hoped this communication from me to you all would be filled with optimism and hopeful perspective as we enter this new year. 2020 was challenging and trying in ways I know that I could not have imagined. While we were all aware that our world would not magically transform on January 1, the first week of the year has certainly brought even more fear, division, and uncertainty than I anticipated. However, I am centering myself by focusing on the good work we are doing, the progress we are making, and the exceptional resource we have in our diverse, passionate membership working every day to keep Washington’s children safe and healthy. Thank you for all that you do.

I do want to update you all on what WCAAP is working on. Our Equity Workgroup continues to do astounding work in examining the ways in which our chapter can help achieve health equity and combat racism and bias, both for our patients and in our workplaces and communities. More to come in the next weeks and months. This is an ongoing journey for us but one that we are more committed to than ever. I am incredibly grateful for the workgroup’s time, passion, and expertise.

I am also grateful to have received my second dose of COVID vaccine last week and to see photos and hear stories of you and your staff and colleagues doing the same. Vaccine rollout, while not perfect, feels like a giant step forward in returning to lives filled with hugs, get-togethers, travel, and community. I am also incredibly cognizant that this is yet another area where significant disparities exist both in terms of COVID risk and vaccine hesitancy, and where we must work to ensure equitable outcomes and transparency in process.

This is an exceptional time, but we are an organization filled with exceptional members. We still have much work to do this year – COVID will remain a presence throughout, and we will continue to deal with all the secondary effects as well. Increased behavioral health needs and decreased access to care, missed vaccines and appointments, inequities in academic readiness and access to resources, food insecurity, economic instability, challenges to practices and health care organizations, and social and emotional development of children are just a few of the things on our mind as we enter what is sure to be another enormously complicated year to be in health care. Keep doing the good work you are doing, keep caring for yourselves and your families as best you can, and please keep connecting with each other and with chapter leadership. We want to know how you REALLY are, and what we can do to best serve you.

Our annual Advocacy Day provides an opportunity to connect with your colleagues and your elected officials, and to fight for the children and families we serve. While virtual this year, we already have incredible turnout in registration and are looking forward to seeing so many of you on February 5. No travel to Olympia this year and a shorter day due to the virtual nature makes it even easier to attend! You can register here.

Project Firstline is another ongoing opportunity to connect with WCAAP as we partner with Washington State Nurses Association and the CDC to provide infection prevention information to all Washington State medical providers who care for children. Upcoming calls and registration for Project Firstline can be found here.

Stay safe and healthy, and let us know what else you’d like to see us working on in 2021.