Michelle Heng, MD, FAAP
The thing that attracted me to Pediatrics in the first place was the melding of interesting medicine with child advocacy. No other discipline seemed to have that important advocacy piece build into its DNA so completely. However, the reality of the day-to-day care of patients can leave little time or energy for advocacy work. I’ve been a member of the WCAAP for years but it wasn’t until I attended my first WCAAP Advocacy Day in 2017 that I realized the power of this organization. While I could snatch some time here or there to do advocacy work on behalf of my patients, the WCAAP had people working on it constantly. My membership was allowing me to be part of that effort.
At the same time I was having this revelation, things were changing in my work life. Group Health Cooperative was being acquired by Kaiser Permanente and my Medical Group was excited to be part of the larger Kaiser Family. Being a member of WCAAP and partaking in and supporting its work on behalf of the children of Washington State seemed to match perfectly with the Kaiser Permanente commitment to the health of the entire community. So around this time, my colleague John Dunn and I started meeting with WCAAP representatives to find out how we could promote WCAAP membership amongst our pediatric colleagues at Kaiser Permanente. A proposal was made to streamline WCAAP enrollment for our Pediatric group and after a presentation by Sarah Rafton and Dr. Steve Reville at our Quarterly Pediatric Meeting, my colleagues voted overwhelmingly to become the first large Pediatric Group in the state to have 100% participation in WCAAP. Our yearly membership renewal will be automatic going forward and with this new awareness of everything our dues are supporting, I anticipate there will be a lot of enthusiasm from my KP colleagues to take a more active role in WCAAP.
Editor’s note: If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Group Membership with the WCAAP, please contact executive director Sarah Rafton.