Reflections on a Rewarding Journey

Michael Dudas, MD, FAAP
President, WCAAP

This is my last message as President of the Chapter, so I wanted to take an opportunity to reflect on where we have come as a chapter and my experiences over the past two years.

If you have been tracking the work of the chapter closely, you will have observed an organization that has truly transformed itself in terms of its capacity and effectiveness. While our mission and vision have remained constant, our reach and impact have increased dramatically.  I attribute this to two things — our staff and our engaged members. Knowing it would be difficult to achieve our mission without talented staff to operationalize the work, our board members prioritized hiring and supporting the best staff we could. We have been lucky enough to pull together a true Dream Team of staff members ( with Sarah Rafton at the lead. Their hard work and collaboration with our many partners has resulted in incredible successes for child health in both the legislative ( and pediatric care delivery ( arenas. Secondly, the participation of our members has had incredible impact. We are seeing an ever-increasing number of members truly engaged in moving our work forward. We have had record numbers at our annual Advocacy Day, great involvement in our committee meetings, wonderful turn-out at our conferences and listening sessions, and an increasing number of individuals donating financially to us. This involvement, I think, really reflects that the work we are doing is the right work for children and pediatric health providers in our state.

On a personal level, I feel truly lucky to have been in this role. While I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, the experiences I’ve had, relationships I’ve built, and level of professional fulfillment have exceeded any ideas I had for what it would be like to serve in this capacity. Two summers ago, I was fortunate enough to hear an excellent speaker from Colorado talk about physician burn-out and wellness and recognized many of the symptoms in myself. He zeroed in three things to increase wellness and reduce burn-out. These include self-directedness (self-care, recalling our values and goals), cooperativeness (activities outside our career, altruism, charity), and self-transcendence (connecting with something higher than ourselves). My work with the chapter has connected me to all three of these things and provided me an invigorated sense of fulfillment and wellness in my professional life. I strongly urge you to consider becoming more engaged with the chapter activities as well if you find that you need something more in your professional lives or if you just find the mission and work meaningful.

Starting in July, the Chapter is fortunate to be in the very capable hands of our new President, Rupin Thakkar and Vice-President, Elizabeth Meade. They will partner with Sarah, her team, and the rest of the board to continue the incredibly important work we are doing on behalf of our state’s children. Thank you in advance for supporting them and joining them in this effort.