Wei-Jen Hsieh, MD, FAAP
Trustee & Early Career Physician Representative, WCAAP
This fall at the annual National Conference & Exhibition I was excited to have the opportunity to help elect one of my mentors, Dr. Kyle Yasuda, for president of the Academy. However, to my dismay, when I logged into the AAP portal, I was unable to cast a ballot. Having recently completed residency and awaiting my boards exam the following month, I was considered a “candidate” member of the Academy and despite paying Academy dues, I was not eligible to vote in national or district elections.
The Chapter’s executive board felt that this would be a great opportunity for me to write my first resolution and channel my frustration to change the current bylaws that affect several thousand other newly minted pediatricians across the country. While writing a resolution seemed like a daunting task, the AAP has very much streamlined the process, and with direct mentoring from Dr. Elizabeth Meade and other members of District VIII, I was able to navigate the unfamiliar territory of legalese and draft a series of “whereas” clauses and a single “resolved” statement asking the AAP to grant their candidate members the ability to vote in Academy elections in order to encourage and foster early engagement and participation in the work of the Academy.
My resolution, along with 77 others, was debated and vetted at the Annual Leadership Forum. Thanks to the strong sponsorship of District VIII as well as the Section for Early Career Physicians, my resolution passed and was selected as one of the top ten resolutions to put forward to the National AAP Executive Committee for action and review. At their recent meeting, the AAP Executive Committee formally approved a referendum to revise the bylaws of the American Academy of Pediatrics that includes candidate members as eligible voting members. The referendum will be up for official vote this fall.
Writing a resolution is an easy way for pediatricians to help shape the Academy’s future policies and activities. For me, this experience was a great reminder of the productive and powerful ways we can use our voices to affect change. I am greatly indebted to those who mentored me and supported this resolution from idea to execution.