Spotlight: Pediatric Journeys in Advocacy

The AAP Section on Senior Members (SOSM) along with the Section on Early Career Physicians (SOECP) and the Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) developed an Advocacy Initiative to connect senior members with trainees and early career health care providers for mentorship and opportunities for learning and collaboration around advocacy initiatives to advance child health.

This collaboration will equip pediatric providers, at all stages of their careers, to become effective advocates for children, to encourage early career physicians, advanced practice providers, and trainees to become more involved in advocacy, to train the future leaders in their chapters and the national AAP, and enrich connections of SOSM members in their chapters.

Five chapters were chosen to develop pilot programs to launch this advocacy work with representatives of each of the those sections (Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, New Mexico and Washington.) The goal of the pilot program is for each chapter to develop a project and recruit those interested in working on advocacy to gain skills and contribute to the project.

The Washington Chapter representatives of the SOSM, SOECP and SOPT are
developing webinars to motivate pediatricians at all stages of their careers to get
involved in advocacy by relating personal stories of senior members with a history of advocacy, titled: “Spotlight: Pediatric Journeys in Advocacy.” These will be recorded along with links to available lessons in aspects of advocacy, such as contacting legislators, writing legislative testimony, writing op-ed pieces and working with other governmental and non-governmental agencies and resources. The overall goal is “Motivation” and to not be an “all there is to know about” program. There will be 4-5 webinars the first one of which will be December 7 at 7:30 PM. Crystal Shen and Mike Arenson will interview me about my journey in advocacy in my career in pediatrics: about how I got started in pediatrics and being an advocate for children; what influenced my career decisions and how the AAP provided the guidance needed; and how I could integrate advocacy into my practice and personal life.

In future episodes we will interview other senior members about their advocacy journeys and how they fit it into their careers. As the 2022 Washington Legislative Session begins in January we hope to choose those involved in legislative advocacy with the Washington Chapter for the next interviews following the Advocacy Day in February. We hope you will join us on December 7 for this conversation.

Jerry Eichner, MD, FAAP