WCAAP in 2018: Your Professional Home

Rupin Thakkar, MD, FAAP
President, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

In the last quarter of 2017 we called on you often to reach out to federal legislators to protect the Affordable Care Act and SCHIP. Unfortunately, those battles aren’t over and we all need to remain vigilant. We also are now gearing up for our state’s legislative session. Visit our website’s Advocacy pages to learn about our active issues for 2018, register for Advocacy Day, and download our new Action Center app.

Children’s Mental Health Forum

While our chapter has been highly effective at legislative advocacy for years, I am proud of our great strides more recently towards becoming the professional home for pediatricians in our state.  We set out to create opportunities for pediatricians to educate each other and share passions with each other. These relationships are personally rewarding and benefit the patients we serve. For the first time since I have been a member of the chapter, we now have over 1000 members. More importantly, we have seen increased attendance at chapter events, increased engagement in our committees, and increased participation in our advocacy alerts.  Thank you for validating that we are on the right track.

Well-attended events over the last quarter of 2017 included:

  • Pediatric Population Health Forum at Sea-Tac. About 70 pediatric providers convened for presentations and discussions focused on social determinants of health, population health, behavioral health integration, and preparation for a shift towards value-based payment.
  • Regional listening sessions in Spokane and Yakima. At our listening sessions, executive officers of our chapter meet with members to hear what pediatric providers see as the biggest professional challenges in their practices or hospitals that our chapter can impact.
  • A Mental Health Forum in Olympia. This event was held in partnership with the Washington Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.  Pediatricians and psychiatrists met with legislators to share their stories of the lack of mental health care access for kids and propose potential solutions.
  • Peer-led presentations for primary care pediatricians on ADHD management and inherited anti-psychotic medication management.

I greatly appreciate your membership in the chapter and your participation at any level that works for you. With increased membership numbers and membership engagement, our chapter earns a stronger voice with legislators and truly serves as a professional home for Washington’s pediatricians.  I hope to see you at our Advocacy Day in Olympia on Friday, February 2nd.