August 17 2018 8:00 AM Deborah Moss, MD, MPH, FAAP




  I think it's fair to say that among their many accomplishments, the Parkland students made an impact by reminding all of us of the power of advocacy. While there are many definitions of advocacy, I like to think of it simply as speaking up for change. One of my goals as president is to strengthen our chapter's advocacy activities, to support effective advocacy efforts across the state on key issues related to child health.



  Pediatricians are natural advocates. We are caring, trusted professionals with first-hand experience of challenges facing children, families and communities. For those of us in clinical practice, we advocate for our patients every day. Community and legislative advocacy are two ways to extend our impact beyond the office walls.



  The chapter is lucky to have a strong and energetic advocacy committee, co-chaired by Jenn Giammetti-Tepper and Christian Pulcini. The committee has established prevention of gun violence and addressing the opioid crisis as key areas of focus for the coming year. (See the Advocacy Update at the end of this newsletter - reprinted from our July issue) Our lobbyist, John Nikoloff, also keeps us updated on the status of child-related bills, and helps guide us on best opportunities for advocacy.



  In addition to legislative advocacy on the state level, pediatricians can play critical roles in improving the environments where kids live, study, and play by joining local boards and partnering with community organizations. Getting to know your local legislators and your county commissioners, school board members and other community decision makers and being a trusted resource on child-related health issues can make a big difference.



  Not only does advocacy work help kids, it might be just what we physicians need to re-discover the reason we entered medicine in the first place. I just read the NEJM article about advocacy work as an antidote to physician "burn-out" and am interested in starting a state-wide conversation about that. I plan to begin that conversation in next month's newsletter, so stay tuned.



  One important part of effective advocacy is being able to identify partners to work with; consider the chapter a large support group or network. We've heard from a few of you recently about concerns regarding the rise in juuling and what pediatricians can do about it. See the JUULing article in this newsletter. If there's an issue that you're concerned about, let us know and we can connect you with others also working on that issue, either at the state or national AAP. Or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (PA AAP Executive Director) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have questions, ideas, or advocacy stories to share. We'd love to hear from you.



Deb Moss

Deborah R. Moss, MD, MPH, FAAP

President, PA AAP 2018-2020