MNAAP has more than 1,000 members with careers that span differing lengths, specialties and interests. The Member Spotlight offers you a chance to meet a fellow MNAAP member and learn a little bit more about them. Dr. Tom Scott is a familiar face to many MNAAP members, and graciously agreed to answer Minnesota Pediatrician’s questions for this issue’s Member Spotlight.
You have been a long-standing member of MNAAP. What have been the most rewarding aspects of your participation in our chapter?
I worked clinically for 26 years as a general pediatrician and developmental-behavioral pediatric (DBP) consultant at HealthPartners, and then for eight years at the Alexander Center of ParkNicollet as a DBP specialist on interdisciplinary teams. While in practice, I enjoyed the great opportunity of connecting with other pediatricians with advocacy interests through the MNAAP policy work group.
Learning from mentors such as Drs. Mike Severson and Chuck Oberg helped me grow in this very significant aspect of pediatric care. When bullying became more notable as a health issue, I was very appreciative of the chapter’s support while on Governor Dayton’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying. I had been concerned about the vulnerability of children with autism and LGBTQ youth in my practice who were being bullied.
Can you tell me about your shift from pediatric practice settings in the community to teaching at the University of Minnesota later in your career?
For the last 10 years, I have been at the University of Minnesota (UMN) doing curriculum development and teaching part-time in the pediatric department. I directed the residency rotation in developmental-behavioral pediatrics for five years and continue co-teaching a monthly seminar for residents on historical trauma and racism. Being part of the UMN pediatric department has been a wonderfully rich experience.
While working at UMN, I was able to bring highly skilled pediatricians in the community to be part of our teaching program. We also developed pediatrician/psychologist teaching teams that reflected our understanding of clinical challenges and the need for collaborative approaches to pediatric services. Similarly, our recognition of disparities and social determinants of health led us to connect with programs such as Simpson Housing Services and the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS), as settings for resident learning.
I understand that you retired from the UMN about a year ago. How are you staying connected with the pediatric community?
In addition to my monthly seminar teaching with residents at UMN, I enjoy staying involved in MNAAP. For the past two years, Dr. Nate Chomilo and I have been MNAAP “Early Childhood Champions” in Minnesota and representatives to the AAP. Nate and I work with a very active early childhood caucus of committed pediatrician advocates. My particular focus is on prenatal to age three, a time when 80 percent of brain growth happens. Last year, the AAP State Advocacy Office helped us write an EC P3 policy development guide that is based on Minnesota data and AAP Policy Statements. You can find these under the “Resources” section of the Poverty and Disparities page on MNAAP.org.
I have recently joined Dr. Rachel Tellez as co-chair of the MNAAP Poverty and Disparities Work Group. We are developing a series of exciting and challenging initiatives including the Impact of Racism on Child Health, Food Insecurity, Oral Health, and Immigrant Health.
What kinds of hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I especially like being up at our family cabin in northern Minnesota with my grandkids and getting out on the water. At home, biking, being outside, and walking around the city lakes are my favorites. I like to travel whenever I can, often to the east coast or to warmer climes to spend time with friends. I love taking in classical music, and dance wherever I am and like to read along the way.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Scott authored an informative look at developmental-behavioral pediatrics as a contributor in a past issue of Minnesota Pediatrician.To access the article, visit www.mnaap.org/what-is-developmental-behavioral-health-pediatrics/.