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March 7, 2019

A bill to promote the benefits of immunization will be heard in the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee on Friday, March 8.

Please take 1 minute to contact your House member and urge them to support this effort to increase immunization rates. Our voice needs to be louder than those contacting legislators with anti-vaccine rhetoric.

In short, HF 1182 would provide funding to the Minnesota Department of Health and community-based organizations to promote the benefits of immunization for those communities most at risk. The education efforts would be focused upon geographic areas or populations experiencing or at risk of experiencing an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

Talking points:
  • Vaccines prevent serious illness and save lives. Yet misinformation about vaccines is all too common, leading many parents to opt out of vaccines and put children and others at risk.
  • States with more permissive vaccination laws, such as Minnesota, are at increased risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.
  • Data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that several communities and schools have high rates of non-medical exemptions. In Wadena County, for example, 13 percent of Kindergartners are entering school without required vaccinations.
  • Targeted education is needed to counter myths and falsehoods about vaccination, especially in communities with high rates of non-medical exemptions.

Please take 1 minute to contact your House member and urge him or her to support HF 1182. 

1. Enter your home address to find your MN House member: https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

2. Send him or her a brief email using the language above. Feel free to personalize or modify. Copy debilzan@mnaap.org so we can track outreach.

Another option is a quick call saying, “I’m a constituent in your district and pediatrician calling to convey my support for HF 1182, a bill to help provide education to communities with low vaccination rates.”

 

 

November 3, 2019

MNAAP member and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Chapter Champion Abby Meyer, MD, MPH, FAAP, shares that the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) recently released its 2019 position statement. The JCIH continues to encourage Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) activities beginning at birth to identify children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

According to the JCIH, universal newborn hearing screening has resulted in significantly lowering the average age of identification. Screening is a necessary first step, but does not ensure the next critical steps of timely identification and diagnosis of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, amplification, and referral to early intervention, all with the goal of promoting language development. Without appropriate language development, children may experience educational and social-emotional delays.

To read more about guidelines for newborn screening, early intervention services for birth to three years old, and benchmarks and quality indicators, read the JCIH 2019 Position Statement. 

October 25, 2019

Many pediatricians and pediatric residents have benefited from grant funding obtained through AAP’s Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program. Through an annual competitive process, pediatricians can receive up to $10,000 and pediatric residents up to $2,000 in funding for planning or implementing community projects that improve the health of children, especially those who are underserved.

In Minnesota, nine applications have been approved for CATCH grant funding since 2011 for projects involving mental health, school health, telemedicine, obesity, addiction, teenage pregnancy, oral health, and other topics. We’re looking for an individual with community pediatric experience who wants to help other pediatricians address local challenges through community partnerships. Those interested in applying to serve as Minnesota’s Chapter CATCH Facilitator (CCF) or have questions about the process can consult with Minnesota’s CCF: Dr. Brian Lynch.

After several years of dedicated service, Dr. Brian Lynch is ready to pass the torch on to another pediatrician willing to serve as Chapter CATCH Facilitator. Responsibilities include reviewing and scoring CATCH grant applications at the national level as well as providing feedback to Minnesota pediatricians on what they can do to enhance their ideas or applications. Training is provided. The term length is three years and is renewable.

If you’re interested in helping fellow pediatricians obtain funding to support community-based programs, please email Lynch.Brian@mayo.edu for more information.   

October 18, 2019

Thanks to a gift from a generous contributor, your donation dollar can go farther when you participate in Minnesota’s “giving holiday” Give to the Max Day on Thursday, November 15.

Donations made to the Minnesota Academy of Pediatrics Foundation up to $1,000 will be matched with funds from a charitable donor. Your gift will support various projects and initiatives aimed at improving the health and well-being of Minnesota infants, children and adolescents.

Too busy to remember to donate? You can pre-schedule your donation to occur on November 15.

All donations are tax-deductible. As always, you will receive an immediate email receipt acknowledging your gift.

Learn more.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports that influenza activity in the state for the week ending Oct. 5 was sporadic, making this a good window of time to remind patients and their caregivers to get the influenza vaccine.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to recommend routine influenza immunization of all children without medical contraindications, starting at 6 months of age. AAP also encourages everyone get the vaccine before the flu begins circulating in a community.

In Minnesota, 2 pediatric influenza-related deaths and 381 outbreaks in schools were recorded in the 2018-2019 season, underscoring the importance of the vaccine.

You can direct parents to HealthyChildren.org for more information about influenza prevention and treatment.

Physicians and other health care providers can the latest information on flu and basics of administering flu vaccine in the 2019-20 Minnesota Fall Flu Guide on Influenza Vaccine Information for Health Professionals.

October 13, 2019

October 6-12 is observed as Infant Safe Sleep Week, but MNAAP’s Child Safety Work Group is reminding members that pediatricians play a role every day in helping parents understand the importance of safe sleep.

An analysis by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) found that of the 90 sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) in 2016 and 2017, 82% or 74 were sleep-related and happened in unsafe sleep environments.

MDH is encouraging hospitals and providers to raise awareness and train staff to make sure parents know the ABCs of safe sleep:

  • ALONE: Infants should always sleep or nap alone.
  • BACK: Always put a baby on their back to sleep or nap.
  • CRIB: Babies should always sleep or nap in their own safety-approved crib or play yard without blankets or pillows.

In Minnesota, Hennepin Healthcare is the first hospital to achieve gold level National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification by maintaining a safe sleep policy, annually training staff, auditing progress, using sleep sacks instead of blankets and providing education to parents prior to discharge.

MDH offers safe sleep resources, including information on financial assistance for portable cribs, safe sleep campaign materials, and information sheets in several languages.

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