I’ve had the opportunity over the last few months to get involved in the work of pediatrics on the national level. Through the most recent American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Leadership Forum (ALF) and even a few weeks ago at our annual legislative priority meeting for MNAAP, I saw the great passion with which pediatricians view their work. We all know this instinctively, however, to see hundreds of pediatricians gather in a (large) room and hammer out the issues that are important to pediatricians right now was meaningful.
The ALF process was particularly impactful to me. Dozens of resolutions are submitted on a wide range of issues that affect child health and the practice of pediatrics. The resolutions are whittled down through spirited discussion, an amendment process, and adoption or not. All of the attendees then have an opportunity to rank the adopted resolutions, selecting the top 10. This is exceedingly difficult given that the adopted resolutions included topics such as supporting children orphaned by COVID-19, expanding education to care for transgendered children and increased transparency regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion outcomes in medical school pediatric departments.
After considering many impactful resolutions, the number one resolution endorsed was supporting our pediatric advocates experiencing adversity. Multiple pediatricians present gave testimony on how they had been harassed after advocating for science at state legislatures and reported that some of the most negative interactions occurred at school board meetings. As one of the pediatricians who was targeted via online, telephone, and even postal harassment, I felt seen.
We are passionate about the work we do because it literally affects children’s quality of life, their families, and their futures. Who can feel that way and be complacent?