By Anne Edwards, MD, MNAAP Policy Chair
There’s an old saying that “in a democracy decisions are made by those who show up” and there’s no truer example of that than Election Day.
Influencing the decisions made in Washington and St. Paul begins by making your voice heard at the polls. And given that our patients can’t vote, our duty to be engaged is all the greater to show up on November 4 to add our voice.
Politics in Minnesota is often a retail affair, and candidates can often be found in your neighborhood, at local forums, or at the Friday night football game. When you see candidates, take the time to ask them how they’ll vote on issues that matter to kids. Ask them how they’ll work to make Minnesota a healthier place for children, and if they’ll support greater access to care for uninsured and underinsured kids and families. For good or for ill, the choices made on Election Day impact our patients and our profession in countless ways.
Politics can be distasteful to many, and often for good reason. Too much time and focus is spent on partisan bickering and game playing. But behind those headlines good work can be done at the Legislature.
I’m proud of the work that the MNAAP accomplished at the Capitol this past year. We restored the newborn screening program following devastating legislative and judicial actions. We partnered with many others to further regulate the sale of e-cigarettes, ban minor access to artificial tanning facilities, and make critical investments in early brain development. We’ve made great strides on behalf of Minnesota’s kids, but much more work remains. How successful we’ll be in many ways is determined starting on Election Day.
Your vote is your voice. For our patients and our profession, use that voice. Plan to vote on Tuesday, November 4.
Chapter leaders recently posted three questions to the two leading candidates for governor. Below is the response to the first question from Jeff Johnson, the Republican nominee. Governor Mark Dayton’s campaign has declined to participate in this and other candidate questionnaires this year, and instead suggests that the Governor’s track record speak for itself.
MNAAP: Children make up 23 percent of our state’s population. What do you think is the most pressing challenge facing Minnesota’s children today, and, if elected, how would you address it?
Johnson: Minnesota’s lower income children are not being given the education they need and deserve to climb the income and social ladders — in fact, Minnesota has one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. As governor I am committed to devoting resources — and more importantly instituting reforms — that will finally close this gap and open up opportunities for Minnesota’s disadvantaged children.
It’s past the Autumnal equinox, and the Minnesota chapter of the AAP has begun its new year. In some ways, it seems ironic to be beginning our newest year just as this particular season is starting with its promise of winter not far behind. I don’t know about you, but somehow the anticipation of winter with its sharpness and acuity sets the tone for us to really take off and do what we can for Minnesota’s children.
By Ed Ehlinger, MD, MSPH Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health
North Dakota has been dramatically changed by the oil boom in the state’s Williston Basin. The influx of people to work in the Bakken oil fields has generated numerous social, economic, and public health issues.
While environmental concerns, violence, prostitution, housing shortages, and railroad safety have garnered most of the attention, it is the potential disruption of a core public heath function that prompted the North Dakota Department of Health to ask for help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The issue? How to keep track of the immunization status of the thousands of people moving to ND from all over the country.