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November 7, 2022

Midterm elections are right around the corner on Tuesday, Nov. 8. MNAAP encourages its members to keep in mind the health of children and communities when they go to vote. Kids can’t vote, but pediatricians can!

If you haven’t already cast your ballot, take the opportunity to review the candidates’ positions through the lens of MNAAP priority issues:

  • Anti-racism & disparities
  • Behavioral/mental health
  • Early childhood development
  • Immunizations

The Early Childhood work group has put together this helpful set of questions to guide your research as you review candidates and issues. 

And remember to encourage others to vote. You can join in the AAP Vote Kids Week of Action by:

  • sharing a post describing why you #VoteKids.
  • posting a picture of yourself on your way to your polling place.
  • recording a short video urging your friends, family, and patients to vote and describe why it’s important to #VoteKids.  
  • engaging with other posts using the #VoteKids hashtag.  
  • and using the sample social media posts provided by AAP.  

As of Nov. 4, twenty-one Minnesota children have become ill with measles in the Twin Cities area since June 2022. The case count will likely increase due to recent exposures in school and child care settings as well as in unvaccinated children who have recently traveled to countries where measles is endemic.

Minnesota healthcare providers can take action now to help prevent future cases of measles by:

  • Considering measles for any patient who has compatible symptoms, especially if they report a recent exposure to someone with measles, recently traveled, or had close contact with someone who has traveled to counties where measles is endemic. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Measles Information For Health Professionals page provides additional information on measles testing and reporting.
  • Recalling all pediatric patients who are due or overdue for MMR vaccine, especially older school-aged children.
  • Assessing MMR vaccine status and strongly recommending the vaccine to patients who need it at every clinical encounter for acute and preventative care services.
  • Strongly recommending MMR vaccination to families with unvaccinated children planning to travel internationally and provide information on symptoms to watch for after they return home. The MDH Think Measles poster includes important messaging about measles for families traveling internationally and it is translated into common languages spoken in Minnesota.
  • Encouraging timely well-child visits to catch children up on routine vaccines they may have missed during the pandemic.

Recent measles cases were in children aged 1 to 13-years-old and have led to serious illness and hospitalizations. MMR vaccination assessment and recall should include older, school-age children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds because overall state MMR vaccination coverage has declined during the pandemic due to missed well-child visits. If your clinic needs MMR vaccination reminder-recall support including a new, free patient texting program, reach-out to MDH’s Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) team at

For additional information and resources on measles and prevention through MMR vaccination, visit Measles (Rubeola).

October 31, 2022

1. Childcare is a vital issue for Minnesota’s economy. Many young families can’t afford the cost of childcare.

Ask your candidate if they favor increasing Child Care Assistance payments for young families from the current 40% to 75% of the cost of childcare.

FACTS: Investment in effective childcare pays a return of $10-$16 per dollar invested over a lifetime, with results showing by kindergarten.              Childcare can cost as much as attending the university! It is simply unaffordable to many young families, especially those with low income or families of color.

2.  Effective childcare  stimulates healthy brain growth and development in infants and toddlers.

Does your candidate have a plan to provide a living wage for childcare educators and assistants so that they  don’t need to seek higher paying jobs to support their own families?

FACTS: Effective childcare requires staff with the background and experience to provide current child nurturing and development.              Frequent turnover in childcare workers disrupts trusting relationships.

3. Early Learning Scholarships move with a child if they change locations or childcare settings. 

Does your candidate have a plan to start these scholarships at 2 months of age when they are needed?

4. The ability to stay at home for 12 weeks after a child is born without losing a paycheck or a job is crucial for healthy bonding, brain growth and development.

Does your candidate support Paid Family and Medical Leave for parents of new babies?

FACT: Early low-stress weeks and months with a parent provide the foundation for a lifelong loving, trusting relationship. Early interaction with a loving adult supports the rapid brain development which leads to further learning  over time.

The Early Childhood Work Group reminds members: when you go to the polls, keep early childhood issues in mind!

The Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) and its sister organization, the Minnesota Academy of Pediatrics Foundation (MAPF) administer and participate in several projects to address a wide variety of topics that affect child and teen development, health, safety, and wellbeing. These projects offer MNAAP and MAPF the opportunity to meaningfully direct funding and support to partner organizations doing important work for Minnesota’s young people. The mission of the MAPF is to protect and improve the health of all Minnesota children and teens. By partnering with pediatricians, state officials, and national and community-based organizations, the MAPF has developed many model programs that address key health or care delivery issues that have been shared both nationally and internationally. Grant projects for 2022 are listed below. 

AAP Healthy People 2030

This project will focus on BIPOC and LGBTQI+ adolescents who experience significant barriers to accessing culturally and content-appropriate mental health screening and treatment options. Particularly at the intersections of these two target populations, LGBTQI+ youth of color and indigenous youth have extremely limited, and often nonexistent, resources to maintain or improve their mental health, especially in rural Minnesota and even more acutely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will build on a past collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to increase adolescent depression screening and speed up access to mental health treatment services.  Additionally, MAPF will oversee the development of the statewide/regional MOC4.

AAP Food Insecurity 

This grant aims to close the loop between families and the Minnesota Women, Infant, and Children (MN WIC) program through the touchpoint of routine clinic visits. The project will examine how creating EMR referrals to the WIC program and shared information can promote WIC enrollment and encourage sustained participation. 

Pediatricians can play a critical role in addressing food insecurity through screening and referral and this grant aligns a clinician’s interest in better connecting families to available resources. 

Project Firstline Infection Control Training

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Project Firstline provides innovative and accessible infection control education for all frontline healthcare workers – so they can protect their patients, their coworkers and themselves from infectious disease threats in health care. 

MNAAP serves as one of 75 healthcare, academic, and public health partners in the Project Firstline collaborative to reach a wide range of healthcare audiences and settings across the country. 

Project Firstline offers educational resources in a variety of formats to meet the diverse learning needs and preferences of the healthcare workforce. 

Pediatric Mental Health Access Program

This grant, funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), partners MNAAP with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to establish a pediatric mental health consult program, deliver evidence-based trainings and technical assistance on mental and behavioral health for PCPs, coordinate centralized data resource directories, and implement an advisory, collaborative leadership structure.

The Psychiatric Assistance Line (PAL) will serve as the medium through which Minnesota can implement its project goals and activities to increase the state’s capacity to advance equitable access to mental and behavioral health services and supports for underserved populations, including rural, BIPOC and LGBTQI+ populations.

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