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September 18, 2019

Eric Dick, MNAAP Lobbyist

While the summer and fall of a non-election year are generally a quiet time for state legislators and advocates alike, it’s a perfect time to make or reinforce relationships with your legislators. Though the start of the 2020 Minnesota legislative session is many months away, the work of being an advocate for healthier kids, adolescents, and families does not take a vacation.

State legislators are back in their districts for the autumn and will be into the winter. Many legislators are hosting town hall meetings with constituents and knocking on doors to build support in anticipation of close races once the November 2020 election arrives. These are terrific opportunities to remind legislators to invest in child and adolescent health and safety.

The fall is also a terrific time to invite your legislator to your clinic or a neighborhood coffee shop to urge them to support the issues that matter to pediatricians and their young patients. I am always eager to assist with scheduling a visit or to offer background, talking points, or tips on being an effective advocate.

MNAAP leadership has been busy this summer advocating for stronger immunization laws. While the most recent and dangerous national measles outbreak lingered, MNAAP leaders have been meeting with key legislators and advocating within their clinics and health systems to support fixing Minnesota’s weak immunization requirement. MNAAP staff has been similarly busy meeting with potential allies, health care professional associations, patient advocates, and other immunization advocacy leaders. We face an uphill climb to fix the law, but the chapter has received an encouraging level of support.

Several MNAAP leaders held a conference call with California State Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician and the author of legislation to repeal California’s personal belief exception (PBE). Dr. Pan shared with the group his experience, encouraging the MNAAP to build a broad coalition of advocates and allies. Read Dr. Lori DeFrance’s “Word from the President” (page 3) for specific takeaways from our conversation.              

To make a healthier Minnesota, we must start now. As autumn arrives and winter looms, take the time to make or build a connection with your legislator.  It’s as simple as an email, a phone call, or a cup of coffee and it matters.   

September 17, 2019

A great conversation and time for connection took place when a group of senior pediatrician MNAAP members gathered at the Wedge Table in Minneapolis on Sept. 13. The eight pediatricians joined Dan Broughton, MD, FAAP,  to hear more about MNAAP’s policy priorities, learn how to get involved with the chapter, stay connected and catch up on life’s changes.

Pictured are: Back row (left to right): Dick Wicklund, MD; Beatrice Murray, MD; Paula Mackey, MD; Linda Thompson, MD; Ted Jewett, MD; Mike Severson, MD. Front row (left to right): Carolyn Levitt, MD; Kristin Benson, MD; Dan Broughton, MD

The next Senior Pediatrician Lunch will take place on Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Wedge Table. The conversation will focus on the basics of Twitter. Join us! Email Melissa DeBilzan at is you plan to attend.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are urging providers to watch for symptoms of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) as we enter early fall. The CDC began tracking AFM in 2014. Since then, AFM cases have followed a seasonal and biennial pattern, spiking between August and October every other year.

In 2018, 11 AFM cases were confirmed in Minnesota.

The majority of AFM patients are previously healthy children who had respiratory symptoms or fever consistent with a viral infection less than a week before they experienced limb weakness. Providers seeing symptoms consistent with AFM should consult an infectious disease physician and a neurologist right away, and quickly report all suspect cases to MDH.

September 8, 2019

The Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MNAAP) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) are seeking to partner with pediatricians, pediatric providers and/or pediatric clinics interested in increasing adolescent immunization rates by implementing vaccine recall/reminder messages.

The target population is 11-13 year-olds who do not have documentation of HPV 1, Tdap, HPV2 or MCV/MCV4.

Mini grants of $1,000 are available to participating clinics and/or pediatricians seeking to increase adolescent immunization rates through additional support in sending vaccine recall/reminder messages.

For more information about participating, email

September 1, 2019

MNAAP’s policy co-chairs, Sue Berry, MD, FAAP, and Lindsey Yock, MD, FAAP, will lead a priority discussion on Thursday, September 26 from 6-8 p.m. in the Twin Cities. The conversation will focus on identifying policy priorities for the Board to consider based on member feedback, legislative viability and other considerations.

MNAAP members are welcome to attend in person or by video/conference call. Please email for more information.

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