I want to start off with a hearty congratulations to Dr. Nathan Chomilo who recently started his new position as Minnesota’s Medicaid medical director. He is an impassioned advocate who has highlighted the deep racial, health, and educational inequities in our state. He also serves as one of the early childhood champions to the MNAAP Board.
Leadership of the MNAAP met with Minnesota Commissioner of Education Mary Cathryn Ricker in February to discuss recommendations for safe and healthy schools, including the need for every school to have access to mental health professionals and physical activity. Included in the meeting were Drs. Janna Gewirtz-O’Brien, Tom Scott and Gretchen Karstens along with MNAAP Lobbyist Eric Dick and Executive Director Melissa DeBilzan. It was a focused discussion and hopefully the first of more to come.
As we continue to work through this winter’s seemingly relentless wave of RSV, influenza and unfortunately pertussis, I want to encourage all of you to take care of yourselves. I attended a Bounce Back conference in Minneapolis this winter which provided reflection and a reminder of our human experience and vulnerability as we navigate challenges in our professional and personal lives. This was the fourth annual event sponsored by the Bounce Back Project. The conference focused on stories, strategies and assembling our toolbox to renew and strengthen our resilience. I encourage you to take a look at their website www.bouncebackproject.org and consider attending one of their events.
I want to end with a deep and sincere thank you to each and every one of you. You make a difference every day as you care for children and families in their worst and best moments.
Elijah Cummings, former politician and civil rights advocate, said, “Children are the living messengers we send to the future we will never see. The future we are creating needs to be a brighter one for every child.”
Lori DeFrance, MD, FAAP