A Look Back at MNAAP’s Highlights in 2013


By Robert M. Jacobson, MD, FAAP…

What were the top ten events for our chapter in 2013? What would such a list look like, and what would we learn from it?

I ended up making such a list to help with our year-end reporting. At the end of 2013, our chapter submitted its annual chapter report for the national organization. The report details MNAAP’s accomplishments for the year. It’s a Herculean task of cleaning out the stables of the year gone by and trotting out accomplishments for a national audience. We ask the leaders of our workgroups and committees to participate in the reporting as well.

Each of us on the board would probably list different things. Perhaps many items would overlap but the order would vary greatly. My own top ten list includes the following:

1. Updated School and Daycare Immunization Rules. The successful adoption of the updated Minnesota School and Daycare Immunization Rules in August had been a long time coming. Katherine Cairns, our executive director, and I began meeting as representatives of the chapter in 2012 with the immunization rules task force that the state assembled. Dr. Dawn Martin, chair of the MNAAP Immunization work group, kept members informed of the updates at meetings and in the newsletter. We finalized that work in the spring of 2013 and waited with apprehension for the period of public notification and comment. In a tense administrative hearing this summer, I spoke on behalf of our chapter in support for the proposed rules, which included new vaccine requirements for Rotavirus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Tdap, Varicella, and Meningococcus. Our efforts paid off when the administrative judge ruled in favor of MDH, allowing the rules to become effective in September of 2014.

More info at www.mnaap.org/immunizations.htm

2. Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol. This well-attended event involved more than 100 pediatricians meeting with legislators and successfully brought both of our state’s pediatric residencies together to participate in this show of legislative advocacy. The enthusiasm of the pediatricians-in-training was energizing and carried us through a rocky legislative season that saw the tabling of the anti-bullying bill we pushed as well as the tabling of our efforts to stay the destruction of the newborn screening test data along with the blood spots themselves. The MNAAP’s efforts at the Capitol in regards to tobacco, however, were hugely successful as the MNAAP and our coalition partners
advocated for – and won – a historic increase in the
tobacco tax, a change that will result in far fewer adolescents smoking.

More info at www.mnaap.org/pedsdayatthecapitol.htm

3. Investments in Health and Education. We advocated for the successful approval of the state health budget with its support for pediatric and adolescent mental health as well as the approval of the state’s investment in early childhood education and the critical congenital heart disease testing requirement.

4. Successful Education Programs. Our Hot Topics in Pediatrics Conference, held the day of our annual meeting, successfully brought together nearly 150 attendees for our programming on obesity and motivational interviewing.

5. Dynamic Annual Dinner. Those in attendance won’t soon forget the 2013 annual dinner where our keynote speaker, Dr. Piero Rinaldo, spoke so passionately for the return of Minnesota Newborn Screening to where it was just several years ago: the best in the country and the world with so much promise for the future.

More info at www.mnaap.org/annualmeeting2013.html

6. New and Improved Website. We rolled out our new web presence in 2013. While it is easy to take a web site’s appearances and functionality for granted, we know that our organization depends on the ease of communication. Our web pages are central to our organization’s ongoing conversation across the state.

More info at www.mnaap.org/

7. Collecting Member Feedback. Every year we conduct an all-member survey. It is a big event for us because it provides our members a chance to weigh in on a variety of topics in a relatively easy format. We worked hard to make that survey user friendly. In the months to come, the survey responders will see we’ve taken their responses seriously and will direct our work going forward.

View results at svy.mk/1cc1RKk

8. Maintenance of Certification Programs. Last year we saw our first enrollees in all of our MOC 4 programs. We have three underway—in pediatric obesity, medical homes, and immunizations. It’s a concerted effort that our board of directors took so seriously as to assign the effort to each of our work groups to make these MOC 4 experiences happen.

We also are seeking permission—new this year—to begin offering MOC 2 credit. We are in the process of submitting a grant that would support our development of an MOC 2 experience regarding HPV vaccine communication.

More info at www.mnaap.org/moc4.htm

9. Vaccine Hesitancy Training. The previous year our chapter obtained a grant to teach pediatricians the CASE approach to vaccine hesitancy, and we brought that teaching this year to Saint Cloud’s CentraCare CME programming as well as to the University of Minnesota’s pediatric residency program. In addition, we published the technique in Minnesota Medicine as well.

More info at www.mnaap.org/immunizationsed.htm

10. Increased membership. We held a number of events to improve membership in the AAP at the chapter level, including a special mailing to all pediatric specialists across the state. That along with our concerted efforts to support our medical schools’ pediatric interest groups garnered us new members across the spectrum of pediatric professionals.

This year we topped 1,000 members—our best year yet.

That’s my ten. What did I learn from making that list? First, our chapter’s success completely depends on pediatricians coming together to volunteer their time, interest, and wisdom. Second, our chapter’s resources including its staff consultants, if not especially them, can turn ideas into reality. And, third, if that’s what we accomplished last year, just imagine what we can do in the years to come!

Annual Sponsors

Children's Minnesota
Gillette Children's
Hennepin Healthcare
University of Minnesota Health
Essentia Health
Mayo Clinic
Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities