Word from the President: Looking Back and Looking Ahead


By Susan A. Berry, MD

Happy new year to all of you and to all of the children and families that we serve. 2014 was an important year for our chapter, and I’m proud to look back on all that was accomplished.

MNAAP received the award for Outstanding Large Chapter at the AAP Annual Leadership Forum last spring — and we hadn’t even yet completed our important goal of saving Minnesota’s newborn screening program! This was a critical effort accomplished through the active support of our members and coalitions built based on our presence as a trusted and valued voice for children.

On August 1, 2014, our new law took effect, ensuring that data and blood spots are retained on an indefinite basis, allowing development of new screening tests for Minnesota’s newborns as part of program operations, and providing families new strategies to manage and control access to their information. This was truly an “all-hands-on-deck” effort and the chapter should be extraordinarily proud of our leadership role in that effort.

We also highlighted our pediatric obesity prevention projects including educational conferences, CME programs, advocacy, collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health, and interactions with the Wisconsin chapter regarding coding for appropriate obesity prevention counseling services. These efforts help us all to do a better job serving children and maintaining their health. We continue efforts to promote childhood vaccination including hesitancy training, recommendations for a HPV vaccine, and additional topics such as outreach to the Somali community. Our executive director and communications director continue to make a substantial difference for our chapter in effective grant submission and acquisition allowing us to continue our vital work.

But we have challenges to come. In our own member survey (thank you for participating!) we learned that you want us to do more regarding access to mental health services for children. We are all worried about continuing access for children to health care with implementation and use of the Affordable Care Act and upcoming needs to re-authorize CHIP at a federal level. We are actively working on reducing instances of bullying, supporting early brain development, and continuing efforts to reduce childhood obesity and increase immunization rates.

“In our own member survey, we learned that you want us to do more regarding access to mental health services for children.”

We won’t be eligible again to receive an award as outstanding chapter for three years, but I think if were to be eligible, our chapter’s efforts on behalf of children would certainly merit substantial acknowledgment.

So folks, we need your continued energy and involvement. I’m proud to be part of such a dynamic and engaged group of professionals. It’s an honor to work with all of you. Let’s make this coming year an outstanding one for kids!

Annual Sponsors

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