District IX Chair Candidate: Yasuko Fukuda, MD, FAAP
Message to Membership
“Follow the yellow brick road….”
In 2019, I started as District IX Chair bringing AAP Leadership experience, Advocacy focus, and wish to engage Membership. I hope to continue forging ahead at this crucial time for AAP.
My experiences include Chapter leadership, National Nominating Committee, Sections and Councils, AAP News and 6 years as District Vice Chair (DVC). Stuart Cohen, Chair, mentored me during a time of great transition for the AAP.
As the District IX Vice Chair, I:
- Reviewed the 4 California Chapters annual reports, learning about the projects, education and member events.
- Evaluated grant applications, including Healthy People 2020.
- As the DVC liaison to the Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT), and Section on Early Career Physicians (SOECP), embraced the energy of our young AAP leaders.
- Joined Board “working meetings” in finance, education, research, advocacy, and membership.
- Witnessed the transition of the Chief Executive Officer for National AAP – Errol Alden retiring, new ideas from Karen Remley and welcoming interim director Mark del Monte.
On the National AAP Board
January 1, 2019, I began my term as District Chair focusing on Mental Health, Equity, Membership, Physician Wellness, Policy, Education and Advocacy. I learned to recognize the work and collaboration of multiple AAP entities.
I served on subcommittees:
- Finance – oversaw income and expenses, audits and budgeting. I witnessed the initial discussions about the new AAP Headquarters progress to moving in and celebrating at the opening ceremony.
- Membership – followed members trends and needs, implementing group membership and other value-added programs.
- Strategic Planning and Governance – periodic work plan review focuses on priority goals, many outlined in the AAP Blueprint for Children. We appointed Mark del Monte official CEO/Executive Vice President.
January 2020 welcomed an expanded Board (3 new Members at Large) and hopes for new beginnings.
Then, like the cyclone that ripped through Kansas and whisked Dorothy to Oz, the Pandemic hit in March.
We came together in an unprecedented way. Every Saturday morning for months then bi-weekly Board virtual meetings addressed: guidance for testing and management of COVID-19, policies for daycare, safe school and sports, and vaccine distribution, education/hesitancy.
Practice management and supporting wellness among our own members is a priority. A critical issue is the cost to our society and families from COVID – the educational gaps, mental health and social health disparities. Never has it been more important that we continue our advocacy.
I now serve on Board Committees of Membership Value and Engagement (Chair) and Equity. The amazing AAP Staff supports our work, despite the challenges of working from home. What a great team traveling with us on the yellow brick road to the Wizard of Oz – striving for optimal children’s health and solutions for pediatricians as we emerge from COVID19.
Racism, EDI (Equity Diversity and Inclusion) and immigrant issues are a priority. The “Truth, Reconciliation and Transformation: Continuing on the Path to Equity” statement against structural and systemic anti-Black racism was made in July 2020 and the Equity Committee published “Immunizing against Hate: Overcoming Asian American and Pacific Islander Racism” commentary in Pediatrics, demonstrating that the Board is committed to speaking against injustice.
AAP in California
It is critical to have pediatricians across California speak as one voice. Our Chapters continue to innovatively reach out to their members. Medical education continues albeit virtually with plans for safe gatherings in person – in California, Las Vegas, even Hawaii.
AAP California transitioned from the Executive Director of many decades, Kris Calvin. I led the search for Karmi Ferguson, our new ED who is committed with me to unite us in California. Collaboration has strengthened with California Medical Association, multiple physicians groups, legislators, health departments and other health advocates. Pediatricians can be a strong force in Sacramento.
Our chapters can be unified – bringing resolutions to the Annual Leadership Forum, coordinating Chapter chats, and working on safe return to school, climate change and health inequities. Involvement with the 13 residencies across the state with the Residency Collaborative is essential.
I look forward to walking this yellow brick road with you, with wisdom, courage and heart.
Pediatricians have demonstrated immense resilience in standing up for what is right for children and supporting each other.
Yasuko Fukuda, MD, FAAP
San Francisco, CA