Happy Lunar New Year of the Rabbit!
At the January National AAP Board meeting, President Sandy Chung shared the following story of the Rabbit:
The Jade Emperor wanted to help prepare the elixir of life and came to Earth disguised as a beggar. He cried for help and food – 3 animals came to assist: a monkey, a fox, and a rabbit.
The monkey gathered fruits from nearby trees. The fox came with the fish he had caught in the stream. The rabbit searched and searched and could not find anything but grass. He returned to find the others gathered around a fire to cook the fish and prepare a meal with the fruit.
The rabbit decided to sacrifice himself to provide the man with food and attempted to throw himself into the fire. However, the beggar turned back into the Jade Emperor and prevented the rabbit from being burned.
Recognizing the willingness to offer the ultimate sacrifice, the Jade Emperor picked the rabbit to be the most noble of creatures. The rabbit was taken to the moon and learned to make divine medicines – the elixir of life, protected from animals and humans.
We have all been caught up in the last 3 years of the pandemic – taking care of our patients and their families in addition to caring for ourselves and our own. Thank you all for your sacrifices for kids, for families and for your communities.
This year will be a turning point and we will all plan to hop forward! The rabbit possesses a quiet personality but has great strength similar to what I see in many of you – my colleagues and leaders in our AAP organization.
The National AAP Board
We start out this year welcoming our newest Board members:
President-Elect, Benjamin Hoffman, MD (OR); District I Chair, Patricia Flanagan, MD (RI ); and Member at Large, Joelle Simpson, MD (DC)
Much thanks and farewell to the outgoing members:
Past President, Lee Beers, MD (DC); District 1 Chair, Wendy Davis MD (VT); and Member at Large, Joseph Wright, MD (DC). I learned so much from them and they will certainly be missed.
Our priorities for this year are:
- Healthy Mental and Emotional Development
- COVID Recovery and Disaster Readiness
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- Safety and Well-being within the Pediatric Profession
I will serve on 3 subcommittees of the Board this year:
- Equity: I have been honored to be on this committee since its inception. We continue to forge ahead to incorporate the “Equity Agenda” and ensure the lens of “EDI” (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) is throughout the AAP and includes: Internal processes; 2. Education & clinical practice; 3. Workforce & Leadership, and 4. Policy and Advocacy.
- Strategic Planning: The committee has main goals: 1. Strengthen our impact on health equity and optimal health for our patients; 2. Enrich and promote member value and engagement; 3. Broaden and diversity leadership; 4. Enhance communication between members and others; 5. Support relationships between AAP and Chapters and 6. Support working relationships between AAP and Committees, Councils and Sections. We are in the midst of innovative changes to enhance the process of working together throughout.
- Governance: Overall balance of implementation of many functions of the Academy organization and workings for our members. Ensuring that the process is consistent, and by-laws, policies and procedures are relevant across the Chapters, Committees, Councils and Sections.
With the declaration of the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) in May 2023, there will be many issues: COVID vaccination, maintaining Telehealth, and impact on MediCal continual coverage to name a few. We will have to stay involved in our communities and with policies within our state.
The annual National AAP Legislative Conference in Washington DC will be held from March 26-28, 2023. I will attend along with your District Vice Chair, Eric Ball, MD. We will certainly learn what is going on at the federal level and how we may be affected in California. Stay tuned.
We have new leaders joining us this year:
Katherine Williamson, MD, Rep – National Nominating Committee (NNC); Emily Lane, MD, Rep – Section of Pediatric Trainees (SOPT); Bhavin Doshi, MD and alternate Rep- Section of Early Career Physicians (SOECP). Thank you to the outgoing members- Edward Curry, MD – NNC (who remains as AAP-CA Treasurer) and Christina Callas, MD (SOPT).
Many new legislators took office recently and we are starting a new 2-year legislative cycle with bills being written and introduced. Executive Director, Karmi Ferguson, is hard at work with our new lobbyist, Bryce Docherty, to advise and assist our State Government Affairs (SGA) committee with co-chairs Nancy Graf, MD and Sharon Pham, MD.
Policies at the state affecting Mental health are also a priority. I attended the recent AAP CA Mental Health Advocacy Panel Retreat lead by Diane Dooley, MD and Renee Wachtel, MD working to coordinate our pediatric input for implementation of Mental Health services in California.
We continue our work bringing California pediatricians together on issues affecting the health and well-being of children and our profession of pediatrics. There must be a way for us to impact poverty and climate change, support minoritized youth, input in public health and overuse of toxic drugs as well as avoid tragedies from gun violence in our communities.
Please continue hopping forward. Thank you for all you do!
Yasuko Fukuda, MD FAAP
Chair, AAP District IX California