In record numbers, more than 200 pediatricians traveled from across the country, including a large delegation from California, to attend the 26th AAP Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C this April.
The Central Valley of California was represented by leadership from its newest pediatric residency program, Valley Children's Healthcare. As the recipient of one of only four national AAP Advocacy Training Grant Awards, through the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative, the new residency program attended the national conference in order to obtain crucial advocacy training to develop their advocacy curriculum for their inaugural class.
At the Legislative Conference, participants attended many interactive skills building workshops, and received insight from leaders and policy experts regarding current child health priorities. All of these activities culminated in hands-on advocacy, where attendees went to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and keep Medicaid funding intact. Throughout the conference, attendees utilized social media for internet based advocacy, and continued to share the important messages surrounding continued access to care for children. Amidst all of the high level legislative policy discussed, one recurring theme emerged, one that pediatricians know well – the importance of telling our patients’ stories and being a voice for those that don’t get a vote.
Author: Janae Barker, D.O., FAAP, Chief Resident for Valley Children's Pediatric Residency Program.