Benard P.Dreyer, M.D., FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
Letter from the President
As the nation comes together following an embattled election – and a historically
volatile and negative campaign, I remind myself that the AAP is non-partisan but unabashedly
pro-children and families.
Whatever the future holds, the AAP and its member pediatricians will be there working
with the Trump administration to help children and support pediatricians. I hope you’ve
all read our Blueprint for Children: How the Next President Can Build a Foundation for a Healthy
Future. There’s a lot at stake for children and families, and our Blueprint for Children
is our way forward. The Blueprint lays out an administrative and legislative agenda
for all children — rich or poor — as well as for the needs of pediatricians. It’s
already being used by government agencies to prepare their transition plans, and it
will be our roadmap for advocacy in the coming years.
Whatever the future holds, the AAP will care about all children. This year has seen a redoubling of our efforts to help poor children and
families, starting with release of our policy statement Poverty and Child Health in the United States. This year also has seen the Academy’s valiant efforts to help immigrant children,
especially those escaping the carnage of Central America with their families or as
unaccompanied minors. This year has seen a more specific focus on transgender children
and youths, defending their rights in schools and thinking about how pediatricians
can best support their right to be whoever they want to be. This year has seen a continuation
of our efforts globally to help babies survive and thrive as well as a special focus
on the children of Puerto Rico and the impact of Zika. Indeed, we care about all children!
Whatever the future holds, the AAP will care about all pediatricians. I sometimes hear from members that they applaud our efforts for children
but wish we did more for pediatricians. I reject that false dichotomy. What is good
for children, like reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and
Medicaid expansion to improve access, also is good for pediatricians. And what is
good for pediatricians, like better payments from all insurers so they can continue
to see all children and provide them high-quality care, is essential for children.
Our recent statements on vaccine hesitancy and vaccine non-medical exemptions clearly
are in support of pediatricians but also are efforts to keep children protected. I
suspect we don’t communicate well all that we are doing for pediatricians, such as
payments for various billing codes,
changes in the Maintenance of Certification process requested by our members,
pediatric-friendly electronic health records, and
inclusion of pediatrics front and center in the transformations in health care.
We’re not always successful, but we are determined in these efforts. We focus on our
members in private practice and those who are employed, on our early career members
and our seniors, on our generalists and subspecialists. Indeed, we care about all pediatricians.
Whatever the future holds, we’ll remain constant in our pursuit of our mission and
look to the future of our organization. This year, the Board of Directors and Executive
Committee are developing a strategic plan for the AAP. The plan will include a focus
on physician wellness and on leadership training for pediatricians at every level
of career. And we will have a strategy that will transform our organization from digitized
paper to truly digital. We are committed to strengthening our chapters. The AAP needs
to thrive and flourish if it is going to be there for children and for pediatricians
in the changing health care and federal government environment.
In closing, I want to thank you for your friendship and support. I very much believe
in servant leadership and have tried to lead the AAP in that manner. It has been my
great privilege to serve you. For those who feel less than well-served, I ask for
your understanding. For those who do feel well-served, let me say that it was really
you, not I, who accomplished it all.
Let us go forward together, strong and determined in our love of children. Remember
it is all about all the children.