BOSTON – Renee R. Jenkins, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will address attendees on Oct. 11, 2008, at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition (NCE) in Boston. In her address, Jenkins emphasized the urgency of making the right choices for child health at the national and state level.
“The future of a nation is molded by how its children are nurtured to develop into competent and contributing adults,” Dr. Jenkins said. “We must partner with other organizations and individuals who recognize the need for investing in our children. We must stand up, speak up, and step up for children.”
With the national election less than a month away, health care providers must take the opportunity to support candidates who foster child-friendly health and education policies and ensure that all children will have access to affordable, quality health care, Dr. Jenkins said.
Dr. Jenkins highlighted a significant challenge faced by pediatricians in the past year: Parents’ questions about vaccinating their children. In response to a growing concern about our nation becoming vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles and meningitis, the AAP and the nation’s leading medical organizations and advocacy groups formed the Immunization Alliance. The Alliance issued a call to action in September asking policy-makers, physicians, media and the public to support immunizations. The Alliance also urged parents to rely on credible sources of information when making decisions about vaccinating their children.
Dr. Jenkins’ address also noted a partnership between the AAP and Every Child By Two, which includes a new public service campaign featuring actress Amanda Peet. Dr. Jenkins appeared at a news conference with Ms. Peet and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in New York to launch the video PSA in August.
The AAP’s newest initiative, Vision of Pediatrics 2020, will begin next month, Dr. Jenkins said. The changing environment of medicine and the increasing diversity in our child health population will require new approaches for pediatric practices to survive and thrive. Retail-based clinics and other health entities and professions are encroaching on the pediatric field in preventive and special care services. The AAP and pediatricians must be prepared to improve access to health care in all communities. We must be prepared to provide resources for children to receive the best health care possible in medical homes in their communities by health professionals delivering the highest quality pediatric care, Dr. Jenkins said.