President's Message


Sue Bostwick

I am truly honored to begin my term as President of the APA. I give my sincere thanks to Sue Bostwick for all her hard work and significant accomplishments as our immediate past-president.  Sue and others (especially Mary Ottolini) worked to finalize our recently developed strategic plan and to restructure our Board. A change in our bylaws should be ready for your vote soon!  I also thank Sue for her tremendous support and assistance as I begin my term.

 I hope you are enjoying your summer. It has been quite warm here on the East Coast. Things are heating up at the APA as well. There is a lot going on and it is all good stuff.

First we are recovering from a very exciting PAS meeting in Toronto. I hope you agree, this was an outstanding meeting. It was wonderful to see so many friends from the APA in Toronto and our organization was well represented. The PAS meeting is always a great opportunity to “smooze” with colleagues at the regional breakfasts or the many receptions, and this year we made a special effort to orient first-time attendees and new members to our organization and to the meeting.  APA activities such as the annual Speed Mentoring session were highly successful. If you have never participated as a mentor or mentee, I strongly encourage you to sign up next year. It is inspiring to witness the enthusiasm of our young trainees and junior faculty, and they truly appreciate the guidance they receive from our experienced mentors.  Thanks to Tumaini Coker, APA’s Membership, Diversity and Inclusion Chair, for organizing this superb session in Toronto.

Once again, our SIGs were fantastic. At PAS, the SIGs brought national and world leaders together to discuss important issues with our members.  I was struck not only by the talent in each room, but also by the energy of the participants in the audience. There are very few forums such as the APA SIGs for academic leaders to share their knowledge and opinions so passionately. This year, the SIGs for Race in Medicine and Emergency Medicine combined their programs.  The room was full and the audience was engaged.  The SIGs are highly valued by APA members. Thanks to all our SIG Chairs and to Alison Holmes, APA’s Region and SIG Chair, who skillfully organized and assisted our SIGs. 

The Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting is obviously very important to us. Almost half of our APA membership attend the annual PAS meeting!!  Our members contribute greatly to the success of the meeting with fascinating scientific presentations, ground-breaking research abstracts, a great mix of posters and dynamic interactive workshops.  Judy Shaw, APA’s Secretary, deserves special thanks for working tirelessly in recent months to ensure that the process for abstract submission to the meeting is at a very high level. New procedures will be in place for 2019, and we are counting on our members to again serve as reviewers and moderators. As the PAS meeting continues to grow each year (almost 10,000 attendees in Toronto) it is no longer possible to run the meeting informally, as has been done in the past. The four partner organizations of PAS (APA, AAP, APS, SPR) recently decided to form a non-profit corporation to run the meeting. The APA will be actively involved as PAS, Inc. moves forward. 

In other news, we continue to make progress in our efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the APA and in academic pediatrics in general. We thank Tumaini Coker for her leadership in this endeavor.  Our New Century Scholars program has had another excellent year. Working with the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Pediatric Society, the APA is now able to expand the NCS program to 20 new scholars this year.  In addition, Glenn Flores was successful in securing grant money to continue the RAPID program, offering grants and mentorship to investigators from underrepresented minorities. There are also plans to expand our Young Investigator Award grants to be certain that investigators from underrepresented minorities can participate and contribute research related to underserved and vulnerable populations.

Paul Chung just ended his term as chair of the Pediatric Policy Council. As you may know, Paul serves as President -Elect of the APA this year. He reports that children’s health had a surprisingly good year. Medicaid survived, CHIP was renewed for 10 more years and NIH funding is at an all-time high. The PPC also recently submitted a letter to the administration requesting $50 million for gun violence research. Thank you, Paul, for leading the way and for keeping us informed.

 At the end of July, the APA will host the annual Pediatric Hospital Medicine meeting Atlanta (cosponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Society for Hospital Medicine).  More than 1200 attendees are expected; the largest PHM meeting ever. The APA is very supportive of this new specialty and this year’s meeting should be outstanding.

Our official journal, Academic Pediatrics continues to excel. There is no other publication so devoted to educational research, health policy, advocacy and child health care. We should all be proud of our journal and give a ‘shout-out’ to Peter Szilagyi, the Editor-in-Chief.

Finally, we are forming two new important Task Forces within the APA in addition to creating numerous other leadership opportunities.  One of the task forces will focus on Wellness and Resiliency, under the leadership of Arvin Garg and Janet Serwint. Everyone in medicine is cognizant of stress and burnout, and the APA recognizes the unique stressors of academic pediatrics. Second, the Resident Engagement Task Force will look to find ways to get more pediatric residents (our future!) interested and involved in the APA. We look forward to their ideas and guidance. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer leader for our organization, sign up through our Call for Volunteers. An announcement is scheduled for mid-July.

It would take forever to tell you everything that is going on at the APA. Our wonderful committees, research networks and scholars programs have all been very busy, productive and innovative.   I hope you can see that the APA is a very special organization. I am amazed by all the dedicated people who tirelessly volunteer and accomplish so much.  For more than 50 years, the APA has provided support and a framework for their great work, but it is our devoted members who contribute their time and talent.  I cannot possibly mention them all by name or adequately thank them for all they do for the APA, but we certainly appreciate their efforts. We are also fortunate to have Jessica Konrath as our Executive Director. Everyone who works with Jessica recognizes that she is so talented, dedicated and supportive. 

I sincerely hope you will get involved in the APA, if you are not already doing so.  A call for volunteers will go out shortly. Everyone in our organization understands how challenging (and rewarding) it is to be involved in academic pediatrics.  We are privileged to have so many extraordinary colleagues in our association.


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