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MNAAP Newsletter

The 2015 Session: New Faces, New Opportunities

By MNAAP Lobbyist Eric Dick

Two statewide elected officials who came to office via recounts reelected easily. Another partisan flip in the state’s House of Representatives. In other words, November 2014 was a typically atypical Minnesota election.

Political observers in Minnesota have become used to the unusual in recent years, and the 2014 election was no different. Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Al Franken were first elected by the narrowest of margins during their first campaigns for their offices, though both Democrats were handily reelected last November. The Republican wave that swept most of the nation on Election Day did not entirely miss Minnesota, though, as the GOP retook the House of Representatives. This is the 4th partisan flip of the lower body in as many elections. The Senate, of course, was not on the ballot in 2014, and remains in DFL control.

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Word from the President: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

By Susan A. Berry, MD

Happy new year to all of you and to all of the children and families that we serve. 2014 was an important year for our chapter, and I’m proud to look back on all that was accomplished.

MNAAP received the award for Outstanding Large Chapter at the AAP Annual Leadership Forum last spring — and we hadn’t even yet completed our important goal of saving Minnesota’s newborn screening program! This was a critical effort accomplished through the active support of our members and coalitions built based on our presence as a trusted and valued voice for children.

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Pediatric Trauma in Minnesota: How are our Children Doing?

By Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physicians Jeffrey P. Louie, MD, FAAP, and Ronald A. Furnival, MD, FAAP,
University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) listed the leading causes of unintentional pediatric deaths: suffocation, (under age 1); drowning (ages 1 to 4); and motor vehicle accidents (ages 5 to 19). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) also publishes data on the leading causes of death, and not surprisingly, the groups are identical. Between 2004 and 2013, there were 169 suffocation deaths, 36 drowning deaths, and 1,085 deaths from motor vehicle crashes among children in Minnesota.

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Building Healthy Development for a Lifetime Effect

By Michael Georgieff, MD, FAAP

Every child has a right to optimal cognitive, social and emotional behavioral development. Since behavior is the efferent expression of the brain, medical stakeholders — including pediatricians — have a stake in ensuring brain health across the lifespan. Brain health begins prenatally and likely even pre-conceptionally, implying that the first point of education/prevention may be in non-pregnant women of child-bearing age. Many of the principles of developmental (i.e., fetal) origins of adult metabolic health (obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension) apply to adult health (e.g., depression, anxiety, schizophrenia). Thus, the metabolic and structural brain development that occurs early in life provides a scaffold for complex adult mental capabilities. New brain/behavior assessment tools have allowed identification of important environmental events that promote or pose risks to normal brain development and identify critical and sensitive periods for these environmental effects.

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Sustaining Minnesota’s Pediatric Workforce

In St. Cloud, pediatricians are flown in on a regular basis to help staff the local PICU. In Mankato, about one quarter of hospitalists are residents of Wisconsin or communities outside the city. Locum tenens are plugged in at hospitals and clinics all over the state.

Recruiting and retaining full-time primary care providers at various stages of their careers isn’t easy, especially in rural Minnesota. And the problem could get worse in the coming years.

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