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MNAAP Newsletter

Word from the President


AndrewKiragu
By Andrew Kiragu, MD

I am privileged to have the opportunity to serve as your president. I have some pretty big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of my predecessor, Dr. Susan Berry. Please join me in congratulating her for doing an outstanding job in representing our Chapter and the children of our state. She has presided over significant growth of the organization and been instrumental in efforts to further children’s health, the most notable of which was the passage of the newborn screening restoration law in 2014.

Children continue to face a number of challenges in Minnesota. One that many of you are undoubtedly familiar with is the significant difficulty with access to mental health services for pediatric patients. The MN Department of Human Services estimates that 109,000 children and youth, birth to age 21, in Minnesota need treatment for serious emotional disturbances. We will need to continue to work together to ensure adequate access to care for these children.

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A Loss to us All


SarahAtunahJay
By Sarah Atunah Jay, MD

As a pediatric physician, I have only once attended the funeral of a patient. It is a rare situation that children die, and I have been fortunate to have encountered very few of those occasions. A child’s death is traumatic to all parties involved: family members, friends, medical providers. As the medical team, we cannot but wonder if there was anything we could have done save that child. Wonder if we are implicated in their death.

I knew I had to attend the funeral. I remember the child. I remember the family. I was fairly certain no one else would attend the funeral from the medical establishment in which this child breathed his last breath. While I knew we did not raise the child, that we did not witness his first step, hold his hand on the way to school, or pray with him every night, I knew that we, the medical team, were in fact intimately woven into the fabric of his life. Therefore, though I was sad and regretful that my profession could not save his life, I also could not obviate myself from joining in his family’s marking of that life.

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Legislative Update


Eric Dick headshot

By Eric, Dick, MNAAP Lobbyist

The 2016 legislative session began with optimism for action on key items yet largely fizzed in the last minutes of session. With a large surplus awaiting legislators when the session began in March, elected officials hoped to pursue a broad agenda including significant new investments in the state’s transportation system, support for new capital projects via a substantial bonding bill, and both new spending on state priorities and tax relief. But as the days ticked down to the mandated adjournment date of May 23 it became increasingly clear that agreement on pieces necessary to bring the session to a successful, orderly close were out of reach. Left incomplete at the end of session were a tax relief bill, new transportation spending, and a bonding bill. As of this writing in late July, negotiations about a possible special session to complete work on some or all of these issues were rekindled, but a date has not yet been set. As the summer begins to turn to fall, legislators’ thoughts will be increasingly focused upon their re-election efforts.

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Inclusive and Equitable Care for LGBTQ Patients


By Angela Kade Goepferd, MD, FAAP, Director of Medical Education, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and Rhamy N. Magid, MD

As pediatricians, we are dedicated to the health of all children. Increasingly, this means addressing matters of sexual health, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Issues surrounding the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community have finally come to the forefront of public discourse in our country, presenting us with the opportunity to highlight the health needs of our LGBTQ patients.

As noted by the AAP Committee on Adolescence, “Being a member of this group of teenagers is not, in itself, a risk behavior…however, the presence of stigma from homophobia and heterosexism often leads to psychological distress, which may be accompanied by an increase in risk behaviors.” LGBTQ youth are at significantly higher risk than their peers for a number of health problems, including depression, suicidality, substance abuse, anxiety, eating disorders, homelessness, bullying, physical assault, survival sex, and sexual abuse. They are also significantly less likely to feel supported and understood by their parents, teachers and health care providers.

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Borderline Results – A Newborn Screening Perspective


By Sondra Rosendahl, MS, CGC; Maggie Dreon, MS, CGC; Amy Gaviglio, MS, CGC; and Beth-Ann Bloom, MS, CGC, 
Certified genetic counselors with the Minnesota Department of Health Newborn Screening Program

Newborn screening is the process of identifying newborns at risk for hidden, rare disorders and connecting them with health care providers who coordinate early diagnosis and treatment. In newborn screening, we often focus our educational efforts on describing scenarios of what happens when there is a positive or abnormal result. But what about the most common non-negative result seen in newborn screening? The borderline result.

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