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MNAAP Newsletter

Word from the President


By AndrewKiraguDr. Andrew Kiragu

Dear colleagues, hope your summer is going well and that you have each been able to spend a little time enjoying the warm weather with your families.
We continue to live in uncertain times. It is sometimes hard to believe that only a mere six months into the current U.S. administration and Congress, the safety net is under assault. More than ever we are faced with the question: Is health care a right or a privilege? What responsibility do we as a society have toward our children, our poor and our elderly?

As I write this, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are haggling over how to get a bill passed that will ultimately result in tens of millions of our fellow citizens, many of them children, losing health coverage.

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Word from the President


By Andrew Kiragu, MD, FAAP

Happy New Year to you! I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season.

Please join me in congratulating two of our very own: Dr. Anne Edwards and Dr. Debra Waldron are soon taking up senior positions at the national AAP. Dr. Edwards was named senior vice president of Primary Care and Subspecialty Pediatrics and will lead pediatric practice-related initiatives and programs for AAP members. Dr. Waldron was named senior vice president of Child Health and Wellness. She will direct the AAP programs and initiatives related to child health promotion and safety, developmental pediatrics and preventive services, and children with special health needs.

I would like to especially thank Dr. Edwards for her years of service to our chapter, particularly for her leadership as president and most recently as chair of MNAAP’s policy committee.

We begin a year filled with potential challenges and a great deal of uncertainty but also with promise and possibilities for our patients and their families. It is unclear what implications the new political dispensation in our state and at the national level will have with regards to access to health care for children. Nevertheless, opportunities exist to work together with our elected officials to advance the care of children and to maintain the access to health care available to the most vulnerable in our society through programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and at least for now, the protections provided to children and families by the Affordable Care Act.

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Word from the MNAAP President: Dr. Andrew Kiragu


Dear colleagues, we are in the midst of election season and of what is likely one of the most consequential elections in recent times.

It goes without saying that the results of this election will have significant implications for children and their families here in the United States and around the world. While the media focus has been largely on the presidential contest, down-ballot state and local races also matter. I urge each one of you to vote and, if necessary, provide clinical coverage for your colleagues where possible so that they get a chance to vote as well.

What it comes down to is the need to approach this election with a view to which elected officials will best prioritize the needs of children and families.

The AAP has put forth a “Blueprint for Children” and I hope you will take a moment to read it. It is a wonderful document that outlines the key issues of concern facing our nations children. It presents specific policy recommendations for the federal government to align its activities to promote the health of children, support families, build communities, and ensure that our country leads the way for children.

The AAP website also has a “prescription to vote” this can be downloaded, printed and given to your patients and their parents encouraging them to vote.

Regardless of the result, our role as pediatricians will be to continue to strongly advocate for children locally, nationally and around the world. “Vote Kids!”


Word from the President

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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Member Profile: Andrew Kiragu, MD, FAAP, assistant chief of pediatrics and PICU medical director at HCMC

What made you decide to go into pediatrics?

I was born and raised in Kenya. Both my parents were in healthcare. My father was a physician and my mother is a nurse. Growing up, I really admired the way my parents cared for their patients and the impact they had on the lives of others. I remember one elderly gentleman who had driven over an hour to see my dad, but when he heard that he was out of town, he refused to see anyone else. I wanted to be the kind of physician my dad was. Unfortunately my father passed away during my residency, but I like to believe I’m making him proud.

After high school in Kenya, I joined Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada followed by medical school at Howard University in Washington, DC. I then came to Minnesota where I completed my residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics and subsequently a fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care. Why pediatrics? I have always enjoyed being around kids. They are energetic, curious, funny, loving human beings. They are also quite resilient and most, including some of the sickest patients in the PICU, are able to bounce back to health.

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