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MNAAP Newsletter

Advocacy Begins with Listening

edwards-r-annebw150By MNAAP Policy Chair Anne Edwards, MD, FAAP

Child advocacy might be defined as speaking out on behalf of children. And yet, it might be said that advocacy really begins with listening. As pediatricians with varied backgrounds, advocacy is at the core of our work. We are privileged to partner with children and families to promote health and overall wellbeing. As we partner, we listen to the stories — successes and challenges — of children. This informs our initial (often individual) advocacy: communicating with a school, addressing food insecurity or completing a prior authorization form. This individual advocacy may lead to engaging more broadly on a community level by actively participating in coalitions to address issues such as childhood obesity.

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Our Success Begins Election Day: November 4

By Anne Edwards, MD, MNAAP Policy Chair

There’s an old saying that “in a democracy decisions are made by those who show up” and there’s no truer example of that than Election Day.

Influencing the decisions made in Washington and St. Paul begins by making your voice heard at the polls. And given that our patients can’t vote, our duty to be engaged is all the greater to show up on November 4 to add our voice.

Politics in Minnesota is often a retail affair, and candidates can often be found in your neighborhood, at local forums, or at the Friday night football game. When you see candidates, take the time to ask them how they’ll vote on issues that matter to kids. Ask them how they’ll work to make Minnesota a healthier place for children, and if they’ll support greater access to care for uninsured and underinsured kids and families. For good or for ill, the choices made on Election Day impact our patients and our profession in countless ways.

Politics can be distasteful to many, and often for good reason. Too much time and focus is spent on partisan bickering and game playing. But behind those headlines good work can be done at the Legislature.

I’m proud of the work that the MNAAP accomplished at the Capitol this past year. We restored the newborn screening program following devastating legislative and judicial actions. We partnered with many others to further regulate the sale of e-cigarettes, ban minor access to artificial tanning facilities, and make critical investments in early brain development. We’ve made great strides on behalf of Minnesota’s kids, but much more work remains. How successful we’ll be in many ways is determined starting on Election Day.

Your vote is your voice. For our patients and our profession, use that voice. Plan to vote on Tuesday, November 4.

MNAAP Pushing Legislation to Restore Newborn Screening

By Anne Edwards, MD, FAAP, chair of MNAAP’s policy committee…

In the midst of all drama and sports analysis of the Super Bowl of late, it seems fitting to speak of offense and defense.

As someone who has spent her fair share of time in legislators’ offices or testifying in front of legislative committees on behalf of our children and their health, I am thrilled to share with you a subtle but important shift as we approach the 2014 session. This year is different in one key way: We’re on offense.

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MNAAP Advocating Against Destruction of Newborn Screening Test Results

By Anne Edwards, MD, FAAP, chair of MNAAP’s Policy Committee…

With just a few drops of blood from a newborn’s heel, Minnesota’s newborn screening program has been credited with detecting more than 50 types of treatable disorders in hundreds of babies across the state. Early detection has meant the difference between life and death for many babies and their future siblings. In fact, the CDC recognizes newborn screening as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements in the 21st century and many experts have cited Minnesota as the “gold standard” for the rest of the country.

But a new law is threatening the future of this life-saving program in Minnesota — and MNAAP members are taking action.

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MNAAP Policy Priorities: Recap of 2013

By Anne Edwards, MD, FAAP, chair of MNAAP’s policy committee and chair of pediatrics at Park Nicollet

At the end of each session, I am reminded that we as children’s advocates participate in a marathon, not a sprint. MNAAP will continue to move forward, advocating on behalf of children to continue to move key issues forward in the coming year.

Many thanks to Eric Dick, MNAAP lobbyist, for his long hours of dedication. And many thanks to all of you who participated as child advocates during the session…look for more opportunities to engage in the coming months.

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