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MNAAP Newsletter

Member Profile: Emily Chapman, MD, FAAP

When did you know you wanted to become a pediatrician?
When I went to medical school, it was only to be a pediatrician. I had long known children were amazing, and I wanted to spend my life surrounded by them. And I adored partnering with the parents who loved them to help bring comfort. The worst part of medical school was suffering through all those adult rotations. Ugh. I don’t know how those guys do it!

You were recently named Children’s new CMO. What are you most excited to work on in this role?
The privilege that I have in this role is the chance to impact our culture – who we are, what we bring to work, and what we offer those we touch. These are terribly challenging times in medicine, but if we remember why we’re here, and who we’re here with, the calling will grab us all over again. If we see our potential, we will realize it. I’d like to help people see it.

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Member Profile: Claire Neely, MD, FAAP


ClaireNeely1. What do you like best about your role at ICSI?
I really appreciate the chance to work on difficult health care problems facing our state.  I believe the partnership of care delivery and health plans is vital to transforming our system to provide the care that our patients deserve.  Our work brings together health system leaders, practicing clinicians, patients and other stakeholders and provides the time and space to understand what is and isn’t working from all points of view, and consider actions to begin to close the gaps.

I also get to work with a great team at ICSI.  We have a staff of highly capable people, all driven to accomplish our mission of supporting the health system as it moves toward better care, smarter spending, healthier people and professional satisfaction for health care workers.

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Member Profile: Janna Gewirtz-O’Brien, MD, FAAP

gewirtz-obrien-janna-15933253What do you like best about being a pediatrician at Mayo?
I went into pediatrics to help children and adolescents of all backgrounds thrive. I love watching my patients grow and develop at every visit. I am incredibly grateful for my wonderful interdisciplinary team at Mayo. There is a true appreciation of the biologic, psychological and social determinants of health. The whole team works together to provide endless support for my patients and their families.

What’s one pediatric issue you are particularly passionate about and why?
I am particularly passionate about mental health and substance abuse among adolescents. Mental illness touches the lives of many of my patients. In 2013, 15 percent of 9th graders in the state of Minnesota reported seriously considering suicide and there is good evidence to support that the number of suicides in the state of Minnesota is on the rise. When I meet a teenager who is struggling with mental illness, I am full of hope that we can help them feel better, return to function and thrive. There is so much that we as pediatricians can do in our offices, in our communities and in our state to promote positive mental health.

You’re a board member of MNAAP. What benefits have you gained from your involvement?
I have met a dynamic group of pediatricians who share my passion for advocacy. The members of the Minnesota AAP leadership team work tirelessly on behalf of Minnesota’s children and families. They have helped engage me in legislative advocacy. Pediatricians’ Day at the Capital is just one of many opportunities to speak to legislators on behalf of children. I have also enjoyed being involved in work groups targeting mental health, poverty and health disparities.

Which other organizations or initiatives are you currently involved with?
I work as a volunteer physician at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center Health Clinic and serve on the board of Rochester Students’ Health Services, the organization that runs this clinic. Seeing students at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center has helped to drive my passion for working with adolescents.

What’s one thing most people are surprised to learn about you?
I am a passionate Rochesterian! Prior to moving to Rochester, Minnesota, I lived in Rochester, New York, where I attended college and medical school at the University of Rochester. I still sport my Rochester Yellowjacket gear around town in Minnesota. It is a constant source of confusion for family and friends. Go Yellowjackets!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
These days, my favorite activities include chasing my 1-year-old daughter around the park and watching her explore the world. My husband and I love finding new adventures for her around Minnesota.

Anything else you want to add?
I would encourage Minnesota pediatricians to take advantage of all that the Minnesota AAP has to offer. Whether it is a webinar on children’s mental health, an opportunity in legislative advocacy or involvement with a grant to combat food insecurity within your practice, the AAP has a lot to offer. We are always looking for ways to better support pediatricians, our patients and their families. The Minnesota AAP is a place for your voice to be heard on behalf of all children.


Member Profile: Lori DeFrance, MD, FAAP

lori-defranceWhat does a typical day or week look like for you?

I see patients in clinic 3 days per week. I round in the nursery daily as needed to see newborns. My section chair responsibilities involve numerous meetings and leadership duties. I also teach medical students and family practice residents who rotate through our clinic.

What do you enjoy about working in Duluth? What makes this region special to you?

I have lived and worked in Duluth since I completed my pediatric residency in North Carolina in 1989. I thoroughly enjoyed living in North Carolina, but I wanted to return to my Midwest roots since I grew up in North Dakota. I was drawn to Duluth and the surrounding region’s beauty and recreational opportunities. Lake Superior is the centerpiece of our landscape here and I never grow tired of seeing and enjoying this grand lake. My husband and I also own a cabin on a lake close to Ely, MN. It is a very quiet lake so it has become a sanctuary for us where I can enjoy peaceful activities like canoeing and kayaking. I am able to sit on the dock and read a book while listening to the loon’s call – quintessential Minnesota lake living.

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Member Profile: Sheldon Berkowitz, MD, pediatrician at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota


What does a typical day or week look like for you?
I work half-time in our general pediatric clinic at Children’s Minnesota, seeing patients two mornings and two afternoons a week. The other part of my time is spent as the Physician Advisor for Children’s, supporting our in-patient Case Management, Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) and Revenue Management programs.

While in clinic I see a wide variety of patients, including many patients with complex health care needs and a large number of non-English speaking immigrants. I am also involved with our hospital’s Ethics Committee – both providing consultation and education.

What’s one pediatric issue you are particularly passionate about and why?
There are actually many things I’m passionate about, including providing equitable care to everyone, providing care that is needed (rather than mandated by various agencies), and preventing gun violence.

But most important is making sure my patients are fully immunized. It is incredibly frustrating to me when families refuse to vaccinate their children for reasons that are not based in science. However, I am committed to continuing to work with these families in the hopes they will ultimately agree to the needed vaccinations.

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