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MNAAP Newsletter

Word from the President: Dr. Andrew Kiragu


Summer is just around the corner!

I write this letter with mixed emotions since it will be the last as your Chapter president. This summer I will be handing over the reins to Dr. Lori DeFrance.

Serving as your president has truly been one of the great honors of my life. Two years ago getting ready to embark on this journey, I would never have imagined the challenges that children and their families both in our state and across the country would be facing. As in the words of the poet Robert Burns, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” I quickly discovered that the challenges facing the children we serve are often fluid and often affected by the vagaries of the society we live in.

Our current political dispensation has meant ongoing threats to access to health care, challenges to immigrant populations, the loss of environmental protections that have implications for children and growing disparities in health and educational outcomes. Together, however, we have confronted these challenges on behalf of our patients and their families.

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Word from the President

AndrewKiraguAndrew Kiragu, MD, FAAP

Since this is my first message of the year, I want to take this opportunity to wish each one of you Happy New Year! It is my sincere hope that the holiday season went well for you and your families.

As we embark on 2018, it is instructive to reflect on the year we have had and the one that lies ahead. I recently reviewed my message to you from around this time last year, and it is interesting — albeit somewhat sad — how many of the concerns we had remain the same.

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Word from the President

AndrewKiraguBy Andrew Kiragu, MD, FAAP

Fall is here, and with it, bright and vibrant colors, a final burst of life before winter’s senescence. I hope that you have all been able to take some time to enjoy these changing seasons and perhaps draw lessons and some comfort from them. Lessons that beyond the dark and cold winter days ahead comes spring.

These are definitely dark and difficult times we are living in. Last month, a lone gunman shot almost 600 of his fellow human beings, killing 58 of them and himself. We may never know why. Sadly, this mass shooting incident is just one of over 299 this year. So far in 2017, there have been almost 13,000 gun related deaths including those of 599 children between 0-11 years of age and an additional 2,700 deaths of kids aged 12-17.

In response to this carnage, our members of Congress offer “thoughts and prayers” and seem unwilling and/or unable to enact any meaningful gun safety legislation that would make mass shootings like this less likely. Indeed, before the shooting, Congress was getting set to schedule a vote on the NRA-backed Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which among other things would allow the purchase of silencers (apparently to “protect hunters hearing”) and armor-piercing bullets.

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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

AndrewKiraguWarm greetings! I hope that your Spring season is going well and that you, your families and the children you care for in practices and hospitals across the state are doing great! 
What a rollercoaster the past few months have been. I want to thank you all for the work that you have done to advocate on behalf of Minnesota’s children. I especially want to thank the 160 residents and pediatricians who attended our Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol to meet with their representatives and the many others who could not attend but wrote their state and federal legislators.

While Republicanefforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make significant cuts to Medicaid appear to have faltered, the risk to these programs that enable access to health care for over 500,000 children across our state remains real a

nd demands our constant vigilance. In addition, locally proposed HHS budget cuts have the potential to impact health systems across our state, which could limit access to care. We have been monitoring negotiations between the governor and state Republican legislative leaders so we can update Minnesota pediatricians as soon as we have more information.

In the meantime, there continue to be a number of other issues that impact the children we serve, from the administration’s immigration policy to mental health care access, gun safety and vaccine refusal. On these and other concerns that affect our patients, I am encouraged by your enthusiasm and engagement. Together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of children here and abroad.

I look forward to seeing you at our May 12 Hot Topics in Pediatrics Conference & Annual Dinner and to continuing our conversations and action on behalf of Minnesota’s children.

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