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MNAAP Newsletter

Word from the President: Lori DeFrance


lori-defranceWith humility and gratitude, I have transitioned into the role of MNAAP president. Dr. Kiragu, our past president, has been an outstanding role model for leadership as he has guided us through the past two years with unwavering dedication and focus. Thank you, Dr Kiragu!

I will take this opportunity to introduce myself. I have practiced general pediatrics for 29 years in Duluth. How lucky am I to see the expansive and stunning vista of Lake Superior every day as I drive down the hill to The Duluth Clinic. My husband is a pharmacist at a Federal Prison Camp. I have a daughter who is starting her second year of medical school and a son who is an electrical engineering student. We became empty nesters two years ago. Much to her delight, our French Bulldog, Rosie, has become the center of attention in our household.

In June, I attended the AAP District VI meeting in Itasca, Illinois. This is an opportunity to interact with the chapter leaders of other states and Canadian provinces in our District, and to hear an update on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ priorities, challenges and strategies for action and ongoing advocacy. Dr Kyle Yasuda, president-elect of the AAP, opened the session discussing these key areas of concern: detention of immigrant children, physician health and wellness, diversity and inclusion initiatives, NAS and the opioid crisis, and e-cigarettes.

I gathered some interesting take away information from the many sessions – I will highlight toxic stress and implicit bias here.

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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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