The event was very much in line with the SOPT 2017-2018 annual advocacy campaign - Access 4 Kids - which aims to advocate for improved access to healthcare for all children, regardless of their medical conditions, living situation, country of origin, or preferred gender or sexual orientation. The Access 4 Kids campaign strives to educate and empower pediatricians-in-training to advocate on a community, state, and national level. The campaign focuses on four populations of children, all under the larger umbrella of access: (1) children in foster care or group homes, (2) immigrant children, (3) LGBTQ youth, and (4) children with special health care needs. These groups of children represent some of the most vulnerable populations in this country in terms of medical care access, and many rely heavily on public health insurance--including Medicaid and CHIP.
Harrison Hayward, MD, a first-year resident who serves as Assistant Executive Coordinator of Communications for AAP's Section on Pediatric Trainees said the event showed him the impact trainees can have at an early point in their careers--and beyond.
"What's so inspiring to me about our generation of budding pediatricians, is our capacity to mobilize quickly and collectively on a national scale," he said. "The medium of social media has allowed us to reach out to all corners of the country and turn each of our distinct programs into members of a larger, connected community," I hope that this photo campaign has shown our constituent that we are significant and that we can have a powerful impact when we work together, so let's use this momentum to make a tangible impact on policy in America moving forward."
As healthcare policy continues to evolve and stagnate, we have seen thousands of pediatricians across the country take a stand to defend a child's right to quality health care. As pediatricians-in-training, we are inspired by their leadership. We are finding our own voices as advocates, and learning what it truly means to be a pediatrician beyond the exam room. While we may be just starting in our careers, this day of action helped us realize that our collective voice can make an impact for children and that, together, we can gently shake the world.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Molly Markowitz is the Executive Coordinator of Medical Student Initiatives for the Section on Pediatric Trainees and a fourth year medical student at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. Follow Molly on twitter: @mollymarkowitz
Rachel Nash is the Executive Coordinator of Child Health for the Section on Pediatric Trainees and a fourth year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. Follow Rachel on twitter: @rachelnash21 and Text "Access4Kids" to 41411 to sign up for monthly text updates on the advocacy campaign.