My colleague and AAP Public Health Special Interest Group co-chair, Lillianne Lewis MD, MPH, FAAP, recounted to me her experience with one of the highlighted case examples, a coordinated response to Zika. She worked closely with pediatric providers and specialists, public health departments and public health labs, non-governmental organizations and federal agencies.
"Through collaboration and coordination, our common goal was to optimize the care of infants and families impacted by Zika," said Dr. Lewis, who also is an executive member of the academy's Section on Epidemiology, Public Health, and Evidence. At a 2-day joint meeting hosted by AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she helped lead three diverse, multidisciplinary workgroups to critically think through the evaluation and management of babies with possible congenital Zika virus infection. Sharing ideas, identifying needs and resources, engaging leaders across sectors and developing joint educational activities, participants created updated
Zika guidance for healthcare providers.
"The experience truly highlighted the importance of collaboration and the success that can be attained when partners work together," Dr. Lewis said.
"We are all pieces of the population health puzzle," she said. "Collaboration is essential to solve the puzzle, create effective solutions to the challenges we collectively face, and optimize the health of our children and our communities."
My patient is thriving and doing well now. Laboratory testing showed some signs of hypothyroidism and, with help from an endocrinologist, we started him on medication quickly. After our discussion, his parents decided to proceed with his hepatitis B vaccine. The public health care coordinator has been in touch with the family and is working on rental assistance through their church. As a team, we were able to help support this baby and his family on the best path toward a healthy life.
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Gerri Mattson, MD, MSPH, FAAP, a public health pediatrician with the child health clinic at Wake County Health and Human Services in Raleigh, NC, co-chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Public Health Special Interest Group
Lillianne Lewis MD, MPH, FAAP, co-chairs the Public Health Special Interest Group with Dr. Mattson. She also serves as an executive member of the AAP Section on Epidemiology, Public Health, and Evidence, and is a Preventive Medicine Resident with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.