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Volume ONE Edition 6 of 6



  • From the Editor - Final Newsletter of 2014 - Jennifer Kett, MD, FAAP
  • What's a Doctor to do When They Finally Start Making Money? - Marc Yester, MD FAAP
  • AAP CATCH™ Grants for Residents, Fellowship Trainees, and Pediatricians
  • Practical Pediatrics CME Classes are Practical for You - Todd A. Mahr, MD, FAAAAI, FAAP
  • Red, Yellow, Blue, or Green - A Review of the 2014 YPLA Workshop - Rachel Dawkins, MD, FAAP
  • A Leadership Tale - Amber Fort, DO, MPH, FAAP

From the Editor, "See You in the New Year!"
Jennifer Kett, MD FAAP
SOECP Member Since February 15, 2013

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.                                                   –Melody Beattie (author)
The Holiday Season reminds us to be grateful for what is important in our lives-family and friends, health and wellness. But as cold-weather viruses spread and our clinics and wards overflow with patients, it can be a challenge to appreciate the gifts that are brought to us through our work. As you go through this season take note of the many gifts that our patients and their families bring to us: the ability to learn from them, to get to know them in a unique way, to walk with them through happiness or tragedy, to receive their faith and trust. As you endure that chilly walk to your car on yet another late evening, after yet another long and exhausting day, summon your gratitude--it may help to restore you for the next one.
This will be the final Newsletter of 2014; see you in the New Year!

What's a Doctor to Do When They Finally Start Making Money?
Marc Yester MD, FAAP
SOECP Member Since October 22, 2012

A s with the field of medicine, the financial world is increasing in its complexity: managing the expanding tax code, diversifying a financial portfolio, retirement planning, insurance coverage, etc. Certainly young professionals have the ability to learn the differences between a 403b and 401k, and to know the tax implications of a Roth IRA, but with the time and effort required to cover all the details and manage the day to day adjustments, you may be better off with a Financial Planner.
Financial planners can vary in their scope of practice, some covering specific forms of investing or specific types of client. Regardless, their purpose is to help you achieve your financial goals. There are numerous physician focused planners who understand our unique challenges:

  • Large student debt
  • Advanced age prior to receving any income
  • Unrealistic expectations of a "physician lifestyle"
  • Busy professional life
  • Protection from malpractice
  • Planning for purchasing a practice

When searching for the right individual for you, it is best to do some research.  Consider asking physician colleagues for recommendations, utilizing local businesses, or searching a large registry like National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). Since anyone can call themselves a Financial Planner, here are some pointers below to help sort through your candidates:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is the most important credential they can carry.  Similar to medical boards, the CFP status comes with a difficult test managed by the CFP Board of Standards.  The title requires a broad-base of knowledge in personal finances and ethical practice.
  • Planners are typically paid either fee-for-service or via commission.  The commission-based planner will be focused on selling you their company's products. Versus the fee-based planner which may have an up-front cost, hourly rate, or a ~1-3% cut of all your investments they're managing.
  • Look for the term fiduciary in their code of ethics policy.  This pledges the financial planner to act solely in your best interest at all times.
  • Do a brief investigation of your own to evaluate their resume, current credentials, and determine if they've ever been under investigation or have criminal complaints.

AAP CATCH™ Grants for Residents, Fellowship Trainees, and Pediatricians
Submitted by:
Kathy Kocvara - AAP Staff

CATCH grant applications are now available for innovative community-based child health initiatives that will ensure all children have medical homes and access to health care services not otherwise available. Priority is given to projects serving communities with the greatest health disparities. Submission due date is January 30, 2015.
Resident grants: $2,000
Fellowship trainees and pediatricians: $10,000
Funded projects have focused on such topics as gun violence, adolescent refugee health, immunizations, domestic violence survivors, and youth whose parents are incarcerated. Other successful applications have focused on LGBTQ health, delinquency prevention, parenting education, continuity of care in juvenile justice, and oral health.
For more information visit or contact Kathy Kocvara at, 847/434-7632.

Practical Pediatrics CME Courses are Practical for You
Submitted by:
Todd A. Mahr, MD, FAAAAI, FAAP
Chairperson, Practical Pediatrics Course Planning Group
A s a young physician, one of the first things you learn when you're done with your formal education is that you're not done learning – you're never done learning.  Changing pharmaceuticals has you questioning which treatments are best for ADHD and depression, you're not sure which sports injuries you can treat and which you should refer, and your patients are presenting with rashes you don't recognize and fevers you can't explain.  And then there are all those questions from parents about poop.
AAP Practical Pediatrics CME courses (PPCs) are just right for you.  With the emphasis on "practical," these courses offer answers to the kinds of issues all of us face in our daily practice.  Each course features six expert faculty discussing both the common problems and hot topics that challenge all of us, and each course provides general session lectures and breakout seminars to ensure you have direct access to the course faculty and their expertise.
Practical Pediatrics CME courses also offer a practical way for you to combine CME with R&R.  Scheduled with half-day sessions in vacation destinations, PPCs are designed to give you excellent and most practical pediatric CME while also providing you and your family with a relaxing getaway.  Whether you enjoy the beach, the ski slopes, theme parks, historic landmarks, or world-class cities, there's a PPC course to meet your educational and recreational needs.
So whether you're looking to fill gaps in your training or learn about emerging issues, PPCs are the practical choice for your continuing medical education. Visit for more information. We look forward to seeing you soon.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Red, Yellow, Blue or Green?
Submitted by:
Rachel Dawkins, MD, FAAP
SOECP Member Since June 20, 2008
Red, yellow, blue or green? No, this wasn't a session on art, rather it was the first session of the Young Pediatric Leadership Alliance, a three year longitudinal curriculum designed to build and hone the skills set of the newest generation of pediatric leaders. This first cohort of 35 participants included early career physicians, chief residents, generalists and subspecialists--all with a common goal: advance as leaders within the Academy as well as in their careers.  
As we dove deeply into the traits of a great leader, one thing struck me. Leadership often comes back to understanding your personality and the personalities of the people you are working with. At the YPLA we used the PACE color palette to categorize personalities.  For instance, I am 100% "red." I am action oriented and a risk taker but I also want things done quickly and don't like to get bogged down in details. When working on projects I need the "yellow" people to plan the details, the "green" people to solve systems problems and the "blue" people to keep us from killing each other in the process. But knowing about oneself is only half the process; one must be able to adapt to other personality styles as the situation demands.
The lectures made me look at different situations that I encounter in my day-to-day life as an academic general pediatrician. Beyond the typical administrative meeting, understanding my leadership personality and the learning styles/needs of my residents has changed my role as a preceptor in Continuity Clinic. For example, it's tough for me to be quiet and thoughtfully listen to a new intern presenting a patient because the "red" in me must "speak to think" rather than "think to speak." But some of my residents are the other way around, needing a moment to compose their thoughts before presenting their patients.
Having the opportunity to delve more deeply into the skill sets that each of us brings to the table made the YPLA an invaluable experience. As we continue through this first year of the YPLA curriculum I am excited to hone my leadership skills and to mentor a new class of participants next year. I encourage any of you who are interested in leadership and professional development to apply to the program--the next cohort begins in Oct 2015!  If interested contact Kimberley VandenBrook at or 847-434-7134.

A Leadership Tale
Submitted by:
By Amber Fort, DO, MPH, FAAP
Right out of fellowship, I took a position as solo Neonatologist at an 18-bed, level 3A service in a rural community hospital.  Tasked with growing the unit, bringing evidence-based practices, and operating under an evolving accountable care model, I needed to be hard-working, dynamic, and collaborative.  Though I had no illusions, I felt prepared to take the challenge: well-mentored in a top-quality program, armed with public health background and leadership training, I took a deep breath, packed up my family, and jumped.  
After a two-year tenure my enthusiastic "jump" ended in a spectacular crash and burn.  There was a clear mis-match between the job and myself, and although I was able to grow from the experience, it took some really hard work for me to see it that way.  However, I realized that our failures can be our greatest source of learning if we embrace them.  To pay my learning forward, here are my top five lessons taken from this early-career leadership challenge:
1. Understand the human dynamics in which you will operate first. Are new team members welcomed, or differences of style perceived as infringement on "the way we do things here?" How are differences resolved? I noticed quickly that unit culture influences the speed with which change can be introduced and accepted. It can also offer clues to whether your particular communication and leadership style is a good fit.
2. Relationships are important, but not at the expense of credibility, integrity, or patient outcomes.  There were times when I felt that clinical issues required immediate changes in practice, but for some staff, this was extremely uncomfortable.  I moved the needle as slowly as I felt it safe, but at the bedside, the plan of care for the human life in front of me always took precedence over building support for it.  The patient outcomes eventually spoke for themselves, but had interim costs.  
3. Don't lose control...of your anger, your tone, or your message.  In a moment of sheer frustration, I once lost my temper with a colleague over clinical care and blew a fuse...and a bridge.  That confrontation cost me an important relationship.  The focus shifted to how I had delivered the message rather than the message itself.  One caveat: the most diplomatic message delivery system in the world won't work if the audience doesn't want the message.  
4. Build support from the bottom-up.  Everyone wants to provide the best possible care for the patients.  It dawned on me too late that I had neglected thorough consideration of staff workflow and comfort level with new care plans before proceeding full-bore with implementation.  My plans would have been better received if I had encouraged staff to come up with the changes themselves, integrating self-discovered "potentially best practices" based upon their work processes and habits.  Patience pays, whenever possible.
5. Show genuine appreciation for others. CNA's, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, case managers, social workers, lactation nurses, feeding teams of speech and/or occupational therapists, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists all serve in unique capacity and evaluate infants from critical angles that are often unapparent to a new neonatologist just out of training in an academic center.
Ultimately, the right decision for me was to leave my position and start over.  But the experience has proved invaluable. By sharing with others, I have turned a negative experience into a positive growing experience.

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Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The recommendations in this publication do not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate.
Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Early Career Physicians