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Volumne One, Edition 1 of 5, 2015



  • From the Chair - Ashley Miller, MD, FAAP
  • Weed Wise? The Opportunity to Protect The Brain - Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP
  • AAP CATCH™ Grants for Residents, Fellowship Trainees, and Pediatricians - Kathy Kocvara, Staff
  • If You Are Thinking Globally, Consider Thinking Locally - Damon Dixon, MD, FAAP
  • January is Birth Defects Prevention Month - Rachel Daskalov, MHA, Staff
  • YP Member Spotlght - Ashley Lamb, MD, MPH

From the Chair
Ashley Miller, MD FAAP
Chair, Section on Early Career Physicians
SOECP Member Since February 15, 2013
Hello everyone and Happy New Year!
Hopefully 2015 will bring great fun, happy and healthy patients, and joy to you and your families.  As many of you know, I have been active in the AAP since intern year, and am currently halfway through my second term as your Chair and Young Physician's Representative for District I.
2014 saw many great developments in the Section. We have worked diligently with the Section on Medical Students, Residents & Fellowship Trainees (SOMSRFT) to develop an online mentorship program which is being piloted as we speak. The goal is to connect people across the country with mentors in their area of interest, whether it be academics, career development, being a young leader, being a working mother, or anything else you could think of. How about being a pediatrician who is also a triathlete?  Stay tuned to become more involved.


Weed Wise? The Opportunity To Protect The Brain
Wendy Sue Swanson MD, MBE, FAAP
Things change quickly. With legalization of pot, weed, and marijuana edibles in certain states (Colorado, Washington) things are shifting in the teen brain -- in more ways than one. That bong and "doobie" you may recall from college is now being smartly packaged, sold in retails stores, and being re-defined among our teens. From pot-laden gummy bears to an old-fashioned joints, we're learning more about how teens perceive risk from marijuana and how pot use affects developing minds. Think shrinkage.

I practice pediatrics, blog, and do news reporting in Washington State. Anecdotally people are increasingly asking for my public opinion about (their) teen use of marijuana, as it seems pot is everywhere. In Washington and Colorado, two states where recreational marijuana is now legal, teens may be using marijuana earlier, and more often, as it's cooked into more and more products. With pot being more widely available, teens may infer safety where it doesn't exist.


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


If You Are Thinking Globally, Consider Thinking Locally!
Damon Dixon, MD, FAAP
A health care experience with the Indian Health Service is an alternative way to make an impact in public health issues, serving the indigenous people of the United States. The Indian Health Service (IHS) is a comprehensive community-oriented health care delivery system that serves American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). The IHS is a division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the IHS is to raise the health care status through advocacy, medical care, research, public policy and health promotion.
The health care delivery system is divided among 12 regions in the U.S that consists of medical clinics, health care centers and hospitals. IHS serves 2.1 million AI/AN and is the primary source of basic health care services on the Indian reservations.  AI/AN people have suffered from significant health disparities compared to other populations. A Native American child born today has a life expectancy that is four years shorter than other children. Other challenges include environmental issues, cultural medicine, health prevention and access of care.
To make an impact and make health care disparities a rarity, please contact  You can participate as a volunteer, externship or internship experience, medical provider, researcher or social worker.
It's time to set a course towards a healthier future for the first people of the United States of America.

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month
Submitted by:
Rachel Daskalov, MHA, Staff
Manager, Screening and Public Health Prevention Programs
January is Birth Defects Prevention Month  
The American Academy of Pediatrics is joining the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to invite women and their families to make a PACT to reduce the risk of birth defects in their future children by making healthy choices throughout their reproductive years. Birth defects are common, costly and critical. Every 4½ minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect. Pediatric clinicians can act to reduce the risk of certain birth defects, detect those that occur as soon as possible and prevent secondary complications.
Not all birth defects can be prevented; however, all women, including teens, can lower their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect by following some basic health guidelines throughout their reproductive years. This year we encourage all women to make a PACT for their own health and the family they may have one day.


YP Member Spotlight - Ashley Lamb, MD, MPH
District I
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Epping Regional Health Center
Who are you?  I grew up in NH, went to med school in North Carolina at UNC Chapel Hill, got my MPH there as well, and then did a Med/Peds residency at MGH in Boston. I completed a NHSC (National Health Service Corps) scholarship by being a primary care doctor in a rural underserved town in North Carolina (Laurinburg) for 2+ years and then moved back to New Hampshire in January of 2014. Now I am a Med/Peds primary care provider in Epping, NH with Core Physicians and I take inpatient pediatric call at Exeter Hospital. I am an at large member of the New Hampshire Pediatric Society executive committee as well. I also have a wonderfully supportive husband and two adorable boys who are 2 and 4 years old that keep me busy (and happy!).
How did you become involved with the AAP?  I went to the NCE in Orlando in 2013 and I met Ashley Miller at the Young Physicians social. It was right before I was about to move back to NH and she suggested that I get involved in the NH Pediatric Society, so I did!
What do you love most about your job? Taking care of whole families from babies to the elderly and everything in between. And watching kids and families grow.
What is your favorite developmental milestone? Smiling!  
What advice would you give to other young physicians? Get involved in the AAP. It is great to meet other pediatricians in your area and to learn about what is going on with kids in your state. And don't be afraid to ask lots of questions of your colleagues or of specialists.

From the Chair Continued...
We had an amazing first Young Physicians Leadership (YPLA) training session before the NCE, and we look forward to our second session this October in Washington, DC. Please consider applying and becoming a part of this great training opportunity.
We have also worked with the support of the AAP Board to develop a financial loan consolidation program to help folks with high interest rate educational loans to consolidate at more reasonable rates. This is being piloted with this year's graduating class, and hopefully will be available more widely soon. We are also working on updating the website and including some members-only sections with more information specifically related to financial planning, health and leadership as a Early Career Physician.
As far as District I goes, we had an excellent meeting with District VII in Boston. We focused on the heroin problem in New England and the rest of the country. We had a screening of the film The Hungry Heart (, which I highly recommend. We also had a panel discussion with the doctor featured in the film, Fred Holmes, and one of his patients.  It was amazing to me how prevalent the problem was in northern Vermont, and what the heroic Dr. Holmes was able to do to help his patients.
As always, please feel free to contact me with ideas for further ECP involvement in your districts or nationally. To see how you can become more involved make sure you check out our website. There are positions available as liaisons to other sections (a great way to get your foot in the door) and there are always subcommittee positions available within the SOECP.
Happy New Year!
Ashley Miller, MD FAAP
New London Pediatric Care Center
South Royalton Health Center

Weed Wise?... Continued
It should be noted being weed wise extends past teen discussion. Voluntary reports to Poison Control show accidental ingestion and intoxication from marijuana are increasing not only in teens but also in toddlers, young children.  These products are packaged in gummy bears, brownies, lollipops and bars. This pot may look deceptively good to kids of all ages.  These numbers likely underestimate the reality as they are based on voluntary reports.
With multi-state legalization, I suspect we've sent an alarmingly inaccurate message: that pot is now legal and therefore not a big change-agent for the brain when in fact it is.
"I think we're at that point where the consequences that we've already discovered from this may be far greater than the liberty that the citizens thought they were embracing," said a politician in Colorado. I can't say I disagree.

Teens are using pot at younger ages and use is becoming more of a norm for tweens/teens. In fact nearly ¼ of HS students say they've used marijuana in the last month and about ½ of teens leave HS having used pot at one point or another. Data is evolving, but research shows that using pot while your brain is still developing may shrink portions of the cortex, may change IQ for a lifetime, and reduce opportunities for academic success and employment.
When it comes to pot, stopping this wave is going to take more than a mention in clinic. One effective approach may be teen-to-teen education. Check out Colorado's first attempt with their site: Don't Be A Lab Rat. Word to the "weed-wise", consider sharing this resource with teens in your clinic so they can share it among friends.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a pediatrician in Seattle and an Executive Committee member of COCM – a group that works to help share the AAP's work in the media and the health of children who use it. Join our council and help shape the future!

CATCH... Continued
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 vist Community Pediatric​s or contact Kathy Kocvara at, 847/434-7632.

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month... Continued
Plan ahead

  • Get as healthy as you can before you get pregnant.
  • Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
    Avoid harmful substances
Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
  • Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home.
Choose a healthy lifestyle
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils.
  • Be physically active.
  • Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.

Talk to your doctor

  • Get a medical checkup.
  • Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Talk about your family history.

Become an active participant in National Birth Defects Prevention Month and continue your efforts throughout the year. Learn more about the effect you can have on birth defects at

For information on your SOECP Executive Committee and their contact information, click here.

​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 Physicians