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Why is it important to be an FAAP?

AAP News

Ask 100 members of the Academy why they value their membership, and you’ll likely get 100 different responses.

Some appreciate the educational opportunities, while others join because of advocacy, access to resources or opportunities to connect with colleagues. The importance placed on being a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, or FAAP, also can evolve with pediatricians’ career goals.

Kelsey Logan, MD, MPH, FAAP, a member of the Section on Young Physicians Executive Committee, takes advantage of the many resources the Academy provides, such as journals, webinars and other items. She was introduced to the educational items as a resident and now “could not imagine practicing pediatrics without them.”

While the resources are important, Dr Logan didn’t realize the Academy also would enrich her life with connections to colleagues and support systems. Consequently, she emphasizes AAP benefits to the residents she supervises at the Ohio State University (OSU), where she is assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, medical director of the sports concussion program and a physician for various OSU teams.

“The AAP really is my home even though I’m involved in med-peds and in sports medicine,” Dr Logan said.
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Designation Reflects Focus on Children

Being able to include FAAP after your name lends certain legitimacy, according to George S. Ellis Jr., MD, FAAP, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans and member of the AAP Committee on Membership (COM).

“I think other people who see ‘FAAP’ will recognize that there is something special about that person — that they are a specialist in the care of children,” he said. “It also signifies they are boarded in their field; in other words, to get that designation requires a certain level of education and testing competence. And that is important.”

Important enough that when a family asks Dr Ellis for a referral to a general pediatrician, he tries to suggest someone who is a member of the Academy.

“I’m part of an organization that puts children first,” Dr Ellis said. “And it’s an organization that … really has the interest of my patients at the forefront. That’s significant.”

Dr Ellis notes that being a FAAP can mean something different to pediatricians and medical and surgical subspecialists. In his case, it helps impart the message that he is a pediatric specialist. “I can tell everybody in the world that I am a pediatric ophthalmologist,” he said. “Seeing the FAAP behind my name tends to lend credence to that message.”

Power in Numbers

Advocacy for children was the driver for Nathaniel Savio Beers, MD, MPA, FAAP, chair of the Committee on Membership. Dr. Beers, who works in public education in the Washington, D.C., area, said while FAAPs know they are entitled to receive such benefits as Pediatrics or the Red Book, they may not be aware of the scope of the Academy’s advocacy on behalf of all pediatricians and children.

He cited efforts by the AAP Department of Federal Affairs and the AAP Private Payer Advocacy Advisory Committee, which he credits as making a big difference in the lives of many pediatricians in everything from drug shortages to proper payment for administration of vaccines.

“And chapters have been doing a great job of helping people understand the local power that they have,” he added.

When pediatricians question why they should join the Academy when the advocacy will continue anyway, Dr Beers’ answer is simple: There is power in numbers.

“The power we have as a profession to change what is going on in how our profession is supported, but also how kids are supported, is impacted by how many members we have,” he said. “So there is a power in belonging because of the numbers of people who can impact change.”

With states and the federal government struggling with budgets, Dr Beers said it’s “a critical period of time to make sure we are united in pushing for the interests of children.”

Pediatricians Promote Being a FAAP

Because the meaning of FAAP after a physician’s name is not always clear, some pediatricians have to explain it to others and make a point to use the designation on correspondence, websites, office doors and business cards.

COM member Thomas Tryon, MD, FAAP, noted that he is proud to be a FAAP and “proud to add that to my signature line in all of my communication.”

Dr Logan, who has had quite a few parents question her about the FAAP initials, uses it as an opportunity to tell what the Academy has done for children. It “recognizes a person is a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics, which places a great importance on not only health care for all children, but for the advancement of our field and an interest in continued improvement in that health care.”

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