SOPT Advocacy

​​Section on Pediatric Trainees


Every year since 2005, the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) has implemented an advocacy campaign. The Section's advocacy subcommittee works closely with AAP staff to choose the campaign and to develop the materials and resources. The campaign kicks off at the Section's Annual SOPT Assembly at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in the Fall each year. Join the section to get involved!

2018/2019 SOPT Advocacy Campaign – Advocacy Adventure 

“Advocacy, simply put, means speaking out on your patients’ behalf. Advocacy assumes that there is a problem that needs to be changed, and it is a way to drive or effect that change. Advocacy allows you to move from treating one patient at a time to being part of a broader network of advocates that works systematically. As a pediatrician, you are in a unique and powerful position to advocate for children’s health issues.”

- AAP Advocacy Guide

The Advocacy Adventure campaign will focus its efforts in three trimesters:

  1. Find Your Passion. We want all trainees to figure out where their advocacy passions lie - from legislative to local, from international to individual advocacy. Explore the issues that matter to you and learn about how to be a strong advocate.

    • What makes a good advocate?

    • What are the issues that are most important to you?

    • Explore your community’s needs, as well as state and federal level current issues

    • Focusing on: community advocacy, state advocacy, federal advocacy, international child health

  2. Build Your Skills. Now that we know our passions, let’s build our skill sets so we can more effectively advocate for our patients. All pediatricians should have a range of advocacy tools in their toolbox.

    • What skills do we use?

      • Learn the nuts and bolts of advocacy 

      • Learn leadership skills and strengths to help you lead advocacy changes 

      • What mediums do we use?

        • Social media, op eds and letters-to-the-editor, political engagement, community engagement

      • Focusing on: individual patient advocacy, social media advocacy, media advocacy

  3. Use Your Voice. Now that we have advocacy skills under our belts, it’s time to take action! Work with your community, build relationships, and positively impact kids by using your voice.

    • Organize a call to action! How do we actually create change?

    • Prevent advocacy burn out

    • Focusing on: engaging community partners, community mapping, engaging the media

This year’s advocacy campaign will empower you as a trainee to create your own advocacy adventure after gaining the skills you need to pursue the issues that matter to you. For more information, we encourage you to review our campaign introductory PowerPoint (link provided below). Over the next year, the Advocacy Adventure campaign will hold monthly webinars and podcasts, share text alerts about current issues, and create a national project map - all culminating to create an advocacy toolkit of all presentations for you to reference in your advocacy efforts. Please join trainees as we put kids first, raise our voice as child advocates, and make the world a better place for children. 

Background Information:

  1. Advocacy Adventure PowerPoint on the SOPT Collaboration site (AAP member login required)

  2. Advocacy Adventure Podcasts, Webinars, and Videos

  3. Advocacy Adventure Publications and Written Submissions 

  4. Advocacy Adventure Text Message Signup

    • Text "AdvocacyAdv" to 41411 to sign up!

Advocacy Topic of the Month: State Advocacy

State advocacy involves addressing issues related to children's health and well-being using a legislative or regulatory strategy. Though legislative advocacy is a piece of state-based advocacy, there are ample opportunities for advocacy with the state executive branch through the governor's office, state agencies and regulatory activities, and the budget process, as well as through the judicial branch. Your local state chapter is a wonderful resource for engaging in state advocacy.

A Refresher: How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • A legislative branch’s chamber introduces a bill, which is then analyzed by a committee. It is the committee’s responsibility to gather information, including testimony from advocacy groups, constituents, and lobbyists. As a pediatrician, you can submit testimony in support or opposition of a bill.

  • While the bill is still in committee, it is revised and voted upon. When the bill passes, it goes to the full chamber, where there is a floor debate and a vote. Each bill must go to a second chamber after passing the first chamber. After the bill passes both chambers, it goes to a conference committee, which is made up of members of both chambers who reconcile any differences between the 2 versions of the bill.

  • After the conference committee has met and agreed upon any changes, the bill goes back to both chambers for another vote. In order to be signed into law, the bill must leave both chambers.

  • After the bill leaves both chambers, the executive officer (governor at the state level; president at the federal level) can sign the entire bill into law or veto the bill entirely. At the state level, some governors can veto specific items in a bill, called a line-item veto. In the event that a bill is vetoed, a 2/3 majority from both chambers can override the executive officer’s veto.

From the AAP Advocacy Guide

“State legislators (more than 7,300 of them) have become increasingly active players in the day-to-day governing of the country. In fact, state legislatures on average pass 80 state bills for every one federal bill that Congress enacts. State legislatures are responsible for raising enormous amounts of revenue through state taxes and coming up with innovative solutions to address complex public challenges. As an advocate, it is important to recognize this powerful force in American government. Here are some things about state legislatures to keep in mind.

  • Each state operates under a different lawmaking process; however, many commonalities exist among states.

  • Forty-nine states have bicameral, or 2-chamber, legislatures. The “upper” chamber is commonly known as the Senate and contains fewer members. The “lower” chamber is known as the House of Representatives or the Assembly. Nebraska is the only exception; its legislature is unicameral, or 1 chamber.

  • Legislative sessions vary from state to state and year to year. Some state legislative sessions are as short as 30 days; others technically extend over a 2-year period, also known as a biennium; still others meet only during even- or odd-numbered years. Information on how to find out when your specific state is in session can be found in the Tools and Support section of this chapter or through your AAP chapter.

  • The governor is the chief executive of a state and is responsible for the administration of the government. Powers held by governors include calling special sessions of the legislature, approving or vetoing bills passed by the legislature, submitting an annual budget, and overseeing the administrative functions of state agencies.”

How to Get Involved
  • Network with your chapter on issues you are passionate about.

  • Develop a relationship with your local elected official so that you can become a trusted source of information to that decision-maker.

  • Participate in your chapter’s Advocacy Day or the AAP Legislative Conference (more information below).

Helpful Resources

Getting Connected
  • Weekly AAP Emails
    All members of SOPT are automatically enrolled as AAP Key Contacts and receive weekly emails every Friday summarizing what’s new that week in Washington, as well as targeted advocacy alerts when federal child health policies are on the move. Check out the weekly emails and alerts to find issues that spark your interest.

  • AAP Voices 
    For inspiration, check out AAP Voices, the official blog of the American Academy of Pediatrics, where AAP member pediatricians and others share their perspectives on a wide variety of topics relating to children's health and wellness. 

Learning More
  • AAP Committee on Federal Government Affairs
    The Committee on Federal Government Affairs (COFGA) provides strategic guidance to AAP's Department of Federal Affairs on advocacy with the White House, Congress and federal agencies. COFGA also works closely with AAP councils, committees, sections, the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors to analyze federal issues and provide strategies for addressing them at the national level. Check out this site for the latest updates on child policy priorities and to contact your members of Congress directly. 

  • AAP State Advocacy 
    From immunizations to e-cigarettes to teen driving safety, all of the AAP’s state advocacy guidance is here. Download “FOCUS” fact sheets on the key state issues.

  • StateView 
    StateView compiles up-to-date information on state policy trends and resources for chapter advocacy efforts and focuses on important state-level child health advocacy issues, and summarizes valuable resources from the AAP.

  • State Advocacy Report 
    Explore the most recent State Advocacy Report to know what issues need advocacy in your state.

  • State-Specific Health Care Coverage Fact Sheet
    Understand CHIP and Medicaid access for kids in your state! Identify opportunities for advocacy, like discrepancies between AAP guidelines and Medicaid coverage.

  • State Chapter Leaders
    Plug into your state or local chapter of the AAP to engage with advocacy efforts that affect your community.

  • Tobacco Prevention

  • Obesity Prevention

  • AAP Health Initiatives

Further Training
  • AAP Washington, DC Office Internship Program 
    The AAP Washington, DC office has two internship programs available: one for pediatricians and pediatricians-in-training, and one for undergraduate students with a focus on advocacy and public affairs.

  • AAP Legislative Conference 
    During this annual spring advocacy conference, participants will learn how to become effective child health advocates through interactive workshops and in-depth training sessions, while networking with pediatricians, residents and medical students from across the country. Scholarships available here

  • Advocacy Training Modules 
    Want to learn how to be a better advocate? The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a series of Advocacy Training Modules that you can use to better yourself and teach to other trainees in your program!

Grant Opportunities
Social Media & Advocacy
  • Use your social media accounts to advocate!

  • Like the SOPT Facebook page

  • Like the AAP Facebook page

  • Follow us on Twitter @AAPSOPT

  • Use and follow AAP and SOPT hashtags: #AdvocacyAdventure, #PutKids1st, #FutureFAAP, #FAAPulous, #Tweetiatrician, #TweetiatricianSelfie

Advocacy Action
  • Plan your advocacy project with this Project Planning Tool from CPTI (AAP member login required).

  • Consider writing a Letter to the Editor or an Op-Ed in your local newspaper. Want help getting your voice heard and promoting your work? Consider contacting Devin Miller, Advocacy Communications Manager.

Campaign Co-Chairs:
Catherine Coughlin, BS
Brandon Seay, MD, MPH, FAAP
Contact Us

The Advocacy Adventure Advocacy Campaign is funded through the generosity of the AAP Insurance Program. 

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