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Sept 17 AAP 2017 NCE Daily Media Highlights


AAP Public Affairs Contacts:                                      

SUNDAY, Sept. 17:

Vaccine Exemptions for School: Personal, Religious, All, or None?

8:30-9:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, room W183 C, McCormick Place West

The 2014-15 outbreak of measles at Disneyland ignited national debate on whether non-medical exemptions from school vaccine requirements should be allowed. In this point-counterpoint session, two physicians debate the question of whether religious and personal belief exemptions should be prohibited, so that more children are immunized against disease. Richard Pan, MD, MPH, FAAP, a member of the AAP Council on School Health, is a California state senator who authored a law that eliminated personal belief exemptions from school vaccine requirements in his state. Representing the other school of thought is Aviva Katz, MD, MA, FAAP, immediate past chair of the AAP Committee on Bioethics, who favors less restrictive methods to increase vaccination rates.

Teens Gone Wild: Advising Families on Parenting Adolescents

8:30 a.m. -- 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, room W183 A, McCormick Place West

How do physicians differentiate mental health disorders from normal adolescent angst? Developmental and behavioral problems are among the most common issues pediatricians see in clinic, according to Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, MD, MPH, FAAP. She will give a brief didactic presentation on brain development. She also will discuss common adolescent behavior challenges such as rebellion/challenging authority, defying curfew, school problems, risk-taking behavior, choice of peer group, experimentation with drugs/alcohol, and concern about possible eating disorders.

Gun Safety: An American Crisis

10:45 – 11:05 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, Skyline Ballroom

On average, seven children and teens die each day from gun violence, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 40 are shot every day and survive, including 32 who are assaulted, eight who are shot unintentionally and one who attempts suicide. Nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with a gun that is unlocked and loaded. In this plenary session, J. Gary Wheeler, MD, MPS, FAAP, unpacks the statistics behind gun violence, and suggests how pediatricians can help safeguard children through state and federal advocacy.

Pediatric Sleep Problems

2-2:45 pm Sunday, Sept. 17, room W190 A, McCormick Place West; and again from 8:30-9:15 am Monday, Sept. 18, room W178 B, McCormick Place West

Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Boston Children's Hospital will address three topics that pediatricians often ask about after they hear her speak: sleep-disordered breathing, the sleepy teen and insomnia. She will emphasize the importance of asking the right questions during well-child visits, and outline a systemic approach to the teen who falls asleep during daytime hours, a common complaint.

The Opioid Crisis: Implications for Pediatric Pain Management

2 - 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, 185 D in McCormick Place West

Santhanam Suresh, MD, FAAP, and Ravi Shah, MD, discuss the potential for opioid misuse when the drugs are overprescribed or prescribed for too long. While encouraged by data showing a 45-percent drop in nonmedical use of prescription opioid pain relievers by 12th graders, the experts agree that efforts to prevent misuse must continue. They discuss alternative options, such as treating the patient at a pain clinic, where nerve blocks might be used.

BMI: Are We Helping or Harming?

4 – 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, 183 C, McCormick Place West

In a point-counterpoint session, experts debate the merits and drawbacks of using a body mass index (BMI) measurement in children ages 2 and older to identify those at risk for obesity. Stephen Cook, MD, MPH, FAAP, a member of the AAP Section on Obesity, maintains that BMI is a useful tool when looking at a population over time but has limitations when used at the individual level. Joseph Thompson, MD, MPH, FAAP, past president of the AAP Arkansas Chapter, however, says BMI measurements are valuable as an initial screening tool for individual children.


More information:

Media who wish to cover the conference should come to the press office to receive credentials. A badge is required for access to all sessions.  

Journalists may obtain embargoed news releases and research abstracts by contacting the AAP Department of Public Affairs at or 847-434-7877. Embargoed news releases will also be posted on (media log-in required). For information about covering the conference, including how to register, media guidelines, press room arrangements and meeting highlights, visit the AAP News Room or contact the AAP Department of Public Affairs.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit