Every year since 2005, the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) has implemented an advocacy campaign. The Section's Child Health Workgroup works closely with AAP staff to choose the campaign and to develop the materials and resources. The campaign kicks off at the SOPT Program at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition in the fall each year.

Annual Advocacy Campaign 2021 - 2022:
Rx Against Racism - Racism as a Public Health Crisis

Why does SOPT conduct an annual advocacy campaign?
Every year, the Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) organizes an advocacy campaign around a topic relevant to children’s health. The campaigns are designed and implemented by the Section’s advocacy campaign chairs, under the guidance of the SOPT Executive Coordinator of Child Health. The campaigns serve to educate medical students, residents, and fellowship trainees about the chosen topic, while introducing them to the many ways the AAP will help them advocate for children over the course of their careers. To accomplish these dual goals:

  1. We guide our members in the development and implementation of advocacy projects using the AAP’s Community Pediatrics Training Initiative curriculum as a guide;
  2. We connect our members with research and advocacy mentors through AAP sections, councils and committees;
  3. We encourage trainees to apply for AAP funding to support their projects;
  4. We involve our members in the review of the Academy’s policies concerning the annual topic;
  5. We encourage our members to write resolutions to influence the Academy’s activities on the annual topic.

By using the annual campaigns as a vehicle to introduce these resources, we hope to encourage a lifetime of involvement in the AAP, and to make advocacy a central tenet of our members’ careers.

Overview of Rx Against Racism campaign
In light of the aforementioned observations, we believe a focus on the public health crisis of racism in the United States to be of critical importance and have designated it as the topic of the 2021-2022 advocacy campaign. Rx Against Racism aims to equip trainees with the knowledge, understanding, and practical tools needed to address racial/ethnic health disparities on a local, community or national level while providing trainees with the support to put their new skill set into action. The campaign will be split into trimesters as below:

Trimester 1: LEARN/THINK: Understand systemic racism, health inequity and its drivers

Trimester 2: DO: Implement programs in our communities and institutions to fight systemic racism.

Trimester 3: TEACH: Sharing our understanding and interventions with others. Learning how to support underserved families and communities.

To those ends, we have established specific goals for the year:

  1. Improve trainee understanding of systemic racism, health inequity/disparities in health, social determinants of health, implicit bias, and the history of racism within medicine.
  2. Equip trainees with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to initiate interventions in their communities and institutions to address inequities in health and underrepresentation of URM within medicine. We will provide trainees with a fundamental understanding of project implementation and evaluation, solicitation of stakeholder involvement, interpretation of community health needs assessments and collaboration with community-based organizations. Funding and mentorship will be provided to select project proposals via a novel grant program similar to CATCH. These projects will be followed longitudinally and presented at the end of the campaign to showcase trainee work and facilitate inter-institutional collaboration/spread of ideas.
  3. Increase national trainee involvement in legislative and community-based efforts to reduce health inequity via advocacy education and outreach.
  4. Equip trainees with the tools and understanding needed to teach others at their institutions and within their networks about: social determinants of health, health inequity and its drivers, and ways in which trainees can make a difference through community-based intervention and legislative advocacy. As a part of this, we will highlight trainee presentations of community and institution-based efforts/interventions supported as part of our second goal (above).
  5. Increase URM interest and presence in the field of pediatrics by supporting existing pipeline efforts and encouraging/facilitating the development of new programs.

If you’d like to get more involved in this campaign, please fill out the SOPT contact us form.

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American Academy of Pediatrics