2009 AAP Legislative Conference
UVA Delegation Speaks Up for Children
Drs. Ann Kellams, Diane Pappas, Hazel Garrish, Cara Haberman, and Ashley Logan (pictured at left, L-R) attended the 2009 AAP Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., April 19-21. Together with over 100 pediatricians from across the country (including 30 residents), they took a crash course in current federal health issues (otherwise known as health care reform) and federal advocacy techniques.
Dr. Ashley Logan
"I felt like legislators' offices were listening to us and we actually made a difference for children's health."
The conference culminated with all of the pediatricians converging on Capitol Hill to talk with their legislators about the importance of remembering the unique needs of children as the health reform process moves forward.
During the conference, speakers with first-hand knowledge of Washington politics shared their insights. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) explained how difficult it can be to be a legislator and struggle to make decisions that are in the best interests of your state and your constituents. Senator Hagan is a freshman senator and took office in November; her first vote was on the new administration's SCHIP reauthorization/expansion bill and she had to decide between doing what was right for children and supporting the thousands of workers in her state who depend on the tobacco industry for their livelihoods.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN, pictured at right) has been in the Senate since 2006 and also shared her insights into the federal legislative process. She clearly recognizes the importance of keeping a good sense of humor and balance awhile working through legislation. She was particularly well-attuned to the needs of children and those with special health care needs.
Also on-hand were a number of policy analysts and child health experts. Dr. Wendy Davis, a graduate of the UVA School of Medicine, is now Director of Maternal and Child Health in Vermont. She shared her experiences as a general pediatrician turned public health physician. Judy Feder, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Professor at Georgetown Public Policy Institute discussed how health reform today is positioned significantly differently than the health care reform movement of the early 1990s and encouraged pediatricians to make the needs of children known.
Dr. Ann Kellams
"It is relatively easy to have your voice heard, and staff members value your input and are interested to hear what people on the "front line" have to say about healthcare reform. Bringing our knowledge and experience to the legislative process has the potential to really make a difference."