PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics - Items filtered by date: February 2018
March 24 2018 12:00 PM

March For Our Lives

As you are likely aware, the March For Our Lives will happen this Saturday, March 24th. The main event will occur in Washington, DC with 817 (and growing) local events worldwide. We encourage you to get involved in any one or more of the following ways:

  •  Participate in a local sibling march event- click here and enter your zip code for events near you. Wear your white coats, make signs and stand in solidarity with the students.
  • Can't attend? Sign the petition or donate to help support the march, or consider holding a 17-second moment of silence during morning rounds to honor the victims and maintain awareness at your hospital.
  • Post information/artwork on your practice website or bulletin board or Facebook page.
  • Tweet your support for the campaign.

For ideas on powerful quotes for signs and other messaging:

  • 15 quotes with impact
  • Creative community creates art for March For Our Lives
  • Sign ideas for youth
  • Sign ideas for babies


The PA AAP is proud to support this effort! Please join the voices of Pennsylvania's children and students. Thank you!


Published in News
March 12 2018 12:15 AM

The Daily Death Toll of Guns

What if there were a virus that killed or maimed dozens of children daily in the U.S.? We know its structure, mechanism of death and disability, and potential cure, yet we are not funded to research it, to remove antiquated laws that keep it alive and become deadlier as it sits in wait in over 80 million homes, coat pockets, backpacks, and schools.

The unimaginable has happened again. Fingers point and newspaper columns, talk shows, Twitter and Facebook feeds swarm with a tsunami of blame, angst, agony, and personal tragic stories of grief beyond words, repeated with a regularity that no other country in the world accepts. Names of schools big and small forever etched in our consciousness - Columbine, Newtown, and now Parkland. Names of children, sons and daughters, whose parents had marked in their calendars graduation days, teacher conferences, and school dances, that their children now will not attend, due to the inability of, as we were so recently reminded of by a Parkland student who is not yet able to vote or serve in the military, , "We're kids. You're the adults. You're supposed to protect us." The AAP's recent statement on the Parkland school shooting stated that, "Every one of our 100 U.S. senators and all 435 U.S. representatives bear a responsibility to take meaningful action to protect our children, our families, and our communities. Our elected leaders cannot continue to fail at this most essential task." And failing they are: 90 deaths a day by firearms including 7 children a day.

The majority of Americans want and deserve improved gun safety measures such as banning assault rifles and the absurd bump stocks. We want universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, and funding of research for gun safety. This should be just the minimum.

Unfortunately, even these common-sense measures wouldn't decrease gun deaths of children or their family members much in concentrated areas of violence and poverty outside of school walls, on street corners, and in homes where firearms are still not safely stored - in over a third of households - while suicide by firearm takes over 22,000 lives annually. We have smart gun technology where only a registered owner would be able to fire their gun. We have limited background checks that must be improved. We have legislators that continue to fight for what is right. But until we can honestly look a mother or father in the eye and promise them that their beloved sons and daughters will not be exposed to this deadly scourge in their schools, in their neighborhoods, and in their homes, we cannot lay idle. There are 7 children at risk of dying today and tomorrow. They need our every preventative effort. Now.

Published in News

The Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger, United States, 2018 is available on the CDC website as an 8-page color document in PDF format. Click here  to go to the schedule.

Changes in the 2018 immunization schedules for children and adolescents aged 18 years or younger include: new or revised ACIP recommendations for poliovirus, influenza and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines; and clarification of the recommendations for rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines.

Changes Affecting Multiple Portions of the Schedule include: Mention of MenHiberix (Hib-MenCY) vaccine has been removed from Figure 1 and Figure 2 and the relevant footnotes (Hib and meningococcal A,C,W,Y). Manufacturing of MenHiberix has been discontinued in the United States and all available doses have expired.

Cover Page. Changes to the 2018 figure from the 2017 schedule are as follows: A table was added outlining vaccine type, abbreviation, and brand names for vaccines discussed in the child/adolescent immunization schedule.

Figure 2. Changes to the 2018 figure from the 2017 schedule are as follows: The maximum ages for the first and last doses in the rotavirus vaccination series were added to the rotavirus vaccine row. The inactivated poliovirus vaccine rows were edited to clarify the catch-up recommendations for children 4 years of age and older.

Figure 3. Changes to the 2018 figure from that in the 2017 schedule include: A reference was added to the HIV column of the figure. The reference provides additional information regarding HIV laboratory parameters and use of live vaccines. Within the pneumococcal conjugate row, stippling was added to heart disease/chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, and diabetes columns to clarify that, in some situations, an additional dose of vaccine might be recommended for children with these conditions.

Footnotes. The footnotes are presented in a new simplified format. The goal was to remove unnecessary text, preserve all pertinent information, and maintain clarity. This was accomplished by a transition from complete sentences to bullets, removal of unnecessary or redundant language, and formatting changes. In addition to this overall simplification, content changes include: The Hepatitis B vaccine (HepB) footnote was revised to include information regarding vaccination of <2,000-g infants born to hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative mothers. The poliovirus vaccine footnote was revised to include updated guidance for persons who received oral poliovirus vaccine as part of their vaccination series.

* The influenza vaccine footnote has been updated to indicate that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) should not be used during the 2017-2018 influenza season. A reference link to the 2017-2018 season influenza recommendations has been added.

* The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) footnote was updated to include guidance regarding the use of a third dose of mumps virus-containing vaccine during a mumps outbreak.

* The meningococcal vaccine footnote has been edited to create separate footnotes for MenACWY and MenB vaccines.

The recommended birth through 18 years and catch-up immunization schedules have been approved by ACIP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Published in News
March 11 2018 11:21 PM

Resident Corner: Access 4 Kids

Every year, the Section on Pediatric Trainees has implemented an advocacy campaign. Currently, we are in the middle of "Access 4 Kids." The focus of this campaign is advocating for improved access to healthcare for all children. This has been difficult at times this year and even has teetered on the brink of extinction for some children. The four main populations of children that the campaign is geared toward are: children living in foster care or group homes; immigrant children; children identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning; and, children with special health care needs. These groups have been recognized as some of the most vulnerable.

The attention this quarter is toward access to healthcare for immigrant children and The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). DACA has been in place since 2012 and has granted eligible youth relief from deportation and work authorization, enabling them to better care for themselves and their families and give back to their communities. However, on September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it will end DACA in 6 months.

Access to healthcare and the ability to visit a physician is essential in improving and determining children's health. We as trainees recognize this key piece to children's health and well-being and are dedicated to advocating for our patients. We encourage all pediatricians to get involved. Reach out to your local residency programs for more information!

See these resources: 
AAP Immigrant Child Health Toolkit
AAP Immigrant Health Toolkit, and the 
AAP statement from September 2017 on the reversal of DACA.


Published in Residents

This is the first update from the newly formed Advocacy Committee. We hope to organize, and disseminate state and community-wide advocacy priorities for our members to empower them to regularly act on behalf of Pennsylvania's children and pediatricians. Please reach out to us if you would like to participate!

It was with great excitement in January when the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was funded for six years. Fortunately, that excitement was further augmented in early February when CHIP funding was extended for 10 years. It was a breath of fresh air and a great victory for pediatricians like us in Pennsylvania who had worked so hard to support CHIP legislation. We understand how important CHIP is for the children we care for, and we deserved the celebration.

The excitement and celebration of CHIP seemed to wear off quickly, however, with a renewed focus on firearm violence surrounding the tragic events in Parkland, Florida. If you have not viewed the national AAP statement, it is available here. At the PA AAP, we are currently aligning with the AAP's national efforts, and will continue to update you on legislative activities in PA surrounding firearm violence prevention. We would appreciate any passionate members with innovative ideas to reach out to our committee, as this particular issue is going to require all of our collective best efforts.

Other issues our committee has been focusing on include the opioid epidemic, immunization bills intended to raise barriers to vaccination, and CRNP scope of practice. We have greatly appreciated those members who have written to us and even taken the lead on some of these issues they are passionate about, and we encourage all of you to continue to do so.

In regards to our committee, we are currently in the process of adding a resident and a medical student. Applications have been distributed and if you know any residents or medical students who are interested, please have them reach out to us directly.

Lastly, our advocacy day is coming up in April 27 - see following article. All members are welcome to join. We will likely be addressing firearm violence given the current momentum and importance of a collective effort to advance legislation on this issue. We welcome your participation and feedback.

Thank you all, and keep up the strong work for children and families in Pennsylvania. Please let us know how we can best assist you.

Published in News

Dear Pennsylvania AAP Members,

On March 8th, AAP President Dr. Colleen Kraft outlined the AAP's plan of action to mobilize pediatricians and support the efforts of youth and families, as we advocate together for more comprehensive firearm policies and safer communities. We hope you received that inspiring e-mail. Amidst the tragedy of the school shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month, many of us are left wondering, "What can I do as a pediatrician or pediatrician-in-training in PA?" and "How can all AAP members stand in solidarity to protect our nation's children?" National policymakers continue to discuss possible solutions to firearm violence, and the Academy's advocacy efforts are in full force, with visits to Capitol Hill and strong media efforts.

AAP President Colleen A. Kraft, MD, FAAP and David Schonfeld, MD, FAAP spoke out in support of the student survivors in a letter to the editorof The New York Times, emphasizing that pediatricians stand with them. The national AAP will continue to advocate for comprehensive policy solutions, including increased public health research funding, universal background checks, improved mental health services, bans on assault weapons with high capacity magazines, safe storage of firearms, and physician counseling, and the PA Chapter has committed to join them.

PA AAP State Advocacy Day

Firearm violence prevention will be the focus of our PA AAP State Advocacy Day on Friday, April 27th. Pediatricians and pediatricians-in-training from around the state will meet with legislators to discuss how to keep our children safe from gun violence. Adding our voices to those of the young people who are speaking up and leading this effort is vital. We need your presence and voice in Harrisburg to help us create change! Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are able to join us or would like more information!


Act Now


Here's what you can do NOW to advance gun violence prevention efforts for children:


Advocate in 5 minutes:



  • Address firearms safety as part of your routine anticipatory guidance with children of all ages. Ask about the presence of firearms in the home, and counsel parents who do keep firearms to store them unloaded in a locked case, with the ammunition locked and stored separately. Advise families to remove firearms from the home of any child or teenager who is depressed, and consider utilizing the brochure, Guidance for Parents: Gun Safety, from the Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT).


  • Register to vote. The deadline for registering to vote in Pennsylvania is 30 days before an election, and primary elections will be held on May 15, 2018.  In our state Senate, 25 of 50 seats are up for election. In our state House, all 203 seats are up for election. Pennsylvania will also hold elections for governor and lieutenant governor this year. In addition, voters will decide who will hold each of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional district seats as well as one of our state’s seats in the US Senate.
  • Call our legislators. To find and contact your state representative and senator, use this helpful tool. To reach your members of Congress, please call and the operator will direct you to the DC offices of your federal legislators.
    • Leave a message saying you are a pediatrician living, training, or practicing in their district (a constituent) and you’re reaching out to work together to advance common sense legislation to protect children from gun violence. Always end your conversation with a call to action or an ask, your contact information, and an email follow-up/thank you.
    • Calls make a bigger impact than e-mails - each one is logged!
    • Resources that provide an excellent summary of AAP policy, related facts, and talking points include:
    • Coming soon - we can help with talking points if needed, and most will be drawn from the AAP policy statement below.



Advocate in 15 minutes




  • Children deserve to be safe wherever they are. We as practicing and future pediatricians can help our patients feel safe and cope with tragedies such as school shootings. Review resources to assist pediatricians here.
  • Consider writing an opinion editorial (op-ed) or letter to the editor for your local newspaper explaining why it is important to find comprehensive policy solutions to protecting children from firearm violence. Op-eds are an effective medium to communicate your opinion and personal experience about a timely issue. They are typically 400-600 words in length, though it is always important to check with the individual publication for specific length requirements.


Advocate in half a day



    • Find a march in your community, or travel to Washington, DC
    • Wear your white coats, make signs, and stand in solidarity with the students
    • If you are unable to participate, consider having a 17-second moment of silence during morning rounds to honor the victims and maintain awareness at your hospitals
    • The AAP will also be having activities, such as a Twitter storm, on that day -- be on the lookout for more information


Thank you for your passionate advocacy for children. Together we can unite as PA pediatricians and pediatricians-in-training to advocate for this timely and important cause. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or ideas!




Christian D. Pulcini, MD, MEd, MPH
PA AAP Advocacy Committee Co-Chair
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Jeannette Tepper, MD
PA AAP Advocacy Committee Co-Chair
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Acknowledgement to Rachel Nash, Executive Coordinator of Child Health for the Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) for assistance in composing the above and compiling resources.


Published in News