AAP Behind the Scenes (Fall 2020)

This Georgia AAP (virtual) board meeting started with a brief review from Dr. Kathleen Tomey (Department of Health)

Some slides:

This data should be interpreted based on limited testing in this age group

AAP Update from Dr. Scornik:

Toolkit available at Georgia AAP Website
Full link: Race, Postoperative Complications, and Death in Apparently Healthy Children
Link to register: Fall AAP Meeting

Safe sleep initiatives briefly discussed by Dr. Sarah Lazarus which aligns with Strong4Life campaign:

From Dr. Evan Anderson’s presentation to AAP Board Meeting
Dr. Anderson notes that COVID-19 mortality and morbidity IN CHILDREN exceeding other conditions with vaccines like Varicella and Influenza.
Letter from AAP President to FDA (Dr. Hahn) and HHS (Alex Azar)

Other information:

Update on E-Cigarettes Webinar*+: Wednesday, October 28 at 12:30 pm
Please note new date! Here’s a chance to still register.
First in a series of three webinars offered to Georgia Pediatricians on the growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette use
Faculty: Alice Little Caldwell, MD, FAAP

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AAP Behind the Scenes 2020 (Part 2): AAP Agenda, Safe Sleep, Encouraging Physician Diversity, APEX Mental Health

More from our recent AAP Board Meeting –more highlights:

Dr Sally Goza, AAP National President reviewed some of the AAP’s initiatives:

  • Healthcare coverage & Change in ‘public charge’
  • Gun violence
  • Climate Change
  • Early Childhood Programs
  • Suicide Prevention
  • E-cigarettes
  • Social Media.  She noted that Pinterest and Google have made efforts to curb harmful inaccurate posts, especially with regard to immunization information, whereas Facebook has not been cooperative.

2020 Georgia Blueprint for Children:

Dr. Sarah Lazarus, a terrific ED physician and an advocate for safe sleep, described updates and obstacles related to reducing sudden unexpected death infant death.

Key points:

  • NASPGHAN 2018 GERD recommendations (33 page PDF) with regard to positioning:  “The working group recommends not to use positional therapy (ie, head elevation, lateral and prone positioning) to treat symptoms of GERD in sleeping infants”
  • CPSC has removed many inclined sleepers.  Commentary from Dr. Lazarus from WebMD (November 2019): Sleeping on an Incline Not Safe for Baby

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning parents not let a baby sleep in rockers, pillows, car seats, or any other product that holds an infant at an incline — with their head higher than their feet.

“I do think it should have happened a while ago when we saw there were deaths from them, but I’m glad they did it now,” says Sarah Lazarus, DO, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Lazarus is also an injury prevention researcher at Emory University and reviews infant deaths for the state of Georgia.  And what about putting the crib mattress at an incline to help with reflux?

Lazarus says she knows pediatricians used to recommend that, but she says new studies show that it doesn’t really help and may be unsafe. “We do not recommend any sort of wedging or propping or positioning at this point,” she says. In addition to avoiding inclined surfaces, the commission is reminding parents that babies can suffocate if they sleep with blankets, pillows, or other items. The safest way for a baby to sleep is flat on their back, in a bare crib, and on a flat, firm surface.Related blog posts:

Dr. Heval Kelli introduced a program called young physician initiative.  “Getting into medical school can be a long process and difficult to navigate particularly for students from underserved communities due to the lack of access to medical mentorship and network.  The Young Physicians Initiative provides early and interactive guidance to underserved middle school, high school and college students. We inspire students to pursue careers in medicine and pursue pipeline’s opportunities by Being Present in their communities.”

Here are links to his website and to one of the articles covering this project:

My take: This is a terrific program, though there are many other challenges that need to be addressed to encourage applicants from a wide range of socioeconomic groups.

Related blog post: Hidden Costs of Medical Schools

The final speaker, Dante McKay, discussed the APEX program which is a school-based program to address mental health issues in children.

Safe Sleep (AAP 2017)

Behind the scenes, there is a core group of pediatricians and staff at the American Academy of Pediatrics working to improve the health of children and the ability of pediatricians to be effective.

A couple items from this year’s Georgia board of directors meeting:

  1. Increasing Safe Sleep practices
  2. Working with legislators to improve access to health care
  3. Establishing strategic goals for the next few years

The emphasis on Safe Sleep follows recent AAP guidelines –see previous posts:

Right now, in Georgia, it is estimated that there are 3 infant deaths per week associated with sleep practices.  In Tennessee, following widespread adoption and promotion of safe sleep practices, this resulted in a 50% reduction in these types of infant deaths within two years.  In Georgia, the department of public health has been working on distributing inexpensive portable bassinets to Medicaid population, along with educational material.  There is a lot more to do.  In hospital nurseries infants are often NOT placed on their backs to go to sleep until shortly before discharge.


Useful website: Charlieskids.org This website has a book called “Sleep Baby Safe and Snug” which incorporates updated recommendations on safe sleep practices.  Interestingly, the fact that the book has a picture of a pacifier has slowed distribution of this book (even when free) because this runs counter to another program (“Baby Friendly” hospital designation) to promote breastfeeding.

Here are some of the slides from Dr. Freed’s presentation on safe sleep practices:

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