President's Message

Happy Fall Everyone!

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President Dawn Garzon Maaks, PhD, CPNP-PC, PMHS, FAANP

Happy fall everyone! I for one am glad for cooler temperatures, and I love watching the trees erupt in color. Although time is flying by, these crisp autumn days almost force me to slow down, to take more walks and to appreciate all my blessings and good fortunes. For those who were in the path of Hurricane Michael, my heart goes out to you, your families and your communities. As a native Floridan, I know the panhandle and southern Georgia well and know you are resilient, amazing people who won’t be kept down long. I encourage our members to continue to help organizations responding to the many natural disasters we’ve experienced this year.

There is a ton going on at NAPNAP. We just transitioned to our new member management platform, and I am excited about how this change will allow us to better serve our members while we continue to grow as an organization. If you haven’t been on the website recently, know that you’ll be asked to create a new password and ID. And, while you are there, don’t forget you can join a SIG for free until December 31st. Take a second to look at your options. I am loving my new SIGs, and I am confident you’ll find something that will fit your personal needs.

It is flu shot season, and we all know how gosh awful last year was. Flu vaccination is a critical way to prevent the spread of this annual pandemic. As we know, vaccines are critical to public health, and child health in particular. I love our partnership with Shot@Life. You can sign up to be a champion on the Race to Erase. This program aims to improve awareness of the importance of vaccines and has the goal of ensuring Congress maintains their support of global vaccine programs. It’s easy to do, you need only go to the Race to Erase website where you can sign up, share your participation on social media, get additional information and connect to your Congressional representative. Another great recent development is the publication of NAPNAP’s official statement on pediatric mental health and violence. This is something I am particularly proud of as we all recognize the growing mental health crisis that is affecting millions of children and families. It is so important for NAPNAP to engage in these types of activities and to promote the voice and role of pediatric-focused APRNs. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be leading the discussion.

Equally important is the work of NAPNAP Partners for Vulnerable Youth. This relatively new organization is leading the push to educate providers about human trafficking. The Alliance for Children in Trafficking (ACT) website is full of materials and links for providers in all settings. Our first PedsCE module is live, and two new modules should be debuting by the end of the year. Watch your Newsflash for details and take the courses when they go live. I am going to confess something here, when I first heard about human trafficking, I thought it was a problem that happened in developing countries and didn’t really affect the kids I see in my suburban practice. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because my awareness was raised by the work of this impressive group, I have since gone on to identify two kids with a past history of being sexually trafficked. I know there are millions of kids across the country, in small towns, big cities and suburban neighborhoods who are being missed by well-meaning providers who don’t see this affecting their population. Please, take some time, earn some CEs and help me in the battle to rescue these often-forgotten kids.

Speaking of CEs, I don’t know if you noticed, but the 2019 conference registration is open! We are meeting in New Orleans this year where we’ll live the philosophy of lasseiz les bons temps rouler- or let the good times roll. I peeked at the schedule, and it looks like our staff and Conference Planning Committee outdid themselves once again. There are over 100 sessions scheduled on topics for specialty providers, acute providers, primary care providers and for everyone from the student to the seasoned veteran. I can already see I am going to have trouble narrowing my choices down. We will have research and clinical improvement project posters, speed sessions, general sessions, industry sponsored events and dozens of concurrent sessions. You can come and strengthen your leadership tool box, learn new skills in an intensive workshop or prepare to take an upcoming PC, AC or PMHS exam. And, you get to do all this while networking with some of the world’s best pediatric providers in the city of jazz and beignets. New Orleans is a destination for foodies, has an amazing zoo and tons of fun family activities, and houses the unique and historic French Quarter. My husband and I are seriously considering staying around for a few extra days. Maybe he’ll get even more use out of his trophy husband shirt! (he wore it to the opening reception last year- see photo). 

I hope to see y’all in New Orleans, If you are there, I hope you’ll come up to me and say "hi."


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