President's Message

NAPNAP Partners for Vulnerable Youth

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President Tresa Zielinski, DNP, RN, APN-NP, CPNP-PC

At the March business meeting, held during the national conference in Denver, we introduced a campaign that would allow NAPNAP to take a leading role in initiatives serving underserved children and respond authoritatively to timely events in health care. In the past, we often served in a passenger role by supporting others’ initiatives, but the road map is changing, and we are now putting ourselves in the driver’s seat. I hope you are as excited about this as I am. 

Last week, we launched our new tax exempt charitable organization, NAPNAP Partners for Vulnerable Youth. I encourage you to go to our website and see the support we’ve already gathered for this initiative. This new arm of NAPNAP will focus on recruiting and leveraging the expertise of pediatric nurse practitioners, their healthcare colleagues and other partners to improve the health and wellness of specific segments of vulnerable children in the U.S. This is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. We are leading.

On Nov. 6, more than 60 NAPNAP members held more than 100 meetings with Congressional and Senate staff as part of our Capitol Hill Day. We attended a meeting with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about the SOAR bill (H.R. 767/S. 256), Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond to Health and Wellness Training. I am pleased to tell you that all the meetings went better than we had expected, and many heard our voices asking for extensions of CHIP, Title VIII funding and Shot-at-Life. More urgently, they heard us talking about the human trafficking of youth.

NAPNAP Partners’ first initiative is the Alliance for Care Coordination of Children in Human Trafficking. You will hear more about this in the coming months and at our national conference, March 19-22, in my home town of Chicago. I hope you will join me as we continue to launch new pieces of The Alliance. We have already had a positive impact with this initiative, and it’s only in its infancy.

If you think human trafficking does not affect you or your practice, you’re not alone. I thought the same thing. I was wrong. I wasn’t seeing the victims who were right in front of me. Once I was educated on the signs and nuances of human trafficking, I started seeing it everywhere. It was on the news, in my Twitter feed, in my job. My heart has been sinking as I think about missed opportunities and children whom I could have helped. 

Join NAPNAP Partners in fighting this atrocious healthcare crisis that is affecting so many children in the US. It is not only sex, but also labor trafficking that is stealing their childhoods. There are more than 300,000 people being trafficked in the U.S. at this moment (numbers are believed to be under represented for obvious reasons). Sadly, 27% of victims are children (The Polaris Project, 2017). The average age for entrance into trafficking is 12-16 years. The average life span is 7 years. A 2014 (Ledere & Wetzel) study estimated 87% of all human trafficking survivors had come into contact with a healthcare provider without being recognized. We need to do better.

If these numbers do not convince you to think about how we/you can help, I will be surprised. NAPNAP Partners will be funded by outside grants, private foundations and philanthropical organizations. If you have direct contact with a potential funder, I would be most appreciative. Please contact Cate Brennan, NAPNAP’s executive director, for details. Please email me at president@napnap.org with any questions, stories or concerns. I will post responses on TeamPeds: Open Forum so everyone can get involved in this important discussion.

Humble and hungry,

 

Lederer, L., & Wetzel, C. (2014). The health consequences of sex trafficking and their implications for identifying victims in health care facilities. Annals of Health Law, 23(1), 61-91.

The Polaris Project. (2017).  2016 Hotline Statistics. Retrieved from https://polarisproject.org/resources/2016-hotline-statistics

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