August • 2021
Here’s to Actions in August

Here’s to the actions in August:
Collaborations, partnerships, and COVID vaccination, we promote trust,
ACT 2021 with the theme of Making Our Voices Heard,
And our strive for resiliency, protective factors, advocacy and more, undeterred.
President's Column
Nelson Branco, MD, FAAP
The first month as president of our chapter has, as expected, flown right by. First impression: Raelene and Isra made it look easy! I have really enjoyed learning even more about the day-to-day workings of our chapter, and how we work together on behalf of children and those who care for them. I’m sure there’s a server somewhere at Google dedicated solely to the email traffic making its way into my inbox. If you’re waiting for a reply, please be patient!

In these monthly updates, I hope to fill you in on the ways that our chapter is working for you and your patients. I’m also hoping to highlight some of the work we do with our partners in the AAP and other organizations, both here in California and nationally. This first month has brought to my inbox opportunities for collaboration and partnership, requests for information and support, and educational items to share. By way of example, those of us who subscribe to the Practice Support email listserv will have heard about opportunities to collaborate with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to promote COVID vaccination. We are connecting several chapter members with the local March of Dimes to help improve care of mothers and infants, especially Black and Indigenous families. We were also asked to assist the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction by providing an expert to support a Teen Talk vaccine awareness webinar. Thank you Dr. Morgan Leighton for volunteering!

Within our own organization, we are working on incorporating our EDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) efforts into all of our chapter activities and will soon be ready to ask for volunteers to help champion this effort. I know that many of us are advocating, learning, working and teaching around this topic - please help us share your successes and address your challenges. One resource recently published by AAP National is “Words Matter: AAP Guidance on Inclusive, Anti-biased Language.” Please take a look and incorporate some of those lessons into your communication.

The next few months will bring more collaborations and opportunities - with SFMMS, CMA and AAP-CA to name a few. These efforts and partnerships are a way to share the expertise and skills of our chapter members, increase our ability to advocate for children by leveraging our relationships, and help our chapter members care for their patients and communities. Let us know if you have any ideas - we may not be able to do it all, but we are open to suggestions!
Incoming Vice President
Nicole Webb, MD, FAAP
Hello again from the San Joaquin Valley, AAPCA1! I am honored, humbled, and tremendously excited to have the opportunity to serve you as the incoming Vice President of our chapter. For me, summer has always been a time of transitions and reflection, as a pediatrician, educator, advocate, and as a parent. I think we can all agree there is a lot to reflect on this year, more than most of us ever anticipated. As I reflect on everything that has happened in the past year and a half, I have never been prouder to be a pediatrician, and never prouder to be a member of the AAP.

As COVID-19 not only exposed but deepened the inequities and disparities we all see in our daily practice as stewards of children’s health, your tireless advocacy has ensured that the voices and perspectives of kids and families are heard. I have been amazed by the creativity, determination and passion you have brought to confronting the challenges caring for children and communities during an unprecedented global pandemic. And you have done it authentically, with a focus on equity and justice.

When I imagine the next 2 years as your Vice President, I have no doubt there will be many challenges as well as many opportunities, and I look forward to partnering with you throughout them. As we move forward, I know we will do so with continued dedication to equity, diversity, inclusion, and to constantly learning and reexamining our own biases. 

As our President, Nelson Branco, likes to say, “what have we done for you lately?” Because we cannot advocate for kids and communities without also advocating for you all. Our chapter is vast and diverse, geographically and in every other way. In that we have tremendous strength. 

While connecting and communicating in the virtual era has certainly brought many challenges it has also afforded new opportunities for us to engage with members who otherwise might have difficulty traveling greater distances to meet in person. Living in the San Joaquin Valley, far from the more urban parts of our chapter, I have been able to connect, share and learn from and with many of you in ways that would have likely been inaccessible to me without virtual meeting technologies. I believe it is crucial we carry this perspective with us into the future, that we remain committed to innovative strategies for engaging our membership across our vast catchment area.

I am so excited for the opportunity to continue to work with our incredible executive director, Isra Uz-Zaman, with Nelson, with our amazing, passionate board of directors, and with all of you. We want to help connect you to resources, at the chapter and national level, to help you succeed as advocates for kids and to support you in your career development journey. The AAP, both locally and nationally, has always felt like home to me. Just as we are dedicated to the health of all children, we are dedicated to the health of all pediatric health experts. Whatever your passions, interests, experience, goals, there is a place for you in our chapter, and we want to hear your voice.
Incoming Member-at-Large
Deborah Shassetz, DO, FAAP
Central Valley
I am very excited to be the new Member-at-Large for Region 3: Central Valley which includes Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne Counties. I am a pediatrician working at Sutter Gould Medical Group for 23 years in Stanislaus county and I currently live in Tuolumne County. 

My long and passionate career in serving patients in the Central Valley and my love of living in the mountains close to Yosemite will provide the geography needed to represent our large and diverse region. It is my hope that my experience thus far will afford me the ability to hold this position and represent you well. At this point in my career, I have the time to dedicate myself to learning in this new position and look forward to the opportunity given me to serve you!

I have been a pediatrician with Sutter Gould Medical Group in Modesto since graduating residency in 1997 from University of Kansas School of Medicine. I am most recently proud to be involved these past few years since its conception with our Wellness Committee for our doctors and families in Modesto, Lodi, Stockton, Tracy, Turlock and Los Banos. I am committed to helping physicians balance both their personal and professional lives to enjoy their best possible quality of life and most importantly preventing physician burnout.  

I enjoy being adjunct faculty for Touro University Medical School mentoring third and fourth year medical students precepting their core and elective pediatric rotations. I also supervise first year residents for our local family practice residency program in their pediatric specialty clinic.

During my free time, I volunteer as an alpine ski patroller for The National Ski Patrol. I also enjoy hiking, traveling, backpacking, mountain biking, cooking, and gardening.
ACT 2021: Making Our Voices Heard
Raul Gutierrez, MD, FAAP & Heyman Oo, MD, FAAP
Advocacy Committee Chairs
With half of 2021 behind us, we continue on a journey of transitions. We are starting to get a better understanding of where our new administration stands. California has re-opened in the wake of COVID vaccinations. Parents and public school districts are preparing to start the school year with in-person learning, and pediatric providers are getting back to the routine of school physicals. For some, there is even a sense of transitioning back to “normalcy” as we share space with friends and family, travel, and interact with our communities.
And while normalcy may feel comfortable and like a win, it is perhaps not the ultimate goal as we emerge from the pandemic. We are stepping into a window of opportunity to address political and social drivers of health and speak on the inequities that are so much more apparent during the pandemic. Systemic racism continues to make itself known. We are now experiencing a rise of cases, mostly attributed to delta variant infections, with serious illness in unvaccinated individuals and another reminder of disparities and inequities in our public health infrastructure. School systems continue to grapple with having enough resources to ensure safety as we wait for vaccine approval for those under 12 years of age. Pediatric providers must think about how the COVID vaccine campaign for children will play out and advocate for equitable approaches now. Additionally, wildfires in Oregon continue to remind us of the effects of climate change on our health; more still needs to be done to counter policing and gun violence that disproportionately results in the death of Black and Indigenous people; mental health access continues to be a challenge for our most vulnerable children even as ACEs awareness becomes more prevalent; and our political leaders, regardless of party affiliation, still need to hear our voices and be held accountable for the health and wellbeing of children.  
This year, the advocacy committee will continue to produce Advocating for Children Together (ACT) to expand and hone our advocacy skills. The conference, Making Our Voice Heard, will be a series of three interactive webinars: media training, legislative lobbying, and writing a resolution for the AAP Annual Leadership Forum. Please save the date for the first session, media training, scheduled for Wednesday, September 8 from 7-9 pm. Our updated ACT website and registration site are available to view through    
The Advocacy Committee continues to have our quarterly meetings. We are also exploring new ways to connect and leverage our networks for change. If you are interested in the work of the advocacy committee or working on developing content for the ACT conference, please email either of the Advocacy Committee co-chairs, [email protected] or [email protected], to be added to our listserv.  
Stay healthy, stay safe and stay engaged!
Raul & Heyman
AAPCA1 & ACEs Aware
The ACEs screening tool and initiative to address childhood trauma is a small step in a long history of pediatric research and programs on understanding how children thrive, and how we can support them. 

This month's article focuses on the powerful impact of positive parenting in decreasing the risk of childhood developmental, social or behavioral delays.
Pediatric Perspectives: Strengthening ACEs
The Protective Factors Framework

By Dr. Renee Wachtel, MD, FAAP
Chair, Committees on Development and Behavior and School Health
Pediatricians are often the first to identify stressors in families that impede their ability to The Center for the Study of Social Policy ( has focused upon resiliency in its approach to helping families that have experienced ACEs. The five protective factors at the foundation of Strengthening Families are characteristics that have been shown to make positive outcomes more likely for young children and their families, and to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. 

Protective factors are characteristics that act to mitigate risks and promote positive well-being and healthy development. The Strengthening Families paradigm uses a protective factors framework to guide supports and interventions with families. This is a research informed approach to increase family strengths and enhance child development.
Adolescent Health Conference Recordings are Available to View!
Visit the page linked below to view our Adolescent Health Conference recordings from earlier this year. Before viewing, we ask that you consider donating $10 to our foundation.
Join Our Committees and Task Forces!
Interested in getting more involved with our chapter? Look no further! Sign up to join a committee or task force today at Choose from the committees and task forces below and email [email protected] if you have any questions.
Upcoming Events in Store!
Check out our events page for the latest news and updates on our upcoming events!

From CME conferences, to chapter chats, to professional trainings, we are sure to have opportunities that you won't want to miss! To learn more and register for events, visit

P.S. While You're there, check out some of our past events too!
Supporting the Mental Health and Wellness of Immigrant Families
August 13 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Mitigating Compassion Fatigue to Build Resilient Providers
August 18 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Screening for ACEs: The Missing Link in Fostering Early Childhood Development
August 23 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Wildfires: Health, Resilience, and Equity
September 1 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM
ACT 2021: Making Our Voices Heard
September 8 - December 8
The 42nd Annual Las Vegas Seminars
November 18 - 21
6th Annual Pediatric Puzzles CME Conference
December 4 from 7:45 AM - 4:45 PM
Join Our Book Club!
Our next book for the book club has been announced! To stay in the loop for the latest updates, complete our survey linked below to join the club! For questions, email [email protected].
The SGA Side
Your Key to State Government Affairs
Nora Pfaff, MD, FAAP and Zarah Iqbal, MD, MPH, CFAAP
SGA Chapter Representatives

The CA State Government Affairs committee met mid-July to discuss the outcome of recent state budget creation endeavors. This year, like last year, has been a bit unusual in terms of the typical timeline for annual state budget setting. In order for legislators to keep their paychecks, the state budget proposal was due on the governor’s desk on June 15. The budget that was submitted is a temporary measure without specific ways to implement said budget. Now come “trailer bills”—bills that will outline the specifics of implementation.   

One important trailer bill, for all who work with and take care of children, is the “AB-130 Education finance: education omnibus budget trailer bill” which was passed on July 9th. The bill is huge and encompasses various programs. Some examples are: 
  1. Quality independent study programs must be made available by local school districts for students whose health puts them at risk if they were to return to in-person schooling.  
  2. The bill expands the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program in 2022-23 with plans for moving to Universal TK by 2025-26.  
  3. Two free meals per day for all students TK through grade 12, regardless of parents’ income, starting 2022-2023. (This push for universal free lunch was a huge win for AAP-CA, after many years of advocacy.) This bill also allocates a portion of the budget to ensure these meals are fresh and nutritious. 
  4. Provides funding for an Anti Bias Education Grant, aimed at addressing racism and bias in all CA public schools.  
  5. Funding for the creation of education resources on climate change and environmental justice education for K-12.  

…and so much more! 

If you’d like to read more about this bill, and the other trailer bills—check out and click on “Bill Analysis” for plain language explanations.  
For the most up to date information on AAP California bill positions, letters & outcomes from the current CA Legislative year, go to For the latest organizational advocacy updates follow @AAPCADocs on twitter. If you have questions and/or are interested in knowing more about a certain legislation, reach out to our State Government Affairs Chapter Representatives Nora Pfaff, MD, FAAP and Zarah Iqbal, MD, MPH at [email protected].
Opportunities for Your Benefit
Call for Nominees - District CATCH Facilitator (DCF), District IX 
Deadline: August 15
Application Link: online application

We are currently seeking a District CATCH Facilitator for California (AAP District IX) to serve on the CATCH Executive Committee which oversees the CATCH program, which assists pediatricians and pediatric trainees work with their communities to improve child health. The mission of the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Program is to support pediatricians to collaborate within their communities to advance the health of all children. Our vision is that every child in every community reaches optimal health and well-being. 
Any pediatrician motivated to help others work with their communities, beyond what they might have learned in traditional medical training, is encouraged to apply. Experience with the CATCH program is a plus, but not required. View DCF Responsibilities and Activities for more information.
CATCH encourages individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to apply for the Executive Committee. CATCH upholds the Statement on Diversity and Inclusion and values all forms of diversity which may include (but are not limited to) differences in age, race, ethnicity, geography, religion, socioeconomic status, language, immigration background, sexual orientation, gender identity, special health care need, politics, and other attributes.
To be considered for the position, please complete the online application by August 15DCF’s are appointed by their District Chairperson and must be a national AAP member and a chapter member. Contact [email protected] or Janice Kim, MD, FAAP ([email protected]) with any questions.

Don’t MISS the Signs of MIS-C: Data, Trends & What Providers Need to Know
Join the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and pediatric specialists from California for two FREE webinars on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

These webinars are intended for medical and health professionals, including cardiologists, rheumatologists, intensivists, gastroenterologists, infectious disease physicians, emergency medicine physicians, pediatricians, family medicine physicians and physician assistants. Continuing Medical Education (CME) units for physicians are available.

Child Death Review Webinars:
These webinars are free to attend and are hosted by the Partners for Child Fatality Prevention project team, an AAP-OC project, to inform on the processes of child death review and to demonstrate how we can work to prevent childhood injury in our clinical practices. We also will learn how we can use fatality data to advocate for policy and systems change.

August 13: Supporting the Mental Health and Wellness of Immigrant Families - SAVE-THE-DATE!
August 18: Mitigating Compassion Fatigue to Build Resilient Providers - LEARN MORE!
August 23: Screening for ACEs: The Missing Link in Fostering Early Childhood Development - LEARN MORE!
September 1: Wildfires: Health, Resilience, and Equity - LEARN MORE!
September 8 - December 8: ACT 2021: Making Our Voices Heard - LEARN MORE!
November 18-21: The 42nd Annual Las Vegas Seminars at Caesars Palace - SAVE-THE-DATE!
December 4: 6th Annual Pediatric Puzzles CME Conference at O’Connor Hospital (NOTE: NEW LOCATION - SOUTH BAY!) - SAVE-THE-DATE!
Become a Newsletter Editor!
Interested in getting involved with our Pediatric Insider News Editor Team? Look no further! Our team is currently looking to recruit an editor! As an editor, your main task will be to review the monthly newsletter draft and provide feedback on the articles we receive. Additionally, you will also be tasked with reviewing the final newsletter draft on Constant Contact to provide formatting suggestions. Interest or experience in journalism and writing is helpful but not required. To secure your spot as an editor or to learn more about the position, email [email protected].
Add our social media accounts to get the latest chapter updates!

Twitter: @AAPCA1
Instagram: @AAPCA1
Donate to AAPCA1 on Amazon Smile, Now Available on Mobile!
Your shopping makes a difference. Amazon donates to California Chapter 1, American Academy of Pediatrics when you shop through

AmazonSmile is now available in the Amazon Shopping app. Here's how to activate it:
  1. Open the Amazon app on your phone. 
  2. Select the main menu (=) & tap on "AmazonSmile" within Programs & Features. 
  3. Select "AAP California Chapter 1 Foundation" as your charity. 
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app.
Your membership makes a difference for children in California, thank you!

The AAPCA1's ability to advocate on behalf of children is only as strong as the support we receive from our members. Encourage your colleagues to join today by visiting the AAPCA1 website.

Our mission is to promote the optimal health and development of children and
adolescents of Northern California in partnership with their families and communities, and to support the pediatricians who care for them.

Executive Committee:
President: Nelson Branco • Vice President: Nicole Webb
Secretary: Janice Kim • Treasurer: Nivedita More • Past President: Raelene Walker
Executive Director: Isra Uz-Zaman

Board Members:
North Valley MAL: Thiyagu Ganesan • Sacramento Valley MAL: Lena van der List • Central Valley MAL: Deborah Shassetz • South Valley MAL: Vacant • San Francisco MAL: Vacant • Santa Clara MAL: Meera Sankar • San Mateo MAL: Neel Patel • North Coastal MAL: Jeffrey Ribordy • Monterey Bay MAL: Graciela Wilcox • Alameda MAL: Reshem Agarwal
• Contra Costa/Solano MAL: Omoniyi Omotoso

Pediatric Insider News Editors:
• Mika Hiramatsu • Deborah Shassetz • Alyssa Velasco

Executive Assistant: Sabah Elias