September • 2020
In September We Continue to Support

In September we continue to support
With a number of timely webinars and events
These are events to NOT miss, in short
And we applaud our members work, immense.

President's Column
Raelene Walker, MD, FAAP
So much is happening in our chapter right now and in the month of September. I’d like to start with several very positive updates. The AAP Annual Leadership Forum was held virtually in mid-August after the in person meeting was cancelled in March due to COVID-19. This is an annual meeting of all the chapter, section, and council leadership from around the country, with a big goal of helping set the agenda and the highest priorities for the AAP from its membership through a resolution process. At the end, the top 10 newly passed resolutions become priorities for the upcoming year, and our chapter was impressively strong and effective with that effort. In total, our chapter members wrote and we sponsored 11 resolutions that passed. And, our chapter member Dr. Alexandra Valrighi wrote and we sponsored the highest priority resolution for the entire AAP! It is entitled Addressing Structural Racism Within Healthcare. In addition, the number 4 resolution for the entire AAP is also sponsored by our chapter and related. It is entitled Ask All Children, Adolescents and Their Families About Racism, Discrimination and Bias and was authored by Dr. Gretchen Graves. Here is the list of the titles and authors from our chapter, as well as the link to the top 10 resolutions on our new chapter ALF webpage. AAP California chapter 1 leads!

Three of our chapter members were also the recipients of special achievement awards, and I’d like to recognize and again thank them. Dr. Jolie Limon, for her phenomenal leadership and advocacy for children, particularly children in the Central Valley. We applaud her service and her leadership in bringing our Mental Health Day to Madera. Dr. Aaron Nayfack, for co-chairing our Advocacy Committee for years, serving on our SGA committee and continuing to be an amazing advocate for children and inspiring pediatricians as an elected official. Dr. Lena van der List, for demonstrating impressive leadership by developing an advocacy training curriculum focused on media for residents at UC Davis and for being an outstanding SOPT representative. These are all amazing pediatricians and people. We greatly appreciate them and their advocacy for children and the field of pediatrics and all the work they have done for our chapter. Thank you!

Our chapter as a whole also won a special achievement award in recognition of our inaugural 2019 ACT (Advocating for Children Together) conference. As a reminder, this happened in September 2019 and addressed advocacy for pediatricians, with a focus on gun violence prevention, mental health issues, ACES, climate change and health, and the public health crisis of police violence. In addition, Drs. Annie Kaplan and Stephanie Fong Gomez, who co-organized and led the ACT conference, were recently announced as the winners of the 2020 AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT) Anne E. Dyson Child Advocacy Award for this project. We are so proud and impressed by these resident pediatricians and leaders!

As we move into September, please remember to actively take care of yourselves as you also continue to take care of patients and families. To help each other do that, please check out and join us for these upcoming events as we continue our work in the midst of so many current challenges. More information is below.

ACT (Advocating for Children Together) Conference, Sept 12
Practice Support Chapter Chat, September 15
Wildfire and Smoke Exposure in Children, September 3 (Recording is available here)
Vice President's Column
Nelson Branco, MD, FAAP
This year, I finally got to attend my first Annual Leadership Forum (ALF) – virtually. Like so much of 2020, this meeting happened via Zoom. Despite that, it was a fascinating exercise – seeing the diversity of opinions, resolutions and discussion among our colleagues who took the time to write and speak in support of the many resolutions was inspiring. I’m sure you’ve read by now about the Top 10 resolutions passed and voted on by the ALF attendees, including two from Chapter 1 and #1: Addressing Structural Racism within Healthcare written by Alexandra Valrighi, MD, MPH when she was a resident at UCSF. 

There were many resolutions and excellent presentations on race, structural racism, equity and mental health. One of the highlights of the meeting was the active chat box. All of the attendees kept a running commentary and discussion going throughout the meeting. One comment in particular caught my attention, during a discussion about inequities in access to care. The commenter simply said that we should be advocating for equity in payment for all of our colleagues. I was struck by this because it’s so obvious, yet so difficult to address. The resources available for those who care for the underserved are so much less; this can lead to higher rates of turnover and burnout, and decreased productivity for our colleagues who work in those settings.

As announced last month, our chapter is launching a Practice Support Task Force, led by Dr. Niki Saxena. As we said in the August newsletter, “Our goal is to help pediatricians navigate the unprecedented challenges of these times by providing useful, timely and actionable information as well as advocating on behalf of our members.” How does this relate to equity? In my experience, practice setting doesn’t matter – we all have similar problems to solve and issues that arise. But, some of us have more access to information that may help us create workflows and systems to help care for our patients. Some of us are closer to the levers that move the machine, and some of us can leverage expertise that is hard to come by in smaller organizations.

I hope that the Practice Support Task Force becomes a resource for all of our chapter members – primary care, specialty, independent practice, employed, academic, or ‘other.’ We all want to provide the best possible care for the children in our community – let’s share ideas and experiences! For more information on joining, email: or click the button below to join the task force!
Our first Practice Support Task Force activity will be a Chapter Chat on September 15 focused on COVID-19 and the upcoming winter season. I know that my own practice has been diligently preparing for and trying to understand what we will need to handle this unpredictable winter season. I know we are not the only ones. Join us on September 15, or watch the recording afterward, to see what your colleagues are planning, thinking, and doing. 
Advocating for Children Together (ACT) 2020 CME Conference is Next Week!
J. Raul Gutierrez, MD, FAAP and Heyman Oo, MD, MPH, FAAP
Advocacy Committee Co-Chairs
Registration Closes on Tuesday, September 8, 2020
After months of planning, it is crazy to think we are only a week away from the Advocating for Children Together (ACT) Virtual Conference on September 12! It is hard to believe that we have been living in this pandemic world now for almost 6 months and as we continue to take care of patients and try to adjust to this new normal, we look ahead to the U.S. national Election Day, only about 2 months away. Then we look around at all the critical issues that are facing our children and families as schools start to reopen (virtually or in person), as social inequities continue interplay with racial inequities to exacerbate health inequities and wonder, what more can we do?  

The ACT Conference aspires to offer answers to that question and more! This year’s virtual conference will consist of a half day program from 9am to 1pm and cover the theme of “COVID-19 & Health Equity”. Registration is LIVE on our website: For more event information, visit our chapter website:

Our amazing keynote speakers will be presenting on topics such as combating anti-science propaganda in social media, dismantling structural racism in our healthcare systems and framing the COVID-19 public health response through a health equity lens. Additionally, we will teach conference participants what they can each do to help promote the civic health of their patients through the use of physician-driven, non-partisan, voter registration toolkits. There will be opportunities for one on one mentorship with experienced pediatrician advocates and we plan on taking a deeper dive into specific advocacy skills like story-telling and coalition building grounded in advocacy areas of passion like climate change and health or mental health, and others listed below! 

The AAPCA1 Advocacy committee has been working tirelessly for the last few months to put together this program and we are excited to be able to offer this opportunity for you to become informed, engaged, and inspired in new ways to influence change for the betterment of our patients and communities.
Immigrant Health
Faculty: Alexandria Valdrighi, MD & Vini Vijayan, MD, FAAP
Session will highlight how immigrant children are unequally impacted by COVID-19 and discuss steps pediatricians and other child health advocates can take to speak up on behalf of immigrant communities.
School Health
Faculty: Renee Wachtel, MD, FAAP & Noemi Spinazzi, MD, FAAP & Hannah Perrin, MD
Session will discuss current school health policies and relevant legislation, and potential advocacy resources for you and your patients. 
Legislative Advocacy
Faculty: Zarah Iqbal, MD, MPH & Jacques Corriveau, MD FAAP & Kris Calvin
Session will include how to use online tools to locate and understand current legislative proposals relating to children and pediatrics, and how to make your voice heard, quickly and powerfully, by policymakers on the issues you care most about.
Child Abuse
Faculty: Casey L. Brown, MD, FAAP
Session will focus on the unique features of child abuse and neglect in the era of COVID-19 and highlight ways to advocate for this vulnerable, often difficult to reach population.
Climate Change & Health
Faculty: Hop Hopkins and Kari Nadeau, MD
Session will build pediatricians’ skills in communicating about the climate crisis and advocating for climate solutions and how pediatricians can ally with the youth-led climate movement and influence voters through storytelling.
Mental Health
Faculty: Diane Dooley, MD, MHS, FAAP & Joan Jeung, MD, MPH
Session will discuss the unwritten rules of organizational participation and leadership that lead to effective change. Attendees will be presented a resource list of influential committees and collaboratives and will be asked to share their experiences with these, and other policy-change organizations. 
CATCH Project Updates:
The VOICE Project
Stephanie Y. Fong Gomez, MD, MS, PL-2 and Noor Chadha, MS2
With voter suppression increasingly on people’s minds as we grow closer to the 2020 General Election, the VOICE Project has found new opportunities to scale and collaborate with others interested in youth and family civic engagement. We are excited to announce that our voter engagement work in the Primary Care Center at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has expanded to San Francisco and into inpatient and emergency settings, in partnership with a growing team of dedicated residents and attendings on both sides of the Bay. Other new collaborators include Vot-ER, UCSF Advocates, Kaiser Oakland, and the AAP #VoteKids campaign. Since receiving our CATCH grant, we have also launched our website and our social media presence (@VOICE_OakSF on Twitter and Instagram). In addition, we have led trainings to promote youth and family voter engagement among several audiences including the AAP District IX Section on Pediatric Trainees, pediatric residents and staff at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and family medicine and pediatric residents at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. 

As we expand our work...
A Video-Based Bridge to ABA
Maya Raman, MD, PL-2 and Clarissa Camarillo, MD, PL-2
This March my colleagues and I were excited to receive a CATCH grant for our "Video Bridge to ABA" Project. Working with multiple local Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) providers and community organizations, we want to create a five-part video series as an innovative way to educate families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our project specifically hopes to bridge the time period when families are waiting to be connected to ABA services or experience a lapse in ABA services.

As this unique year progresses, we are thankful that we have been able to continue our work and have been motivated by clinic visits with our patients to persevere.
The SGA Side
Your Key to State Government Affairs
Nora Pfaff, MD, FAAP and Zarah Iqbal, MD, MPH
SGA Chapter Representatives

The SGA committee did not meet in August but your CA Chapter 1 SGA representatives have been busy helping to plan the second annual Advocating for Children Together (ACT) Conference! In case you missed it, registration is now open (

Even though it is a virtual conference, there are a limited number of spots available—so make you sure you register ASAP.
This year’s theme is COVID-19 and Health Equity, with keynote speakers addressing issues of structural racism and injustice, combating anti-science agendas, and the public health response to the pandemic. The second part of the conference will include breakout focus groups on a variety of topics affecting the health of children and building on different hands-on advocacy skills. There will also be a micro-mentoring session giving junior faculty and trainees the chance to meet mentors in the field of advocacy through one-on-one mentorship “speed-dates.” The Legislative Advocacy focus group will feature Kris Calvin, AAPCA CEO and Dr. Jacques Corriveau, MD FAAP, our SGA chair. 

We are so excited to continue building our pediatric advocacy community, at a time when we all need it most. Hope to see you on September 12th!  

The AAP and 44 of its chapters, INCLUDING OURS, are asking federal officials to rescind their decision allowing licensed pharmacists to administer vaccines to children regardless of state laws.
“This announcement threatens the medical home, depriving children and families of much needed medical care and clinical guidance, and further exacerbates inequities in the delivery of childhood immunizations,” the groups said in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar II, J.D., on Friday.

Opportunities for Your Benefit

California ACEs Academy:
CALIFORNIA ACES ACADEMY (CAA), funded by ACEs Aware, is providing free online training to Medi-Cal providers and others. CAA kicks off its series of ten free one-hour live webinars Thursday, September 3, 2020, 12 noon PDT with Dr. Vincent J. Felitti and September 17, 2020, 12 noon PDT with Dr. R.J. Gillespie(Click on names to view 1.5-minute intros.) For further information visit CALIFORNIA ACES ACADEMY.
Resilient Beginnings Network:
The Resilient Beginnings Network will support the participation of approximately 15 San Francisco Bay Area safety net organizations over the course of three years. This program is well-suited for organizations with a strong pediatric focus who are committed to trauma- and resilience-informed care, interested in applying an equity and racial justice lens, and willing to both teach and learn from their peers.
Application Deadline: Friday, September 18, 2020 at 5pm
Read more and apply here.
September 12, 2020: ACT 2020 CME Conference - REGISTER!
September 15, 2020: Practice Support Chapter Chat - REGISTER!
December 5, 2020: 5th Annual Pediatric Puzzles - SAVE THE DATE!

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.

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