December 12, 2022
In October 2021, under the leadership of Dr. Teri Turner, APA Immediate Past President, we embarked on a strategic planning process to chart our course for the next 5 years. Guided by an expert strategic planning consultant team, we reflected on the successes and challenges of the 2017-2022 strategic plan, and we engaged stakeholders within and outside of the APA across the continuum of career stages. We walked away with a draft set of goals, objectives, tactics, and metrics. The initial draft was bold, comprehensive, and forward thinking. Teri presented the draft strategic plan at the APA Membership Meeting at PAS 2022 and solicited feedback from attendees. We have continued to refine the draft plan through discussions with APA program leaders, our staff, and many members.
Last month, we held our fall Board of Directors meeting in Minneapolis. We were very fortunate to be joined by Laura Degnon, Executive Director of Degnon Associates, the association management company that has served as our organizational home, partner and thought leader for more than 40 years. As many of you know, Laura’s father George passed away in October. George was brilliant, kind, engaging and thoughtful. He was known and loved by many current and past APA members. George was a guiding light for the APA. We started our board meeting with a check-in to give space to share how everyone was doing given ongoing challenges within and outside of our professional lives. I found this short time for reflection and sharing helpful in setting the tone for our work ahead, and I plan to do this activity in other venues in the future. In partnership with our APA Executive Director, Jessica Konrath, the Board spent additional time finalizing our 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, and I am excited to share a one-page summary of the plan today.
Our mission and core values have not changed. We remain focused on providing professional development opportunities to child health professionals across career stages and core areas of academic interest. We made a small, but meaningful change to our vision statement. The APA strives to be “a thriving diverse and inclusive academic pediatric community that ensures optimal health and well-being for all children, particularly those most vulnerable.”
Over the next 5 years, to support current and future members, we will focus on four goals:
- Developing diverse scholars and leaders to advance child health and equity;
- Fostering a diverse environment of inclusivity, engagement, and collaboration;
- Becoming recognized as the premier child health organization for academic career development; and
- Achieving strategic and sustainable organizational growth
In the 2023 – 2028 Strategic Plan, you will see several core strategies under each goal. During our meeting, the Board also approved all recommendations made by the Anti-Racism and Diversity Task Force. This includes establishing DEI as our 5th APA pillar of academic focus. In addition, as shown in the figure, DEI will be central to our work ahead. We look forward to collaborating with many of you to operationalize this change in an intentional and meaningful way.
While we were in Minneapolis, we visited George Floyd square. It was a powerful and painful reminder of the murder of George Floyd nearly 2 ½ years ago and the countless lives that continue to be taken at the hands of law enforcement. We talked with individuals who still meet daily to pay tribute, support one another, and offer tangible resources to the local community. I was inspired by their ongoing efforts to build community and their persistence in fighting for racial justice. I know many of you are working to address structural racism in your own institutions, health systems, and communities. On a recent call for the Federation of Pediatric Organizations, I was encouraged to hear that many of our partner pediatric societies continue to call attention to this issue.
I am always energized by re-connecting with APA colleagues, forming new professional ties, and supporting our trainees and early career faculty in their scholarly work. Over the coming months, I hope you will be able to attend your regional APA meetings. Our region co-chairs and meeting planning committees are working hard to create engaging sessions with keynote speakers, workshops, platform and poster sessions, networking activities, and more. Getting away from our daily work can be challenging, especially during the current surge in respiratory viruses and the increased demand on clinics and hospitals. Regional meetings are one or two days, most are held over weekends, and some will occur remotely. As I have shared before, the regional meeting has been a bedrock activity for me ever since I started as a general academic pediatrics fellow just over 23 years ago. I hope you will consider attending and bringing some of your trainees along to experience the magic of the APA.
Finally, I wanted to use this opportunity to share my appreciation. Thank you to APA program leaders of our special interest groups, regions, scholar and other faculty development programs, committees, task forces, research funding programs, and conference planners. You volunteer your time and expertise without hesitation. I am amazed by your dedication to the APA, to creating a place of belonging, and to supporting and mentoring the next generation of academic child health professionals. I also feel very fortunate to work alongside and learn from our incredible Board of Directors and a wonderful APA staff. Thank you for your partnership, encouragement, and continued support.
I hope everyone can enjoy quality time with family, friends and loved ones during this holiday season. I hope you can get some rest and find time for yourselves. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2023! I look forward to seeing many of you in April in Washington, DC for an amazing PAS 2023 meeting.
Barry Solomon, MD, MPH