January • 2024

As January begins...

As we bid farewell to 2023, pediatricians poised in anticipation,

In the brisk December air, they geared up for a new foundation.

Preparing for 2024, their stethoscopes tuned,

A symphony of care, in each heartbeat attuned

President's Column

Nicole Webb, MD, FAAP

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to spend some time doing things that are meaningful to you during the end-of-year holidays. As we look forward to 2024, we do so with excitement for continued collaboration and innovation to improve child health in our chapter’s vast region and beyond. It’s also important to reflect on what our chapter accomplished through YOUR dedication in 2023 and we hope you enjoyed reading about that in our recent year in review. I am incredibly proud of the work of our amazing chapter and fantastic members.

I also want to take a moment to introduce you to our wonderful chapter staff, who work tirelessly to advance the mission of AAP CA-1 and support your advocacy.

Many of you may know our executive director, Yolanda Ruiz. Yolanda joined our chapter staff in February 2021, bringing with her a wealth of experience in overseeing programs dedicated to supporting children and teens affected by domestic violence and child abuse. Her extensive background in nonprofit grants, program management, and commitment to children's health have proven instrumental in her capacity as Executive Director. As we embark on the journey of 2024, Yolanda eagerly anticipates a year filled with meaningful connections with our chapter members, California communities, and our partner organizations.

We are also fortunate to have our project coordinator, Sana Sayyid. Sana joined our chapter staff in December 2022 and has prior experience working with nonprofit organizations in the behavioral health and health policy arena. As a pre-medicine student, Sana is passionate about social justice, inclusion, and health equity in medicine. She is currently doing a master’s in health policy and law through UCSF & UC Law. She began her time for the chapter as project assistant, working on a myriad of different tasks, some of which included the newsletter, membership, social media, and helping to plan CME events. Sana is excited to expand her current role of project coordinator in the upcoming year and take on management of new grant opportunities that contribute to the growth and success of our chapter!

We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our AAP CA-1 staff, our marketing assistant Arathzy Portillo. Arathzy joined our chapter staff in December 2023 and she has worked with several nonprofit organizations related to policy advocacy. She's passionate about advocating for policy-related issues through social media and is excited to join the team!

We are so fortunate to have this amazing team supporting the work of our chapter, propelling us forward with innovative ideas, being patient with us when we are less accessible due to clinical demands, being flexible and good-natured about working with challenging schedules of so many doctors, and just generally being the heart and soul of our chapter.

I’m excited for us to keep growing and learning in 2024, as we strive to better serve you so that we can all serve our kids and their communities.

Happy New Year,


Vice President's Column

Neel Patel, MD, FAAP

 A note from our Vice-President: Hope through Advocacy

As we start 2024, I send out a prayer and a call for hope—as so many children and their caregivers’ lives have been disrupted in conflicts all over the world. In the stillness that we feel, I hope that the spark that brought us to this magical profession of pediatrics somehow remains strong and that we can withstand the pain and move forward to continue to care for the children we serve every day and passionately advocate for those far and near. 

Advocacy remains at the heart of what our chapter can offer you. Through our chapter’s efforts, there are many ways to advocate, and I encourage you to transform emotions of happy, sad, or angry into fierce advocacy for children. I would like to highlight a few ways to advocate through our chapter

Ways for an AAP Member to advocate

  • Write and sponsor a letter to submit to an institution or legislative body –work with your Area Director (formerly known as Member-at-Large)
  • Join the Advocacy Committee (co-chairs: Dr. Stephanie Y. Fong Gomez and Dr. Morgan Leighton with residency co-chairs: Dr. Chandini Nair and Dr. Josten Overall)
  • Attend Legislative Day in Sacramento (this year held on May 13-14)
  • Write and secure a grant such as Healthy People 2030 Grant Opportunity on Social Media as a Real Tool in Pediatrics – Due March 11
  • Work with a community or legislative partner to advocate or sponsor legislation
  • Join any one of our committees to join advocacy efforts in the area of your choice.

If you want to discuss something further, please feel free to discuss with your Area Director. Please contact Executive Director Yolanda Ruiz for inquiries regarding the Healthy People Grant, attending legislative day, or working with a community partner to sponsor legislation.

The thought of any one of these can be overwhelming but if you have the enthusiasm, we have some technical support for you and we can do this together! If you want to discuss something further, please feel free to discuss it with your Area Director or leadership. (list here)

As we begin 2024, I appreciate the opportunity to reflect and feel immense gratitude for the work we all do to support the health and well-being of children. In that regard, our chapter is unique with deep relationships and a history of collaboration for the common good of our children. As you continue your important work, please consider AAP Chapter 1 as a partner. We are here to offer our support to you and your patients as they navigate this complicated world. Together let us continue to support all children to achieve their fullest potential and really embody hope. We have a legacy of doing this together!

“Members-at-Large” are now known as “Area Directors”. We would like to take a chance to celebrate our Area Directors who have previously been called “Members-at-Large.” Our bylaws have always referred to them as Area Directors and we would like to go back to this tradition. Area Directors are valued members of our Board. Please look to them if you have any questions about our chapter or if you want to pursue any ideas. In 2024 we hope to have area meet-ups or activities facilitated by our chapter leadership and the Area Directors, so stay tuned!

Developing Concerns

Renee Wachtel, MD, FAAP

Chair, Committee on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Pediatricians often find that many parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are reluctant to treat their children with stimulant medication, despite their well-researched efficacy. In addition, difficulties with ADHD medication shortages and recent reports of possible long-term medication effects have led pediatricians to reconsider non-stimulant medications as an alternative. However, atomoxetine is often not sufficiently effective in controlling ADHD symptoms. A new study just published is worth considering for your ADHD patients, comparing atomoxetine (Strattera) to viloxazine ER (Qelbree). Both medications are considered selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and viloxazine has recently been reformulated as an extended-release medication approved by the FDA for ADHD.

What did they find? . . .

Read the full article to learn more . . .

Read More Here!

The SGA Side

Your Key to State Government Affairs

Nora Pfaff, MD, FAAP and Anna Kaplan, MD, FAAP

SGA Chapter Representatives

The following are just a few of the key bills to note of interest to AAP-CA. Visit the AAP-CA website’s Advocacy page at https://aap-ca.org/advocacy/ to see the entire list of AAP-CA tracked bills that made it to the Governor’s desk where you can read the outcome of each bill and an in-depth analysis.  

For the most up-to-date information on AAP California bill positions, letters, and outcomes from the current California Legislative year, go to www.aap-ca.org/bill. For the latest organizational advocacy updates follow @AAPCADocs on Twitter. If you have questions and/or are interested in knowing more about certain legislation, reach out to our State Government Affairs Chapter Representative Nora Pfaff, MD, FAAP and Anna Kaplan MD, FAAP at info@aapca1.org.

In Case You Missed It

School Health Clinics (SHC) of Santa Clara County: Reflective Practice Experience Review 2020-2023

School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County History:

School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County (SHC) are six clinics located on school grounds in San Jose and Gilroy. Low-income children, adolescents and adults have been served here for 35 years. The majority of patients and families are Spanish-speaking. SHCs participate in behavioral, medical and social programs for the homeless, provide PREP (medication for HIV prevention) and MAT (medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse), reproduction services, behavioral health & SDOH services and navigation.

ACEs Work at SHC:

SHC began assessing ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in 2020 with the integration of Behavioral Health (BH) and its designation as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic or CCBHC. Primary care including Medical Assistants and receptionists were involved in additional patient Mental Health Screening, including PHQ9, ACEs, ASQ (suicide), substance use, and strengths screens. This work increased the identification of an increased number and severity of patients with more complex mental health problems. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding and increasing numbers of homeless folks were accessing SHC services. With the ACEs screening, conversations and disclosures about child maltreatment and intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic violence (DV), and gender-based violence (GBV) became routine for SHC staff. During this time, SHC has been coached by the Resilient Beginnings Network of the Center for Care Innovation to implement trauma and resilience-informed care on the journey toward becoming a healing organization.

Read More Here!
See All Available Pediatric Jobs on our Job Board!
Visit our Pediatric Job Board

Opportunities for Your Benefit

23rd Annual Developmental Disabilities - Update for Health Professionals

Who should participate:

Calling all pediatricians and healthcare professionals in California! If you are involved in the care of children with developmental disabilities and complex healthcare needs, this conference is tailor-made for you. We extend a warm welcome to individuals with disabilities and families to join this enriching experience.

What topics will be addressed:

Dive into a diverse array of topics crucial to your practice, including systems change, health equity, health care transitions, trauma-informed care, supported decision-making, neurodiversity in patient care, autism, cerebral palsy, health policy, assisted communication, sexuality, and more.

Information and Registration: 

Click here to RSVP for the 23rd Annual Developmental Disabilities - Update for Health Professionals Conference. For any questions, reach out to gaelen.lombard@ucsf.edu

ACEs Health Champions Gatherings

Hot Topic: Can School Based Mental Health Services Make a Difference?

January 26, 2024 12:00pm - 1:00pm PT

Presented by David Love, LMFT

Click Here to RSVP

The ACEs Health Champions Network is a system of interconnected non-profit organizations that seek to address the health effects of violence and abuse throughout the life course.

1/16 - The Balance Between Data Exchange and Privacy: Ask the Experts! REGISTER HERE

1/23 - The Resolution Writing Workshop SAVE THE DATE

05/13 - 05/14 - Legislative Day in Sacramento SAVE THE DATE

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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: Nicole Webb • Vice President: Neel Patel

Secretary: Resham Kaur • Treasurer: Amita Saxena • Past President: Nelson Branco

Executive Director: Yolanda Ruiz

Board Members:

North Valley MAL: Thiyagu Ganesan • Sacramento Valley MAL: Lena van der List • Central Valley MAL: Deborah Shassetz • South Valley MAL: Sireesha Palkamsetti • San Francisco MAL: Maya Raman • Santa Clara MAL: Bindya Singh• San Mateo MAL: Jackie Czaja • North Coastal MAL: Jeffrey Ribordy • Monterey Bay MAL: Graciela Wilcox • Alameda MAL: Renee Wachtel • Contra Costa/Solano MAL: Omoniyi Omotoso

Pediatric Insider News Editors:

• Mika Hiramatsu • Deborah Shassetz • Alyssa Velasco


Executive Director: Yolanda Ruiz Project Coordinator: Sana Sayyid •

Marketing Assistant: Arathzy Portillo