May • 2020
May of Renewals and Blooms

May is normally a time of renewals and blooms
And so chapter activity resumes
From awards, grants, programs, continued learning, elections and more
To climate, foster care and mental health... we'll let you read through to keep score!
President's Column
Raelene Walker, MD, FAAP
As we move more fully into spring, normally a time of renewal and opening up, but still deal with a worldwide pandemic, I’d like to highlight several positive happenings going on and upcoming for our chapter and to offer my ongoing appreciation and support to all.

Grant Award:  We were awarded a grant to join the Addressing Social Health and Early Childhood Wellness (ASHEW) Learning Collaborative. Our chapter leaders for this project are Dr. Dayna Long and Dr. Gena Lewis , though they will have a team to support them. Look for practice enrollment information in June with the project to begin in July. Congratulations! 

Chapter Solution Share:  We have been hosting weekly Chapter Solution Shares to help us all share information and ideas about how to best care for children and practice pediatrics during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve featured specialists and experts from a variety of backgrounds weekly in April on Thursdays, 7:30-8:30PM. Recordings of prior events are available on our COVID-19 webpage . Thank you again to all our panelists. We appreciate you!

Chapter Elections: Chapter elections for open board positions are coming soon. Please look for your ballot via email the second week of May. Results will be announced in June and the new terms begin in July. Please vote, and consider if you might be interested in running or joining a project or committee in the future.       

Free AAP CME and MOC Online:  To help all of us stay up to date as easily as possible in the midst of the current challenges, the AAP is offering all courses through PediaLink, the AAP’s online education portal free of charge to all levels of membership for the time being.  Login at  PediaLink

CATCH grant awards:  Members of our chapter have been awarded five CATCH (Community Access to Child Health) grants. For more information about these projects, please see below. Many congratulations to the following awardees, listed with the title of their projects and topic area. We look forward to supporting you and helping your projects thrive. Congratulations!
  • Stephanie Y. Fong Gomez, MD, MS and Noor Chadha, MD: The VOICE Project (Well Child/Well Baby Care)
  • Charlotte Helvie, MD, FAAP: Inyo County Family Strengthening Project (Child Abuse and Neglect)
  • Ivan Marquez, MD: Promoting Childhood Literacy and Anti-Bias Development (Well Child Care)
  • Maya Raman, MD and Clarissa Camarillo, MD: Video Based Bridges to ABA (Autism Spectrum Disorders)
  • Xing Wang, MD and Vanessa Boshuizen, MD: Nutrition and Garden Club (Nutrition)

New Logo:  We have a new chapter logo. It is at the top of this newsletter. Chapter branding will now utilize this logo.
Life After Residency Program:  We are hosting a virtual Life After Residency Program on May 9 to assist residents with the transition to pediatric practice. Though we wish it could be in person, there will be a lot of practical and useful information, interview practice and tips, and community. If you are a resident, please consider joining us. Here is the link to register . Also, if you are interested in becoming a mentor, please register here . More information including the schedule and speakers can be found at

In closing, I will continue to hold all of you, your families, your patients and their families, and other communities in my thoughts as we continue to take care of each other now and into the future.
Reminder to Join Our Committees & Task Forces
Joining a committee or task force is a perfect way to further your passion in your areas of interest and meet like-minded colleagues. Our chapter has 13 committees and task forces that can be found here . A reminder that the below ones are newly launched/re-launched: 
  • Child Abuse Prevention, Education and Treatment Committee: JOIN
  • Immigrant Health Task Force: JOIN
  • Foster Care Committee: JOIN
South Valley Member-At-Large Report
Jolie A. Limon, MD, FAAP
As my time as a member of the AAP California Chapter 1 Board comes to a close, I have reflected on what I have learned and experienced in my last 2 years representing the South Valley.

I have been an AAP member since I was a resident (which is longer ago than I wish to admit). I knew the academy was a special organization that protected the health and welfare of kids. I would read my PREP religiously and was excited each year to attend the NCE. That was the extent of my knowledge.

That has changed…my time as a Board Member began after our hospital hosted a town hall with then chapter president, Zoey Goore, MD, MPH, FAAP , who graciously came to Madera to meet with local pediatricians. She showed up with such passion and conviction for what the Academy stands for and I knew I wanted to be a part of the work.
The Climate Crisis and You
Amanda Millstein, MD, FAAP & Lisa Patel, MD, FAAP & Sarah Schear, MS4
We want to first take a collective moment to pause. We take a deep breath in. And a long and slow breath out. We find ourselves doing this often, as the news, the upside-down-ness of our clinical practices, and our worry for our loved ones, ourselves, and our patients as we live through the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming.
We are also reminded what a few minutes outside looking at the blue sky can do. How a walk in a green space can help de-stress in these trying times. And how it’s spring again: the flowers are in bloom filling the world with bright color and beauty.
The Climate Change and Health Task Force is taking a hiatus in meetings while its members focus on the pandemic and its far-reaching ramifications. We keep in mind, though, that there are lessons to be learned from the pandemic that apply to climate change : the importance of...
Foster Care Committee Update
In honor of Mental Health & Foster Care Awareness Month: 
How Interconnectedness Can Heal 'Frayed Threads'
Katy Carlsen, MD, FAAP
As I write this article for our California Chapter 1, AAP Newsletter on behalf of the Foster Care subcommittee, I am embarrassed to acknowledge my lack of ability to actively engage and launch an effective foster care committee recently. My friend, colleague and co chair, Dr. Rachel Weinreb , has retired from her general pediatric practice and is enjoying a newfound life of farming in a rural community in Northern California. She has decided that she must resign as co chair for the foreseeable future due to other constraints on her time. While I am continuing to work toward improvement in coordination around health care needs of children and youth in foster care, it has become apparent that ...
Chapter Spotlight: 2020-21 CATCH Projects
The VOICE Project
Stephanie Y. Fong Gomez, MD, MS, PL-2 and Noor Chadha, MS2
Pediatric medical homes have a powerful, underutilized opportunity to promote civic engagement among adolescents and families, resulting in healthier patients and communities. Emerging evidence shows that voting early in life is associated with healthier behaviors, positive mental health outcomes, and economic benefits over the life course. However, young people, low-income people, and people of color face structural, psychological, and logistical barriers to voting.

If you would like more information or are interested in incorporating voter engagement at your clinic, contact
Inyo County Family Strengthening Project
Charlotte Helvie, MD, FAAP
As the director of the sole pediatric group in the county I feel a responsibility for all of the children of the community. This CATCH grant will be used to formalize the interaction between various providers and agencies in Inyo County who work with children in order to improve the identification of families who are at increased risk of child abuse or neglect and the ability of these families to access supportive services.
Promoting Childhood Literacy & Anti-Bias Development
Iv á n Marquez, MD, PL-1
The Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC) is a federally qualified health center that serves as a patient-centered medical home for a diverse population of Sacramento youth. This project aims to adapt the Reach Out and Read (ROR) model to reflect the inclusive and culturally responsive care model practiced at SNAHC.
A Video Based Bridge to ABA
Maya Raman, MD, PL-2 and Clarissa Camarillo, MD, PL-2
The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased to one in 59 children in the United States. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy has been proven to be effective for children with ASD, however it is difficult to access. Families in the Bay Area typically experience a 3-6 month delay from referral to the time initial ABA assessment is completed. There is often additional delay of weeks to several months until providers begin working with the patient.

Our project aims to support families waiting for access to ABA by demonstrating hands-on strategies for implementing behavioral interventions.
Nutrition and Garden Club
Vanessa Boshuizen, MD, PL-3 and Xing Wang, MD, PL-1
As part of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California pediatrics residency, all residents participate in the Resident Education in Advocacy and Community Health (REACH) program. Residents are encouraged to explore and meet with area organizations with the goal of strengthening relationships and developing a project with a community organization. At one of our school sites in 2016, 80% of families responded to a school-wide needs assessment.
2019 CATCH Project Highlight
Priya Shankar, MD, PL-3
With the support of an AAP CATCH grant, I undertook a project titled "Mental Health Among South Asian Girls" after noticing a high burden of mental health issues among women and girls of my community. During the course of the CATCH grant, I first conducted a needs assessment with youth in which I got a chance to learn about key community issues, including cultural and social shame surrounding the topics of mental health, sexuality, and gender identity.
The SGA Side
Your Key to State Government Affairs
Nora Pfaff, MD, FAAP and Zarah Iqbal, MD, MPH
SGA Chapter Representatives

The shutdown for the CA Legislature has now been extended until at least May 4th, and the schedule will be uncertain once they do reopen. Your SGA committee met virtually in early April, continuing to take positions on bills, and provide letters of comments and virtual testimony on bills. 

The first part of our meeting this month was spent discussing AAP-CA advocacy efforts related to immediate socioeconomic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that directly affect the health of children. Some examples of topics brought up included the expansion of WIC, emergency childcare and compensation for child care workers, housing issues (i.e. eviction moratorium and rent freeze proposals), and well child visit/vaccine provision. Here are the items we took action on:
There will be more opportunities to advocate on behalf of children with the socioeconomic fallout from COVID-19 that we know is coming. 

Specific bills that were discussed during the April 1st meeting included the following bills that were supported: requiring licensing and regulation for children’s day camps--SB 955 (Portantino), making tele-health reimbursements easier for Medi-Cal and FQHC/rural clinic providers--AB-2007 (Salas), supporting sexual health education for foster youth--AB 2035 (Blanca Rubio), increasing access to pediatric mental health providers via tele-health--AB-2464 (Aguiar-Curry), increasing mental health services provided by Medi-Cal--AB-2912 (Gray).

As always:
  • For the most up to date information on AAP California bill positions, letters & outcomes from the 2019 CA Legislative year, go to 
  • For 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
May 9, 2020: Crash Course on Life After Residency - 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