Pediatric Nephrology Begins Advocacy Training Initiative

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Funded by the John E. Lewy Foundation for Children’s Health and initiated by the leadership of the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN), the pediatric nephrology community recently announced a new initiative to increase the knowledge and skills of pediatric nephrologists in the areas of advocacy and governmental affairs. Designed by Lisa Satlin, MD, immediate past president of the ASPN, the Advocacy Scholars Program aims to develop a pipeline for the next generation of leaders in pediatric nephrology with specific expertise in governmental processes affecting children’s health care and advocacy for pediatric nephrology. The program plans to educate future leaders

Funded by the John E. Lewy Foundation for Children’s Health and initiated by the leadership of the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN), the pediatric nephrology community recently announced a new initiative to increase the knowledge and skills of pediatric nephrologists in the areas of advocacy and governmental affairs. Designed by Lisa Satlin, MD, immediate past president of the ASPN, the Advocacy Scholars Program aims to develop a pipeline for the next generation of leaders in pediatric nephrology with specific expertise in governmental processes affecting children’s health care and advocacy for pediatric nephrology. The program plans to educate future leaders in the conduct and application of advocacy by offering “mini- fellowships” for leadership and advocacy skills development.

Successful applicants will participate in a three-day legislative conference sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This conference includes visits with members of Congress and their staff and provides experience in the legislative process through hands-on work sessions and interactions with peers, politicians, and the press. At the conclusion of the conference, participants will understand the federal and state legislative process; sharpen skills and techniques to successfully impact Congress, state legislatures, and governmental regulatory agencies; and develop strategies to effectively engage the media. Following this structured learning experience, awardees will work directly with ASPN’s Washington representative and senior members of the ASPN to specifically understand ASPN’s advocacy and Capital Hill efforts and prepare the scholars for participation in an ongoing advocacy initiative.

The inaugural awardees are Tamar Springel, MD, and David Hains, MD. Springel is a fellow in pediatric nephrology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she is pursuing her masters of science degree in health policy research.

“Nephrologists are in a unique position in our healthcare system,” Springel said. “Our ability to care for our sickest patients depends on government legislation.”

Hains is assistant professor of pediatrics and director of the Integrated Research Pathway for the Pediatric Residency Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. His goals are that “the knowledge and insights gained from the John Lewy Foundation Advocacy Scholars Program will help increase my effectiveness in caring for my patients, better guide fellows in research and academic careers, and make an impact as an advocate for our patients and research interests at regional and national levels.”

The initiative will honor the memory of John E. Lewy, MD, who was one of pediatric nephrology’s strongest advocates for children’s health in the United States and around the world. Lewy had served a Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship with Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana and was intimately involved with the governmental affairs activities of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the International Pediatric Nephrology Association. He had just completed his tenure as chair of the AAP’s Committee on Federal Government Affairs at the time of his unexpected death in 2007.

For more information on the John E. Lewy Foundation for Children’s Health and its missions to support pediatric nephrologists and other pediatricians in activities to improve their knowledge skills and efficacy in delivering better health for children worldwide, please visit http://www.aspneph.com/JohnELewyFoundation/JELFMain.asp.

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