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Child Health Priorities Identified by American Academy of Pediatrics

· Dr Ramesh Sachdeva

Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva possesses more than three decades of medical experience in the field of pediatrics. Currently a professor of critical care and sleep medicine for the pediatrics department of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Ramesh Sachdeva has also worked as the associate executive director of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Illinois since 2012.

Established in 1930, the AAP is made up of more than 60,000 pediatricians and other pediatric professionals. Each year, the AAP prepares an agenda for children, which outlines plans and priorities for the upcoming year. In the 2015-2016 agenda, the organization’s child health priorities were: poverty and child health, epigenetics, and early brain and child development.

1. The poverty and child health focus was selected in response to the growing number of impoverished children in the country. A leadership work group was designated to create a strategy for addressing the health impacts of poverty in the following ways: providing support to pediatricians, sharing new research on the topic, raising awareness, and advocating for change.

2. Epigenetics is the study of chemical DNA modifications that alter gene expression. These modifications are preventable - possibly even reversible - and this means doctors, patients, and patients’ families can enact positive changes such as stopping smoking, dietary alterations, and ensuring patients remain informed.

3. In the case of early brain and child development, the AAP established another leadership work group to identify the areas most in need of attention in this field. The group determined that change to existing systems (advocacy) is necessary for improvement, as well as changes to practice and treatment, and more involvement of family and community resources was deemed essential.

 

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