Whan that aprill with his shoures soote, The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour, Of which vertu engendred is the flour
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
- Chaucer, Prologue, The Canterbury Tales
I joined the Board of the APA in 2004 as chair of Membership and Regions. Back then, I would start every email with a bit of poetry. I found that it helped to focus my thinking. As I struggled with my thinking on this month's piece for the Focus, it occurred to me that poetry would again serve me well as I try to think what to say. So, I turned to the source: Chaucer. His opening of the Canterbury Tales seemed to fit with my own level of excitement over the coming Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. Things are bursting out all over, and we "folk" are longing to go on our annual pilgrimage, this time to Washington, to the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. There is a lot going on, I know that I only know a small piece of it, and I look forward to learning from all of you about more of it. As your incoming President, I'd like to offer some advice to you "pilgrims" as you move down the road to the PAS.
- Come to the meeting: When people ask me how to make a difference for children, I always point out that the first thing you have to do is show up. The PAS meeting has everything academic within walking distance, even as the venues have grown in size since our early days in Atlantic City. I know that money is tight, but this meeting is still the single best investment you can make in your career development as an academic pediatrician.
- Feed your own special interest: Special Interest Groups in DC have a somewhat bad reputation, but we are talking about something different. The APA has 39 Special Interest Groups; surely one of them is of interest to you. I have always found the SIG meetings a great opportunity to expand my network and develop new relationships (and new projects). I hope that you find them equally useful to your professional development.
- Join a Committee: The APA has four standing Committees. They each meet at 11 AM on Sunday, in open session. Unlike the AAP, in the APA, one joins a committee by showing up. The problem is how to choose. They are all so interesting. This year, the discussion at Advocacy and Public Policy will be vigorous (we are in Washington, after all) and I hear that Health Care Delivery will be discussing how changes in payment and health care systems can be leveraged to create change within your own system (not to detract from Research and Education, which also have robust agendas. So, pick one and stop by. Members welcome.
- Learn something new every day: One of my mentors taught me to carry around a note card and try to write one useful change in your professional activity that you could do, based on what you had just learned. I always had to go onto a second note card, so now I carry a notebook. When your chief asks what you got out of the meeting, you will have something to share.
Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame ended his last strip with a thought that I have always written in my heart: "It' a magical world, Hobbes, old buddy. Let's go exploring". Here's hoping that the magic of the PAS works for you, as it always has for me.
Academic Pediatric Association
- February 2013
- December 2012
- October 2012
- August 2012
- June 2012
- April 2012
- December 2011
- October 2011
- August 2011
- June 2011
- April 2011
- February 2011