Sara Bode, MD, discusses her presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting


Sara Bode, MD, shares highlights from her upcoming presentation and talks about what the 'buzz' might be at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting April 27 to May 1, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Transcript (edited for clarity):

So Dr. Bode, thanks so much for joining us today. Wonderful to see you again. I would love to talk today about the upcoming Pediatric Academic Society meeting that's coming up late April, Washington, DC. I know you will be presenting there. Can you just spend a few minutes discussing exactly what you'll be presenting on and why you chose the topic?

Yeah, great. I am joining actually a group of doctors for a hot topic symposia. That's really all around how we think about teaching advocacy skills to faculty, and then how we can promote that at academic institutions. And then once faculty are learning those skills and using them, how do they take what they've learned and use it for their scholarly activity? So in order to get through the promotions process in academia, for pediatricians on their work in advocacy, is that is that a challenging thing? Getting through that promotion process? What does that entail? Our promotion process, traditionally, at those academic centers is really centered around either research or education work you do, or service to the hospital in the community, but it hasn't traditionally had your advocacy efforts built into the system. And so we've worked very hard at a bunch of different institutions around the country to develop a framework for when doing this advocacy work. So, work you might be doing in DC or locally with your governments, as well as the community advocacy work that you might do out in the community with system change. How do you take all that great work you're doing that's helping kids and translate it into metrics and outcomes that can be put on your dossier or your CV to really show the impact you've had?

That sounds like an important session. Hopefully, it will be very well attended. Are you going to go into any other sessions? Just for your own edification and interest? And if so which ones?

Yes, so there's a lot of work around advocacy right now in so many different aspects. And it's shown up all around at PAS. So one suggestion I would have for anybody that's attending that does work in advocacy, whether that's policy or community, there's an advocacy track now at PAS. So actually, you can even search that, and it will give you all the sessions that have some of those, just to highlight a couple things I'm excited about. I always attend the advocacy training special interest group, and they have a great lineup of speakers this time. There's also a bunch of sessions around the advocacy portfolio. So again, how do you think about collecting all that great work you're doing and putting it down for promotion. So there's 3 or 4 different sessions around building your advocacy portfolio that you can find if you search that in the agenda book as well.

The last thing I'll say is that AAP has the community pediatrics training initiative. I'm the director of that initiative. And we have a session on Sunday evening, that's really a get together for like-minded folks. We always joke you find your tribe if you do a lot of advocacy work. And so I'm certainly open to anyone that wants to attend that and kind of network and hear about what's going on in the work of advocacy for both faculty training and resident training.

Wonderful suggestions. In terms of the overall meeting itself, and what you've observed in pediatrics, over the last few months, anything particularly newsworthy trending, that you think will be worthy of discussion that might be part of the chat?

So a lot of my clinical work is around school health. So I'm the director of our school health program here. And, you know, for us in school health, this has been a roller-coaster as it was for many during COVID. But I feel a particular sense of urgency around the fact that kids are now back in school, but we are still seeing a great disparity in outcomes, academic outcomes for kids. A lot of the work that we're doing is really connecting to students in schools around mental health services, whether that's through telehealth are other efforts. So I did see some sessions that I'm excited to go and attend to learn more about how we expand and get some of these services to the students in schools, and really trying to bridge that gap between health and education. So I'm really looking forward to talking with some people that are experts in that space and learning from them at this conference and excited to kind of hear more about it as we go.

Oh, that's very interesting. So you're saying that some of the data coming in shows that children are definitely…it’s not a level playing field in terms of catch up scores? I'm assuming such as reading, math, those sort of things, as well as behavioral problems in school.

Exactly. We already had a disparity in our education system where there were certain subsets of children that were not getting the quality education they needed or had so many barriers to accessing that education even with daily attendance. And what we saw is with the COVID pandemic, even though everyone's now physically back in school, we can't make up that gap. It's actually very alarming to me, we have so many kids that are now significantly behind with their academics. And then many of these kids have not returned to regular attendance at school. So sometimes the chronic absentee rate in certain districts and schools can be 50% of the kids that are missing more than 18 days of school. So, I mean, it's a crisis to me and something we need to really think about what's our role as pediatricians to try and address this? How do we help partner with our school system to make this work? So very excited to just hear from people around the country that are doing that work. And what ideas have they had.

That is a huge challenge. We've been hearing about it as well. So it sounds like it'll be a great time and lots of education and training for everyone involved.Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for taking some time out. Really appreciate it. Good luck at the conference and enjoy it and we'll be watching it as well.

Yeah, thanks. Great. Excited to get there!

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