Category Archives: Policy & Advocacy

Stay abreast of the most up to date policies and advocacy topics in Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

If you could ASK one question to save your child’s life? Firearm Injury Prevention

Kiesha Fraser Doh, MD

Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Emory University

Two years ago one of my colleagues sent a reminder that June 21st is ASK day and that we clinicians should support this day as Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physicians.    ASK (Asking Saves Kids) is a day that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence have promoted to encourage parents to ask about the presence of unlocked guns in the homes where their children play.  ASK day is held annually on the first day of summer,  a season where children spend a lot of time in the homes of others. As a PEM Physician I am very cognizant of safety.  I ensure that my children are always buckled into car seats with whomever drives them, I ask about swimming pools and pets when they visit others homes and ensure that grandparents medicines are put up when we visit.  But I had never asked about the presence of unlocked guns in the homes my children visited. I embarked with trepidation and asked the parent of my son’s best friend. After I completed this uncomfortable conversation I began to reflect if this was a difficult conversation for me a pediatric emergency medicine physician who has seen multiple children harmed by firearms imagine the difficulty for other parents without a similar perspective. read more

Opioid Policies and Pediatrics: When the Pendulum Swings Children Will Get Hurt

Even if you have turned off all news sources over the past two years, it would be hard to escape the urgent alarms regarding opioid misuse in the US.  The statistics are remarkable.

  • Since 1999, overdose deaths involving opioids quadrupled.1
  • 2000-2015: greater than half a million people died from drug overdoses.
  • 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
  • 1999 to 2010: number of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices nearly quadrupled. 2,3

This is compelling evidence that we have a problem—perhaps some more than others.  Opioid addiction is a frequent challenge for those caring for adults in the Emergency Department with some centers (e.g., rural) seeing more of this than others. Those who care for injured and ill children are left with two important questions:  (1) What is the evidence regarding opioid addiction in children? (2) To what extent is the management of acute pain in the Emergency Department contributing to an increase in opioid related morbidity and mortality? read more

Child Abuse: By the Numbers

Ryan Brown, MD, FAAP

Clinical Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics

Medical Director, Child Protection Team at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center

Child maltreatment is a terrible fate that children may face. Unfortunately, no one is immune to the effects of abuse. Child maltreatment has been shown to affect children from all races, genders, ages, and socioeconomic background.Every year there are hundreds of thousands of children that fall victim to this atrocious calamity. During 2015, child protection services received over 4 million referrals for child maltreatment. Those referrals encompassed 7 million children of which about 700,000 were found to be victims of abuse.  Unfortunately, the victimization rate has been increasing over the past 5 years from 8.8 to 9.2/100,000 children.2 read more

Advocacy in Action: Affordable Care Act Op-Ed

Ben Hoffman, MD, is professor of pediatrics at the OHSU School of Medicine and is medical director of the Tom Sargent Safety Center at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

20 million people—more than the populations of Florida or New York. 20 million people who are your neighbors, worship with you, go to school with your children, sit next to you at the cafe. 20 million people in the waiting room of your doctor or your dentist. 20 million people who stand to lose their health care if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. read more

Summertime, and the Kids are Hungry

Author: Danielle L Cullen MD, MPH – Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

One in five children in the US do not get the food that they need on a daily basis to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. How is it that in a country of wealth and excess, children’s basic needs for life are not being met?

During the academic year, 21.5 million children receive and rely on free and reduced priced school breakfast and lunch as their primary source of nutrition. While summer should be a carefree time of outdoor play, with the absence of school food programs, it is instead too often a time of hunger. Federal Summer Nutrition Programs through the USDA provide meals to children during the summer months. Unfortunately, due to lack of awareness of these programs, they are severely underutilized. Only one in seven children who receive free or reduced-price school meals also participate in summer meal programs.(1) read more