2021 Pediatric General Assembly Day

January 21st, 2021


Each year, the Virginia Chapter of the AAP recognizes an individual(s) in our Commonwealth who stand up for the rights, values, and recognition of Virginia’s children.

Dr. Sandy Chung, President of the Virginia Chapter, AAP presented Secretary Daniel Carey with the 2019 Virginia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics Child Advocate Award in recognition for all her support of many of our proactive initiatives as well as your tireless advocacy work throughout the years.

Our Virginia Chapter members wanted Dr. Chung to personally thank Secretary Carey, for his significant contributions to healthcare for Virginia’s children.

Dr. Sandy Chung presents
Secretary Carey with VA-AAP Child Advocate Award.

Virginia State Legislature


The Virginia state legislature meets in the winter every year to work on hundreds of bills proposed affecting minors & families.


Thank you to the pediatricians who come out to speak up for children and thank you to the representatives for listening.


The VA-AAP asks that you join us in supporting our top priorities for 2019 – improving access to mental healthcare, ensuring coverage of essential health benefits in new insurance plans, gun violence prevention and reducing food insecurity/poor nutrition in our state.



New this year VotersVoice

Dear Members,

You are now officially a pediatrician advocate for child health! We wanted to let you know that the VA AAP recently purchased an online grassroots advocacy system called VoterVoice ( This new system will allow us to:

  • communicate with our membership more efficiently 
  • enable members to take actions on advocacy items with just a simple click
  • contact legislators with pre-filled messages quickly and easily.

Many other organizations, including the Medical Society of Virginia, use this same system- so you may already be familiar with it. This will be a tremendous asset to us during the General Assembly session.  

All VA AAP members are automatically signed up, so you don’t have to do anything else to receive important child advocacy information. If you do not want to know what is happening in Virginia regarding pediatricians and children’s health policy, there will always be a link at the bottom of every message that allows you to unsubscribe. If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Schmitt at We are excited to use this new tool for our advocacy efforts!

2018 Legislative Survey

You spoke and we listened.  We asked members to rank our legislative priorities and used this information in forming out strategic plan for the next 2 years.  We hope you will help us carry out this plan by joining us in continued conversations regarding the agenda, participating in White Coat Day in Richmond, or sending by us your ideas and proposals for legislation.

Top Four Answers:

  • Access for children and adolescents to mental health services and aid for physicians in finding these services (85%)
  • Reducing children’s risk of firearm injury (48%)
  • Maintain fair reimbursement for pediatricians from Medicaid (36%)
  • Finding solutions for food insecurity and obesity (32%)


2019 has been a busy year. 

Special Gun Session- 2019 Virginia General Assembly

The General Assembly convened for a special session on July 9th amid protests, rallies, and prayer vigils that encompassed much of Capitol Square.  Governor Northam called this special session in response to the deadly Virginia Beach mass shooting that occurred on May 31, 2019 and urged lawmakers to pass significant gun control measures.  Since the Governor’s call, both sides of the gun control debate have passionately worked to stake out their positions, previewing what many anticipated would be an ideological stalemate between Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly. 


All the gun legislation has been sent to the bipartisan Virginia State Crime Commission for consideration.  The Commission will be tasked with reviewing all special session legislation and undertaking a “systematic review” of the Virginia Beach shooting.  The Commission will deliver a report with its findings to the General Assembly no later than November 12.  On August 19th and 20th, the Crime Commission will be meeting and taking both written and oral public comment.  

Upcoming Elections

The upcoming elections in November are critical for Virginia and could change the political landscape for years to come. The entire General Assembly- all 100 seats in the House of Delegates and all 40 seats in the Senate- are up for election on November 5. Currently, the Republicans hold the majority in both the House and Senate by only one seat. There is a strong chance that the Democrats will win the majority in either one or both chambers. This will result in a complete shift in leadership and policy direction.


We are beginning another round of PAC fundraising to help us prepare for the 2019 elections. It’s critical that we have full Board participation for when we solicit practices again. Every little bit counts, but if you can give at least $250, we can help to elect people who care about the well- being of children! Because of the importance of these upcoming elections, it is now more important than ever that we have a strong KidsMD PAC.


Items for Consideration for VA AAP 2020 Agenda

While it may seem early, we are already discussing what our initiatives in 2020 will be. Items brought to us to consider are:


o   Increased Funding for Virginia Mental Health Access Plan

Last year we received $1.23M to get the program started, along with a $450,000 federal grant.  We are working with the Department of Behavioral Health and the Administration to request an additional $3.77M to implement the full consultation services in each region, care navigation and telepsych services.

o   Reducing Children’s Risk of Firearm Injury

o   Food Insecurity

o   Ensuring Essential Health Benefits

o   Bill to Ban Chlorpyrifos in VA

o   Minor Consent for Immunizations

o   Strengthening Religious Exemption for Immunizations

o   Medicaid Reimbursement Increase


Below you will find our current legislative priorities which promise to affect pediatricians and children across the state.

Increase Medicaid Reimbursement

We are working with the Medical Society of Virginia to find a legislative proposal to improve access to physicians as we begin to implement Medicaid expansion by increasing Medicaid reimbursements to physicians.

Step Therapy & Prior Authorization
Mental Health Access
Nurse Practitioner Transition to Practice Regulations


About the Toolkit


Welcome to the Child Advocacy Toolkit. Here you’ll find quick references for use throughout residency training and beyond.  The toolkit is under development, so check back often! Individual patient advocacy is such an important part of clinical care that all pediatricians must be skilled and comfortable on the individual level. But beyond this, we must also develop the skills necessary to advocate for children and their families on a much broader level − within the community, state, and nation. As a pediatrician, you are an expert in child health and what is best for children. Our discipline has a long tradition of working to improve the health and well-being of all children. As Abraham Jacobi said: “The pediatrician is to sit in and control school boards, health departments, and legislatures. He is the legitimate adviser to the judge and the jury, and a seat for the physician in the councils of the republic is what the people have a right to demand.” The resources here, and the advocacy activities available to you throughout your training, offer the tools, skills and experiences necessary to establish your own individual advocacy foundation. Use these opportunities to the advantage of our children and their health!


The VA AAP is offering a new Child Advocacy Certificate for residents who complete and document certain advocacy experiences, as outlined in the attached Community Health and Child Advocacy Goals, Activities, and Competencies.  Certificate Requirements:

1. “Meeting With Your Legislator” Video

2. Legislative Advocacy:  Complete ONE of the following exercises:

  • General Assembly Day
  • Meeting With Your Legislator at Home
  • Federal Legislative Advocacy Training

3. Complete TWO additional exercises contained in the Community Health and Child Advocacy Goals, Activities and Competencies.

4. Serve ONE year on a VA Chapter committee

rtificates will be presented each fall at the business luncheon in Williamsburg.

Toolkit Contents General Why Advocacy? (powerpoint) Levels of Advocacy


History of Community Pediatrics and Advocacy Abraham Jacobi, MD: The Man and His Legacy, Burke EC. – Website


The Origin and Significance of the Academy’s Della Robbia Insignia, Beaven PW. – Website


Social Determinants of Child Health Influence of Multiple Social Risks on Children’s Health Larson K, Russ SA, Crall JJ, et al. –  Website


Revisiting the Social History for Child Health Kenyon C, Sandel M, Silverstein M, et al. – Website

Improving the Management of Family Psychosocial Problems at Low-Income Children’s Well-Child Care Visits: The WE CARE Project Garg A, Butz AM, Dworkin PH, et al. Website


Legislative Advocacy “Meeting With Your Legislator” Video (6:44)


Tips for a Successful Legislative Visit Legislative Resources AAP State Government Affairs – Website


AAP Office of Federal Affairs – Website


Community Advocacy Projects CATCH Grants – Website


Community Based Resident Projects Toolkit – PDF


Medical Home The Medical Home: Health Care Access and Impact for Children and Youth in the United States, Strickland BB, Jones JR, Ghandour RM, Kogan MD, Newacheck PW.  Pediatrics 2011;237:605-611  Website


The Medical Home Policy Statement, Pediatrics 2008;122:450 – Website


Care Coordination in the Medical Home: Integrating Health and Related Systems of Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Council on Children with Disablities, Pediatrics 2005;116:1238-1244 –  Website


Medical-Legal Partnerships for Children Why Pediatricians Need Lawyers to Keep Children Healthy Zuckerman B, Sandel M, Smith L, et al. –  Website