Meet Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP
A primary care pediatrician, advocate, educator and Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA, Dr. Szilagyi has devoted her career to caring for underserved and vulnerable children, especially children and adolescents in foster care. She has expertise in childhood trauma, resilience, parenting and attachment.
“Our country’s 75,000,000 children represent only 20% of our population, but they are 100% of our future.”
“I vow to expand the work in trauma-informed care in partnership with the AAP and its chapters.”
How would you address important issues facing today’s pediatricians with the board and CEO?
Our country’s 75,000,000 children are 20% of our population but 100% of our future. They are being reared in a demanding, stressful world for a future that often seems in peril. Nearly half live in poverty; 64% have experienced >1 Adverse Childhood Experience. They face new challenges such as climate change, vaping and social media.
Supporting the work of pediatricians. Pediatricians do vital family-centered work to promote healthy growth, development and resilience, ameliorating the negative impact of stressors. Financing must be aligned to pay for the scientifically-based preventive and therapeutic work we do and to support integrated-care.
Advocating for vulnerable children. The power of our advocacy is its foundation in science and demonstrated multiple past successes. With partners, we can address poverty, bias and discrimination, climate change, and the negative social determinants of health, and promote equity in access and workforce diversity.
Promoting pediatrician and staff wellness. Massive transformations in health care require that we support wellness across generations and specialties through team-based care, stream-lined technology, improved financial margins, and programs to reduce burnout.
How will your skills and experiences help AAP navigate the politically polarized landscape?
What is your primary professional focus?
My professional focus on children in foster and kinship care has enabled me to straddle 3 different worlds—primary care, including private practice, academic pediatrics, and public health. I have worked collaboratively across systems with mental health, child welfare, the legal system, policy-makers and with the AAP as a part of its large and formidable volunteer member work-force.
What's some of the most cherished work you have done with the AAP?
Some of my most cherished work with the AAP has been on advocacy issues. I started in the 90s with Chapter 2 in NY, then District II, and finally with the Washington Office. The AAP calls on member expertise to delineate powerful persuasive positions based in evidence and ethics. It speaks with the voice of 67,000 members and engages legislators on both sides of the aisle. The last few years have been very busy for the AAP.
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