DC AAP Testifies at DC Council Hearing on Federal Immigration Raids
Dr. Nathalie Quion, Co-Chair of the DC AAP Immigrant Child Health Committee, provided strong testimony on the health effects on children of Federal Immigration Raids at a November 17th DC Council public hearing on the “Sense of the Council Regarding Federal Immigration Raids Resolution of 2016.” To view Dr. Quion’s written testimony, please click here.
DC AAP Offers Recommendations to DC Council on Access to Contraception Legislation
Dr. Krishna Upadhya, Chairperson of the DC AAP Adolescent Health Working Group, testified on behalf of DC AAP in support of Bill 21-707, the Access to Contraceptives Amendment Act of 2016. Dr. Upadhya is an adolescent health medicine doctor with over 10 years of experience providing contraceptive care to adolescents and young adults in addition to conducting research on the topic. Dr. Upadhya testified that the bill is a reasonable approach, in combination with other efforts, to expand access to hormonal contraceptives and promote maternal and child health in DC.
Dr. Upadhya explained that clinical encounters with a physician enable patients to receive high-quality comprehensive contraceptive counseling and expanded contraceptive method choices. However, many patients experience barriers to visiting clinicians in the office either routinely or at particular times when they may be in need of a health care service. Women who are often most vulnerable, including Non-English speakers and women who are uninsured, are more likely to face these barriers. Thus, there is a benefit to providing access to contraceptive methods, when feasible and safe, in non-clinical settings. Dr. Upadhya stressed that because of the limitations on what can be offered through pharmacist access, implementation of the proposed legislation should mandate that pharmacists dispensing contraception also provide high quality, medically accurate information about all FDA approved contraceptive methods along with information about where the methods can be obtained. Additionally, information about the risks of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and materials promoting condom use, are also critical and must be made available given the very high rates of these infections in the District.
Finally, Dr. Upadhya emphasized that providing access to contraceptives through pharmacists may be a piece of the strategy to improve maternal and child health in DC, but that it is unlikely to significantly reduce rates of teen births. For a variety of reasons, it is unlikely that teens will seek care directly from a pharmacist. In order to promote optimal service for any teens who do, however, it is also critically important that implementation require pharmacies to train their staff and develop policies regarding District laws on adolescents’ right to consent for contraceptive care and governing confidentiality along with other aspects of teen friendly services.
Chapter Member Testifies on E-cigarette Legislation
Dr. Morgan Greenfield, a pediatric resident and member of DC AAP, testified on behalf of the Chapter at a recent D.C. Council public hearing in support of Bill 21-780: Electronic Cigarette Parity Amendment Act of 2016. This bill would prohibit smoking electronic cigarettes in restricted areas in parity with prohibitions on traditional tobacco products.
Dr. Greenfield debunked the myth that e-cigarettes are the ‘healthier’ option to conventional cigarettes. Data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that between 2011 and 2014, there was a 650% increase in the current use of e-cigarette products by middle school children. In the District, over 34% of high school students have tried some form of electronic cigarettes, and more than 13% of teens are regular users of these products.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends holding electronic cigarettes to the same standards as regular cigarettes regarding their public use and distribution.
DC AAP Supports DC Council Bills to Reduce Youth Access/Exposure to Tobacco
Dr. Krishna Upadhya, Chair of DC AAP’s Adolescent Health Working Group, testified on behalf of DC AAP on Thursday, July 7th at a DC Council hearing in support of the “Prohibition Against Selling Tobacco Products to Individuals under 21 Amendment Act of 2015” and the “Sporting Events Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco Restriction Amendment Act of 2016.”
Passage of both of these bills would further the DC AAP’s aim to protect children, adolescents and families from health risks associated with tobacco products. Dr. Upadhya’s testimony can be viewed below or here (testimony begins at 53:18 and the subsequent Q & A of Dr. Upadhya’s panel ends at 1:10:25).
DC AAP Supports Joyful Markets and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs at DC Budget Hearing
On April 12th, DC AAP members Dr. Yael Smiley and Dr. Ankoor Shah testified on behalf of DC AAP at the DC Council’s Committee on Health and Human Services’ Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Health Budget Oversight Hearing.
Dr. Smiley testified in support of funding for the Joyful Food Markets program, a collaboration between Martha’s Table and the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) which brings pop-up grocery markets to neighborhood schools. At the Joyful Markets, children, their families, and neighbors shop at no cost for fresh, healthy produce and healthy pantry staples. DC AAP supports increased funding to enable Martha’s Table and CAFB to expand the program to all public and charter elementary schools within Wards 7 and 8. For the past year, DC AAP has hosted an “Ask-the-Doc” booth at one of the markets. This effort has been spearheaded by Dr. Smiley, and her colleague Dr. Kirsten Orloff. The booth is staffed by DC AAP Resident members from Children’s National Health System and Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.
Dr. Shah testified on behalf of DC AAP in support of renewed funding for The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Fund Establishment Act of 2014. As a sub-grantee of the Fund, DC AAP and the Adolescent Health Working Group(AHWG) work toward ensuring that all DC adolescents have access to comprehensive, culturally-sensitive contraceptive counseling and to all approved contraceptive methods, including Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC), the most highly effective and easy to use form of contraception.
Members and staff of DC AAP and ten organizations from the AHWG also visited the offices of DC Council Members on March 23th and 24th to speak on the importance of renewed funding for teen pregnancy prevention programming in the District. Each organization presented information on the impact of their program and explained why continued funding is important to ensuring the continued reduction of teen pregnancy in DC.
DC AAP Testifies Again in Support of the Universal Paid Family Leave Act of 2015
On Thursday, February 11th, Dr. Cicely Fadel, MD, FAAP, testified on behalf of DC AAP at the DC Council’s Committee of the Whole public hearing on the Universal Paid Family Leave Act of 2015. The Bill, (#21-415) which DC AAP supports, proposes 16 weeks of universal paid leave providing 100% of wages up to a maximum of $3000/week for all DC residents.
If you would like to get more involved in DC AAP advocacy efforts, and maybe testify at an upcoming DC Council public hearing that is of interest to you, please let us know by emailing Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org.