Wyndolyn Crutchfield Bell, MD, FAAP
Co-chair, Section on Seniors Members, Georgia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Member, American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Senior Members Nominating Committee
- Member, American Academy of Pediatrics Payor Advocacy and Advisory Committee
- Past member, National AAP Committee on Community Health Services
- Past GA-AAP Chapter Secretary, CATCH coordinator
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Specialty: General Pediatrics
Jan Fitzgerald Soapes, MD, FAAP
Co-chair, Section on Senior Members, Georgia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Past president, first female president, Georgia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Member, Georgia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics Foundation Committee
- Chair and founder, Jim Soapes Charity Golf Tournament, Georgia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Medical Mission leader
Location: Clarksville, Georgia
Specialty: General Pediatrics
Q: As co-chairs of the Georgia Chapter Section on Senior members, how did the group get started and how many members are there currently?
The Georgia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (GA-AAP) Section on Seniors was established in the summer of 2020, during the upswing of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The chapter already had a Seniors Committee, but it had not been active. By establishing a section, we became eligible for support from a GA-AAP staff person and we were given a small budget. For our first meeting, we had 29 who enrolled. There are now 67 members in the Georgia Chapter Section on Seniors.
Before the meeting, we sent out a survey and based on the responses, we established the following goals for our section:
- Continued advocacy for children and families
- Mentorship of young and early-career physicians
- Support for retirement and other professional or personal transitions
- Development of interest groups
- ENJOY LIFE!
Q: How is your group governed and what types of activities does the group participate in?
We serve voluntarily at the pleasure of the GA-AAP chapter president. We both serve as committee chairs on the GA-AAP Board of Directors, which meets three times per year. We submit an annual report. There is one chapter staff member who coordinates our meetings and activities, plans with the chapter executive director and chapter president, and communicates with leaders and members of other committees on our behalf, as needed. Since the summer of 2021, we have evolved to having two blended virtual/in-person meetings per year.
Q: How does the organization provide social and fellowship opportunities for senior physician members? Do you have a committee and speakers planned for the coming year?
During our virtual meetings, we creatively engaged our members. Our first meeting was on Halloween, so we asked members to attend in costume. We gave a prize for the best costume and the best beverage. In March 2021, we linked our meeting to “March Madness” and asked them to dress in their college gear. Again, we gave prizes to two winners. Before the meeting, we sent out surveys of their interests. We then developed 7 interest groups (The Great Outdoors, music, advocacy, tv/movies, photography, reading and miscellaneous).
Q: Does your group advocate at the federal and state levels on key health care issues impacting patients and physicians? Is your group affiliated with other educational institutions to advance its mission?
The GA-AAP Section on Seniors is one of the five chapters who are part of the National AAP Section on Seniors Advocacy Project and participated in the AAP’s Virtual Advocacy Day at the U.S. Capitol in 2021. This joint advocacy project led to the support of a project initiated by one of the new career physicians who has been advocating for educating school boards about adolescent sleep needs.
Q: Why do you think that the GA-AAP Section on Seniors has been so successful?
The GA-AAP Section on Senior Members started with support and guidance from the National AAP Section on Senior Members. The GA-AAP chapter is rich in resources. We have access to National AAP staff and leadership, fostered through our long-term involvement. We promote our section all the time and use creative and fun techniques, like costumes and prizes and free food, to encourage members to join and participate. COVID-19, while a challenge, provided an opportunity for members to reconnect and get involved when other activities were not available.
Have information about SPS members doing great work? Email us at [email protected].