American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) President's Message

Tom F. Novacheck, MD

I was honored to be part of the planning for the AACPDM 75th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee meeting. On behalf of the 2021 Scientific Program Committee, we hope you found the content stimulating and the networking opportunities to engage with presenters, and each other, interesting and fulfilling.  The trivia game on Wednesday night during the opening reception, the networking dinner on Friday night with the mixologist, and the many virtual discussions with your colleagues allowed the event to maintain the personal touch that makes our Academy unique and golden.

The theme, “On Y Va”, meaning “Let’s Go”, was chosen to indicate our desire to emerge together from the recent difficulties, including:  the pandemic, political polarization, social unrest sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and the personal burdens faced by many families.  However, challenges can be opportunities for change. The AACPDM will evolve.

It was with great esteem that I introduced Dr. Damon Tweedy as my opening general session guest speaker. His presentation was furthered by the panel discussion with Dr.’s Deon, Bosques, and Sholas. The audience was highly engaged, not only with the interactive Q&A and polling offered during the session, but also with the mini symposium earlier that day.  The 2021 Planning Team requested a special call for abstracts addressing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), so these talks were followed by a free paper session on the topic of health care disparity.

Even if you missed the live event, registration for the special Diamond Jubilee meeting will be open until March 1, 2022 so that you can still take advantage of the many offerings and the resultant CME/CEU credits through on-demand content until September 1, 2022.

The dedication of the members of our academy to evolve was reflected at the 2021 business meeting on October 7th as many Committee reports revealed DEI action items, some already implemented and others planned for the near future. With 2022 being the year for our Academy to review strategic planning, DEI will be one of the areas of focus as we revise and update our strategic goals. Other areas of focus for the strategic plan will include a comprehensive assessment of membership initiatives, Care Pathways, and our evolving relationship with the International Alliance of Academies of Childhood Disability (IAACD).  Member voices can be heard with planned surveys and town hall meetings over the course of the next 3 to 4 months.  Keep an eye out for these announcements!  We ask you, the membership, to participate in this process by submitting your comments during the town hall sessions, through the comment button on the “Member’s Only” portion of the website, or by reaching out to the AACPDM office.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Jilda Vargus-Adams as she has completed her five year term in the AACPDM Presidential Line. We also express our sincere appreciation to outgoing members of the Board of Directors: Dr. Christopher Lunsford, Dr. Theresa Sukal Moulton, Dr. Golda Milo-Manson, and Dr. Jan Willem Gorter.  We welcome: Dr. Wade Shrader as Second Vice President, Dr. Joline Brandenburg as Treasurer-Elect, Dr. Golda Milo-Manson as Secretary-Elect, and new Board of Directors members, Dr. Verónica Schiariti, Dr. Sruthi Thomas, Dr. Nancy Murphy, and Dr. Ben Shore.  Lynne Fogel has replaced Brenda Agnew as Community Council Chair.

Please note that the website has received a big update this Fall!  We thank the new Webmaster, Dr. Julieanne Sees, and the AACPDM Office for their incredible effort to revise it.  They will be teaming to maintain it going forward.  Let them know your impressions and any updates or revisions to consider!

So, you can see, there are many exciting things going on in our Academy. I look forward to serving you and the AACPDM in 2021/2022.

Be well. Stay safe.
Tom F. Novacheck, MD
AACPDM President, 2021-22

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