On May 30, MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) residents took to the Massachusetts State House as advocates for all children in the Commonwealth during the annual Residents and Fellows Day at the State House (RFDASH). More than 75 pediatric trainees and attendings received official lobbying training and met with 17 legislators at the Massachusetts State House during the daylong event. With support from the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, they advocated for a statewide ban on all flavored tobacco products whose advertising targets teens and young adults, a mental health parity implementation bill that would increase access to children’s mental health services and the Cover All Kids bill, which would fill current gaps in health coverage for undocumented children. The measure would extend MassHealth coverage to approximately 20,000 income-eligible children.
“Children don’t vote and don’t have a strong political voice. We as pediatricians are uniquely positioned to speak for them and their families, as it is our life’s work to care for children, and we have a detailed understanding of their health needs,” says Anna Rosenquist, MD, former MGHfC resident and co-founder of RFDASH. “This event is an opportunity for new pediatricians to join that effort for the first time.”
RFDASH has advocated for nearly 40 bills, many of which have passed and are current Massachusetts law. The event is planned by MGHfC residents Drs. Michelle Chiu and Sarah Servattalab, mentored by senior MGHfC residents Drs. Rachel Erdil and Nicole de Paz, and supported by residents from Tufts Floating Hospital for Children, UMass Medical Center and Children's Hospital Boston.