2021-2023 FCAAP BOD Election Results

Thank you to everyone who participated in the election for the 2021-2023 FCAAP Board of Directors!

Congratulations to the newly elected Board members below who will serve as Chapter Representatives in Regions 1, 3, 5 and Subspecialist at Large. Newly-elected Representatives will be inducted to the Board on Sunday, September 5, 2021, during The Future of Pediatric Practice 2021! Virtual tickets for the event are still available here.

Thank you to our outgoing Representatives for their service to FCAAP and continued efforts on behalf of Florida’s children.

Region 1 Representative – Jamee Walters, MD, FAAP

Dr. Walters graduated from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and completed residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Dr. Walters is currently the Associate Program Director for the University of Florida at Orlando Health pediatric residency program and a pediatric hospitalist at Orlando Health where she has been since 2015. As Associate Program Director, she has focused on the residency quality improvement curriculum, the Pediatric Education Committee, and the advocacy curriculum. Dr. Walters holds clinical faculty appointments at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, and Florida State University College of Medicine.

Dr. Walters has been a member of the FCAAP since 2016. She is currently on the Gun Violence Prevention Task force in which she has been working in collaboration with community gun violence organizations to bring gun safety education to residency programs. She is a co-chair for the new Central Florida Pediatric Advocacy Coalition. This group developed after collaboration with other FCAAP members at the AAP Advocacy Conference in 2021.  She along with her co-chairs have developed residency legislative advocacy education and are working on larger scale state advocacy efforts. Dr. Walters is also a media representative for Orlando Health, discussing child health issues with various news organizations.

Dr. Walters wants to be the FCAAP Region 1 Representative to become more involved with the organization and to support the chapter’s state child advocacy efforts. She plans to continue advocating for child health issues including, but not limited to, gun violence prevention measures, inclusive care for the LGBTQ community, improved to mental health resources, and improved vaccination rates and access. Finally, she looks forward to finding ways to encourage pediatric residents to become involved in the FCAAP state advocacy efforts.

Region 3 Representative – Jennifer Takagishi, MD

Jennifer Takagishi, MD is a General Academic Pediatrician in Tampa, Florida and division chief at the University of South Florida and holds the rank of Professor of Pediatrics. She graduated from Wellesley College and Tufts University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at Duke. She then worked for four years at the Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn before moving to Tampa in 2000.  Since arrival, Dr. Takagishi has been the medical director of a busy teaching practice serving predominantly low income, minority families and directs the site’s Reach Out and Read program. In addition, she is the Title V medical director for the Tampa Bay region as well as the Statewide and Hillsborough County medical director for both the Children’s Multidisciplinary Assessment Team and Medical Foster Care programs. All these programs serve some of the most vulnerable children in the state and highlight the multidisciplinary team approach that she believes is vital to caring for children and families.

Dr. Takagishi has been a member of the AAP since residency, served on the AAP Executive Committee of the Council on Early Childhood from 2012-2020, and has written or reviewed multiple policies and reports. She also volunteers as Florida’s Early Childhood Champion, spreading the word about needed care for children in their most formative years. Dr. Takagishi is also serving on the planning committee for the upcoming Trauma Informed Pediatric Practice course in Orlando. Dr. Takagishi has represented Children’s Medical Services as part of the Medicaid committee with the chapter for several years, fighting for improved reimbursement for pediatric generalists and specialists caring for children with complex needs.

Dr. Takagishi plans to work for improved reimbursement for primary and specialty care, as well as for additional payment for services needed to lessen the effects from Social Determinants of Health such as poverty and racism. Working in tandem with other specialists and beginning from the earliest moments of children’s lives are paramount to improving the health of our children and families and enhancing the medical care pediatric providers give to the children who entrust us with their futures.

Region 5 Representative – Robin Straus Furlong, MD, FAAP

I am the current Region 5 representative to the FCAAP Board of Directors as well as the Co-Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. After graduating from UM-Miller School of Medicine, I completed my residency at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and then a Fellowship in Ambulatory Pediatrics at LAC-USC Medical Center. When I returned to Miami in 1987, I worked in the Pediatric Emergency room at JMH before going into private practice with ABC Pediatrics for 12 years. When this practice disbanded in 2000, I began my own private practice, Beachside Pediatrics, with Sandy Lieberman, M.D. in Bay Harbor Islands. Over the past 12 years I have also served as a preceptor to several UM-JMH pediatric residents in my office and as a part-time attending in the outpatient clinic at UM-JMH Ambulatory Care Clinic.

I have found my time as an active member of the FCAAP incredibly rewarding and only regret that I did not become an active member sooner.  Besides serving on the Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the GVPTF, I have served on the Legislative, Advocacy and Membership committees, and was honored to receive an AAP 2020 Special Achievement Award. I am amazed by the dedication of those on the Board and the various committees to improving the lives of the children of Florida and feel fortunate to have been an active part of this organization for the past several years. This organization has done so much to advocate for legislation that benefits Florida’s children and I have been thrilled to have contributed to these important issues through my participation. I am hopeful that through our work we will be able to advance some meaningful gun violence prevention legislation such as tightening the Safe Storage laws, universal background checks and banning assault weapons/high-capacity magazines. I look forward to continuing my involvement in this organization, whether on committees or as a continuing member of the Board of Directors.

Pediatric Subspecialist At Large Representative – John Morrison MD, PhD

Dr. Morrison is currently the co-chair of the FCAAP Early Career Physicians. He graduated with an MD and PhD from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Afterwards, he completed his residency and fellowship training in Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (JHACH) in St. Petersburg, FL. He currently practices as a pediatric hospitalist at JHACH and has an active clinical and translational research program that focuses on children with tracheostomy and other medical complexities, hospital readmissions, and predictive modeling. In addition to his own academic career, Dr. Morrison is the Director of the Center for Clinical/Translational Research Training, Education, Engagement, and Mentorship and serves as the Scholarship Rotation Director for JHACH Pediatric Residency Program. Enjoys serving as a research mentor for residents with the JHACH and University of South Florida Pediatric Residency Programs. Dr. Morrison is also a husband, father of three children, and avid fan of Florida’s beaches.

Dr. Morrison has been involved with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the FCAAP since early in his residency training. Initially, he served as the District X Program Delegate, where he co-authored several resolutions and initiated a week-long advocacy event at his home institution. He was subsequently elected by his peers to the position of District X District Coordinator, where he organized regional advocacy efforts of pediatric trainees. In 2018, Dr. Morrison was selected as the Subspecialty Fellowship Trainee Delegate for Hospital Medicine to the AAP Section on Pediatric Trainees. In 2019, Dr. Morrison was appointed to his current position as co-chair of the FCAAP Early Career Physician committee. In this role, he has worked with his co-chair and committee colleagues to assess the needs of early career physicians, co-developed an informational resource addressing these needs, and served as the early career physician representative to the FCAAP Legislative Subcommittee. As the Pediatrician Subspecialist At Large Representative, Dr. Morrison will advocate for improved access to mental health resources, universal screening for unmet social needs in inpatient and outpatient clinical settings, and COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible children.

New AAP Interim Guidance on RSV Amid Unusual Rise in Cases


The American Academy of Pediatrics has published new interim guidance on the treatment of serious lower respiratory tract infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The guidance found here comes in response to an uncharacteristic rise in cases over the spring and summer. These respiratory tract infections typically are seen in fall and winter, peaking in February and occurring in infants younger than 6 months who can develop severe diseases such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia. The AAP recommends consideration of the use of palivizumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the fusion protein of RSV, in infants at increased risk of severe disease. The risk categories have not changed from those that are already described in an AAP policy statement on RSV. The new guidance changes the timing of administration of the treatment, palivizumab due to the change in seasonality of RSV this year. RSV infections had decreased rapidly and dramatically after March 2020 when safety precautions were put into place to prevent COVID-19, including face masks and physical distancing. The cases begin rising in some regions of the United States in spring 2021 after some of those safety protocols were relaxed. RSV activity is on the rise, with corresponding increases in emergency department visits and hospitalizations of infants and children. The AAP supports palivizumab administration to eligible infants during this atypical interseason and will reassess its interim guidance at least monthly.

Other resources:

AAP Policy Statement: Updated Guidance for Palivizumab Prophylaxis Among Infants and Young Children at Increased Risk of Hospitalization for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection | American Academy of Pediatrics (aappublications.org)

AAP Technical Report: Updated Guidance for Palivizumab Prophylaxis Among Infants and Young Children at Increased Risk of Hospitalization for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection | American Academy of Pediatrics (aappublications.org)

HealthyChildren.org: RSV: When It’s More Than Just a Cold – HealthyChildren.org

Reminder: FCAAP Board of Directors Elections Close August 10

Each year, leadership positions on the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Board of Directors open for election. This year, the Regional Representative positions for Regions 1, 3, 5 and Subspecialist At Large are open for the 2021-2023 term. The participation of Chapter members in selecting the leaders and representatives of FCAAP is critical! Electronic ballots were sent to all voting members of FCAAP in these regions on July 13, 2021 and must be received by FCAAP by Tuesday, August 10, 2021. Please be sure to submit your vote for these Board positions for the 2021-2023 term!

Simply Healthcare Partners with FCAAP to Help Ready Students’ Minds and Bodies for Upcoming School Year

Simply Healthcare Partners with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to Help Ready Students’ Minds and Bodies for Upcoming School Year
With Three in Five Florida Children Experiencing Distress Due to COVID – Florida Families Are in Need of Resources to Support Mental Health

Miami, FL (July 29, 2021)– Simply Healthcare and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP), two powerhouses when it comes to child health and well-being in Florida, announced today a partnership to support mental health in children as families prepare to start a new school year.

“Good health is more than just a healthy body, it’s also a healthy mind,” said Holly Prince, President of Simply Healthcare Medicaid Plan. “We recognize that Florida’s kids have faced unprecedented challenges and changes over the last year, and we want to help them achieve and maintain good health. We’re proud to partner with the FCAAP, a household name when it comes to trusted resources and information about children in Florida. Through this partnership, we’re going to produce resources and information that help families, providers, schools and other organizations effectively care for Florida’s children, so they can learn and grow to be Florida’s future leaders.”

“Children who struggle with mental health concerns can struggle in school, in sports and in friendships. Worse, their challenges could lead to long-term disabilities or death,” said Dr. Lisa Gwynn, President, Florida Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics. “It’s critically important for all of us to support children through challenging times. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Simply Healthcare toward our common mission of achieving and maintaining good health among Florida’s children.”

The need for resources and support for children struggling with mental health has never been greater. According to Jed Foundation Report: Fluent Family Wellbeing Study, 60% of parents report that children have experienced distress during the last year. Since COVID began, Florida experienced a 30% increase in Baker Acts – the action of committing an individual to a mental health treatment center – among ages 12 to 17.

In addition, the findings of the inaugural State of the Nation’s Mental Health, a report issued in May by Simply Healthcare’s parent company, showed that while more people, including children, reported increased pandemic-related stress and anxiety last year, there was not a corresponding increase in diagnoses and treatment. This indicates that children may not be getting the help they need.

Mental health problems can affect many areas of children’s lives, including their happiness, physical health and academic performance. Simply Healthcare, in partnership with the FCAAP, is responding to the need by developing and providing resources that can help children, families, schools and providers discuss and treat mental health issues.

As a first step, the two organizations are working together to pool and curate resources to support children, families, providers, schools and other organizations to support children’s mental health. The resources will be available via an online toolkit.

“For someone in search of answers and support, there are many resources out there. In developing this toolkit, it was our goal to create a library of resources and contacts that anyone in need could trust,” said Prince. “The backing of the FCAAP tells parents, providers and others that these resources have been carefully evaluated and are safe and effective.”

Resources through the toolkit will:

  • Support children through challenges, COVID-related or other;
  • Break down barriers to understanding mental health in children;
  • Counter the stigma tied to talking about and treating children’s mental health challenges; and
  • Improve access to resources and care.

The toolkit will be available soon, but it’s not the only resource in development. Florida families can expect to see more information and resources from Simply and FCAAP as a result of this partnership.

About Simply Healthcare

Simply Healthcare is a Managed Care Plan that offers plans in Florida for residents eligible for Medicaid, Medicare and Florida Healthy Kids benefits. To learn more, visit www.simplyhealthcareplans.com.

Through its more than 2,500 members, the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the health & welfare of Florida’s children and supports pediatricians & pediatric specialists as the best qualified providers of their healthcare. Learn more by visiting www.fcaap.org.


(202) 680-9262

Infection Prevention and Control – Enduring Credits!

FCAAP’s Infection Prevention and Control Virtual Conference
Now On-Demand with Enduring Credits!

Enduring CME credits are now available for FCAAP’s Infection Prevention and Control Virtual Conference. The five and half hour event consists of four learning sessions using the CDC Project Firstline curriculum materials. Project Firstline aims to provide foundational and practical knowledge to all healthcare personnel and targeted components of the public health workforce.

Presentations Include:

  • Recognizing Risk in Daily Work – Speaker: Tommy Schechtman, MD, MSPH, FAAP
  • Risk Recognition and Communication – Speaker: Mobeen Rathore, MD, FAAP
  • Vaccinations During COVID and Injection Safety – Speaker: Claudia Espinosa, MD, MSc
  • New Ways to Sanitize Your Practice – Speakers:  Walter Lamar, Ph.D., CPSO, CHSP, MLSO, MBCP, CEDP and Dr. Bhvarth Shukla, MD

Benefits of participating:

  • Understand how to recognize the risk of infection transmission among health care personnel and ways to mitigate the risk of infection transmission among the health care community.
  • Understand infection control strategies for vaccine administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Understand Facility Guidelines for Clinical Practice and how to How to assess your clinic or facility.

Continuing Education Credit:
AKH Inc., Advancing Knowledge in Healthcare, designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Successful completion of this CME activity, with individual assessments and feedback, enables participants to earn 4.25 points in the American Board of Pediatrics’ Maintenance of Certification program. This activity is designated for 4.25 ANCC Contact Hours and 4.25 AAPA Category 1 CME credits. To access the course, click here.

Project Firstline is a national collaborative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide infection control training and education to frontline healthcare workers and public health personnel.  American Academy of Pediatrics is proud to partner with Project Firstline, as supported through Cooperative Agreement CDC-RFA-OT18-1802. CDC is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

FCAAP Supports Continued Use of Masks in Schools

For Immediate Release
July 29, 2021
Tallahassee, FL


Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Continued Use of Masks in Schools

Statement by the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

“Since children under 12 years of age are still not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccine will most likely not be available for this age group until winter of 2021, most children are still at risk for Coronavirus infection and transmitting the infection to others. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend masking in schools. The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) supports the continued, universal use of masks and physical distancing in schools by all individuals including students, faculty members, and staff through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Masking should be in addition to the continuation of testing protocols in schools to mitigate the spread of infection. Finally, and most importantly, FCAAP recommends that all vaccine eligible children, faculty, and staff in schools should be vaccinated”



Through its more than 2,500 members, the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the health & welfare of Florida’s children and supports pediatricians & pediatric specialists as the best qualified providers of their healthcare. Learn more by visiting www.fcaap.org.



Melanie Range
Director of Communications & Events
Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics


The Florida Pediatrician – Summer 2021

The Florida Pediatrician is a peer reviewed journal published quarterly by the Editorial Board of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The journal includes scientific articles, case reports, legislative updates, and other information relevant to pediatricians, pediatric specialists, and pediatric allied health practitioners in Florida.

The Summer 2021 edition of The Florida Pediatrician is now available. Access the full edition here.




This edition includes:

Editor’s Note

Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis: A Forgotten Diagnosis

Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis in an Adolescent Female

The Challenge of Diagnosing Common Variable Immunodeficiency in the Face of Immunosuppression and Nephrotic Syndrome

Poor Growth in an 8-month-old Infant: Don’t Forget the Kidneys!

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Use in the Adolescent

Red Flags for the Red Eye: When Simple Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Is Not So Simple

What can be Learned from an Adolescent with Marfan Syndrome and Mental Health Concerns?


Please enjoy the Summer 2021 edition of The Florida Pediatrician! Use the full screen presentation/reader mode for optimal viewing.

Download a printer-friendly version here.

View past editions of The Florida Pediatrician here.

FCAAP Names 2021 Chapter Award Winners


Tallahassee, FL (July 6, 2021) – Through the Florida Pediatric Foundation (FPF), the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) has named the 2021 recipients of its two prestigious Chapter awards.

“The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is proud to honor Dr. Judith Schaechter with the Audrey Lincourt Schiebler, RN, FAAP, and Gerold Schiebler, MD, FAAP, Advocacy Award and honor Dr. Mark Bleiweis with the Phillip O. Lichtblau, MD, Award,” said FCAAP President Lisa Gwynn, DO, MBA, MSPH, FAAP. “Dr. Schaechter and Dr. Bleiweis have led exceptional careers in pediatrics, and it is a privilege to honor their work with the Chapter’s highest recognitions. We thank them both for their dedication to Florida’s children and families.”

The Audrey Lincourt Schiebler, RN, FAAP, and Gerold Schiebler, MD, FAAP, Advocacy Award is given annually to a physician who has worked beyond the profession, educated local and state legislators, and diligently advocated to improve the health and welfare of Florida’s children.

Judith Schaechter, MD, MBA, FAAP

Judith Schaechter, MD, MBA, FAAP has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the FCAAP Audrey Lincourt Schiebler, RN, FAAP, and Gerold Schiebler, MD, FAAP, Advocacy Award. Dr. Schaechter is a former member of FCAAP’s Board of Directors and is currently a Health Policy Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Washington, DC, where she works with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She is a practicing general pediatrician, educator, child health leader, and policy analyst, and will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Board of Pediatrics, beginning Jan. 1, 2022.



The Philip O. Lichtblau, MD, Award is given annually to a pediatric surgeon or pediatric surgical specialist who has contributed significantly either regionally or statewide to the Children’s Medical Services Program.

Mark Steven Bleiweis, MD

Mark Steven Bleiweis, MD has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the FCAAP Philip O. Lichtblau, MD, Award. Dr. Bleiweis currently serves in multiple leadership roles at University of Florida, including Director of the Congenital Heart Center, The William G. Lassiter Jr. and Aneice R. Lassiter Professorship, and Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine; Chief of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital; and Surgical Director at the Adult Heart Transplantation Program.

“It’s an honor to accept this award in the name of a physician whose legacy is a reflection of not only his medical acumen, but the kindness and respect he showed to his patients, families, and fellow health care providers,” said Dr. Bleiweis. I could not have done it without the help of our incredible team, which US News and World Reports named Florida’s No. 1 pediatric hospital this year. On this 15th anniversary of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, our children’s hospital’s pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program reached an all-time high ranking at No. 7, and I look forward to the milestones to come.”

Both awards will be presented to the winners as part of the Chapter’s award ceremony during FCAAP’s annual conference, The Future of Pediatric Practice 2021, set for September 3-5 at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. The full agenda and event details can be found at bit.ly/FPP2021-Home.

Through its more than 2,500 members, the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the health & welfare of Florida’s children and supports pediatricians & pediatric specialists as the best qualified providers of their healthcare. Learn more by visiting www.fcaap.org.

About FPF
The Florida Pediatric Foundation, Inc. is the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP). Through the Florida Pediatric Foundation (FPF), FCAAP supports state-wide and community health care programs that benefit children, adolescents, and young adults. FPF supports quality improvement projects designed to improve pediatric healthcare in the state. Learn more by visiting www.fcaap.org/foundation.



Melanie Range
Director of Communications & Events
Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

New Child Tax Credit Resources

The American Rescue Plan expanded the Child Tax Credit, so families can qualify for more money and can receive payments monthly, rather than having to wait until the end of the year. Eligible families will receive $3,600 per child younger than 6 and $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17. Payments will start to automatically arrive on July 15 for most families, but some families may need to take action to receive the benefit. Pediatricians can play an important role in making sure families know about this credit.

Check out these new resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics!

  • A handout, available in English and Spanish, for pediatricians to share with parents and families, which explains the credit, who is eligible and what next steps parents need to take, if any.
  • HealthyChildren.org webpages in English and Spanish.

AAP Early Career Physicians Awards—Nominations Due August 1

Do you know someone who has been an incredible mentor to those early in their career? Is your practice engaged in noteworthy quality improvement projects that are worth celebrating? Are you on a team that is leading community initiatives that improve child health? We want to hear about these great things!

The AAP Section on Early Career Physicians (SOECP) is launching a new set of awards to showcase the incredible work of our members and those who work with us! Click on the links below for more information about each award and to apply.

·       Advancement in Research Award
·       Excellence in Education Award
·       Leadership in Advocacy Award

Deadline: August 1, 2021

Details: Nominations and self-nominations are welcome. One individual person or entity is awarded each of the above awards each year. The award recipient will be honored during an SOECP Networking and Awards Reception in 2021. The award provides full general registration for the 2021 AAP National Conference and Exhibition and a $1,000 honorarium.

Eligibility: Nominees are not required to be members of the Section on Early Career Physicians; however, preference is given to Section members. View the application details at the links above for further eligibility requirements.

Questions: Contact Britt Nagy