One great thing about America is our differences. Our diversity brings together the power of varying cultures, values and perspectives. These differences can make us a stronger and healthier nation. The pandemic and our ongoing social stress have polarized many of our differences into harsher dispute, dividing us over not only politics but many other aspects of life and culture. An essential demographic of our collective future—children—is increasingly threatened by this widening gulf.
Children uniquely require our unity of advocacy and care to grow healthy into adulthood as they deserve and our country needs. More than half of all children, or 40 million, rely on federal health insurance programs—Medicaid and CHIP—to support their early childhood development. Over two-thirds of children, or 50 million, rely on publicly funded education during their upbringing as they prepare for lifelong independence.
One hundred percent of children cannot vote to directly affect positive change on their own behalf. In all aspects of a child’s life, only the adults of the United States have the power and the duty to consider and ensure children’s health. Children’s hospitals must be effective leaders and use our voices and convening power to advance the unity necessary to represent their needs.
Children’s hospitals are among the best-known, trusted, and respected health care providers in the nation. While we are only a small percentage of all hospitals, our contributions to the care of children, the education of the pediatric workforce, and the advancement of new therapies and better quality of lives are monumental.
Together, our voice is a powerful advocate with the promise of bridging our increasingly divided sectors. Success in this requires we focus first and foremost on serving as the Party of Children, reflecting the needs of all children in the policy, practice and cultural priorities of our country. Our advocacy must transcend the social and partisan strife of our time. We must have the wisdom and courage to avoid partisanship in our national pediatric community and strive together to place the interests of children first.
Thank you for your tireless work in our children’s hospitals on behalf of the entire future of our country: our children.