As the physician owner of Lafayette Pediatric Clinic in Oxford, Dr. Tanya Fitts has been advocating for children and teens in North Mississippi for nearly 20 years.
It’s a calling that drives her in and out of the clinic, whether she’s starting a program to ensure that every child can get the care they need — regardless of their ability to pay — or by serving on the board of the Lafayette County Literacy Council, working to ensure that every child has the writing, reading and comprehension skills they need to build a quality life.
“Giving children the care they need starts with their physical and mental health,” Fitts said. “But it must also include fighting for and serving their needs through efforts that provide economic, educational and community support.”
She is now taking those advocacy efforts statewide as she begins her tenure as president of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The MSAAP represents more than 325 Mississippi pediatricians, including primary care providers and subspecialists, residents and medical students. It’s one of the 66 autonomous yet affiliated chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Over the course of the year, Fitts says she will work with her colleagues in the MSAAP on several key initiatives, including increasing funding for early learning collaboration, addressing race-based healthcare disparities, expanding autism support and extending Medicaid coverage for pregnant women through 12 months postpartum.
“There are many issues and initiatives that we can make strides on to improve the wellbeing of Mississippi’s children and families,” Fitts said.
As president, Fitts will also be responsible for advocating for her colleagues as well.
“We must advocate for our profession on a statewide level,” she said. “That means representing the voices of pediatricians in legislative sessions and working with state leaders and our fellow specialty groups to drive change on issues such as reimbursement parity in the telehealth space.”
A member of MSAAP since 1999, Fitts has previously served on the organization’s continuing education committee and as the chapter’s coordinator for Community Access to Child Health grants, which enable physicians and residents to launch projects that increase access to healthcare for children in underserved communities. She is also a fellow of the national American Academy of Pediatrics.
Courtesy of Red Window Communications