AACAP Trainee Advocate Program

Helping Trainees TAP into Advocacy!

TAP Project Highlight
Myo Thwin Myint, MD, PGY-4 at the Tulane Triple Board Program, presented a Grand Rounds titled "Advocacy: You Can Do It" to the Tulane Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in June 01, 2012. The presentation included what advocacy is, types of advocacy, the importance of advocacy, and how it can be done. He discussed specific examples of partnering with national organizations such as AACAP and regional organizations such as Louisiana Council of Child Psychiatry. The presentation included current local, regional, and national mental health issues as well as current national and state legislative and budget issues.

The presentation included video of how legislative process works and web resources on how advocacy can be done. The presentation ended with letter writing campaign to Senators Mary Landrieu, David Vitter, and Representative Steve Scalise, urging them to support federal public health funding.

Myo Thwin Myint - Advocacy You Can Do It Image

What is TAP?
The Trainee Advocate Program (TAP) is designed to facilitate and support AACAP trainee members to get involved in mental health advocacy early on in their careers. TAP will provide training, ideas, and support as you get involved with existing advocacy efforts - like AACAP Advocacy Day - or as you start your own advocacy efforts in your local community!

Our goals are to encourage and support mental health advocacy among trainees, to foster a community of children's mental health advocates, and to promote best practices in advocacy throughout the Academy.

Advocacy comes in many forms, including legislative, community, and media. Below are some ideas to help you get started.

Advocating for specific mental health-related legislation, regulations, or policies at your local, state, or national government. For example, you can participate in AACAP Advocacy Day in Washington, DC and help us advocate for improved access to quality mental health care for kids or you can meet with your local legislators or agencies to improve the system of care for kids in your community.

  1. (Organize trainees to) Visit or call your representatives to advocate for specific issue or active legislation through AACAP Advocacy Day, local regional organization, or on your own.
  2. Organize local regional organization event with local or Congressional governmental leaders.
  3. Organize a "teach-in" on a governmental advocacy topic (e.g. Medicare GME funding, child/mental health provisions of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka "healthcare reform") at your institution and/or regional organization. Try this Interactive Exercise!

Engaging community organizations (time-limited or long-term) in education and/or service related to children's mental health. For example, you can talk about childhood depression at a community health fair, start a tutoring/mentoring project at an afterschool program.

  1. (Organize trainees and/or regional organization members to) Participate in Speak Up For Kids! Event.
  2. Participate in community health fair.
  3. Develop and coordinate community outreach and education event. Try this Interactive Exercise!
  4. Host/Participate in a collaborative outreach event with a local child/family advocacy group or local related specialty/subspecialty organization (e.g. local AAP chapter).
  5. Develop and coordinate fundraiser/awareness event for an organization focused on children's mental health (e.g. Campaign for America's Kids, CHADD, CABF).
  6. Develop and coordinate longitudinal community program/activity incorporating children's mental health.

Engaging the media in education on children's mental health issues and/or responding to a pressing mental health issue. For example, you can write a letter-to-the-editor for your local paper, or plan or engage in an anti-stigma campaign in your community or institution.

  1. (Organize trainees and/or regional organization members to) Write a letter-to-the-editor to your local newspaper on a child/mental health topic. Try this Interactive Exercise!
  2. Design an anti-mental health stigma media campaign. Try this Interactive Exercise!
  3. Write an article focusing on children's mental health issues for a news publication (e.g. local newspaper, AACAP News, Psychiatric News, Clinical Psychiatry News, regional organization Newsletter, etc.)
  4. Organize a "teach-in" event with community organizations on a recent children's mental health topic in the news, TV show, etc.
  5. Organize a "teach-in" at your institution and/or regional organization on giving a media response to a mental health crisis. Try this Interactive Exercise!

Who can participate?
Any trainee member of AACAP can participate, including medical students, general residents, and CAP fellows.

How do I participate?
The process is simple! Please follow the steps below and email Sourav Sengupta at sourav.sengupta@alumni.duke.edu or AACAP's Assistant Director for Grassroots Advocacy, Bryan Shuy, at bshuy@aacap.org with any questions.

  1. Plan your advocacy project! Get help from AACAP if/when you need it!
  2. Engage!
  3. Post impressions, relevant materials, brochures, flyers, etc. in the Advocacy section of the Trainee Discussion Forum HERE!
  4. Share your projects with other AACAP members/trainees. For example, this can be through a presentation at your regional organization meeting, at the Advocacy Booth at AACAP's Annual Meeting, at Advocacy Day, or other gathering of AACAP members!


AACAP Advocacy Website

Archived Webinars

Planning Documents

Fact Sheets
Graduate Medical Education Funding
AACAP Workforce Fact Sheet
AACAP Fact Sheet on Suicide Prevention
AACAP Fact Sheet on Bullying
AACAP Fact Sheet on Cost Effectiveness of Prevention and Early Intervention

Advocacy Toolkits
AACAP Advocacy Toolkit on Scope of Practice (AACAP log-in required)
AACAP Advocacy Toolkit on Counseling Patients about Firearms (AACAP log-in required)

Slide Bank
Community Advocacy for Psychiatry Residents
Incorporating Advocacy into Residency and Beyond
Autism Spectrum Disorders for PCPs

Advocacy Consult
Contact Sourav Sengupta at sourav.sengupta@alumni.duke.edu or AACAP's Assistant Director for Grassroots Advocacy, Bryan Shuy, at bshuy@aacap.org with any questions or concerns about getting involved with AACAP advocacy efforts or starting your own advocacy projects.