QI collaborative will focus on developmental, autism, social-emotional and maternal depression screening

Alabama’s children achieve better outcomes when challenges in infancy and toddlerhood related to development, autism, social-emotional concerns, and maternal depression are identified and addressed early on. Best Beginnings, an Alabama Child Health Improvement Alliance (ACHIA) Early Screening and Referal collaborative, will support primary care practices in 2020 to improve their current screening processes or to introduce new screenings into their workflow.

Participating practices will be encouraged to focus on one screening process during the collaborative. Online modules for all practice members will provide clinical education, and the one-hour monthly webinars, held from January through September, will allow practices to learn from one another and from Alabama-based content experts about screening processes, best practices, and quality improvement. Practices will track data over time to ensure interventions lead to improvements.

RaulersonAward2019Pictured: Drs. Marsha Raulerson and Cason BentonThe Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hosted its annual awards dinner on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Birmingham, Alabama. E. Cason Benton, M.D., FAAP, Academic General Pediatrics, was among those honored.

Dr. Benton received the Marsha Raulerson Advocacy Award. This award recognizes service to children through dedication to better policies for improved child health. The award is named in honor of Marsha Raulerson, M.D., FAAP, of Brewton, who has worked tirelessly for children in Alabama during her more than 30 years of practicing community pediatrics through consistent and effective advocacy for children’s programs and policies at the local, state and national levels. Dr. Benton states, “It is both an honor and humbling to receive an award named for Dr. Raulerson, one of my pediatric heroes. I hope to continue in her footsteps.”

Three of the participating practices share what they are doing in their specific offices to promote the #StayWell collaborative.


Elizabeth Dawson, M.D., of Charles Henderson Child Health Center, shares the focus of their #StayWell adolescent collaborative--confidentiality and depression screening.


Fairhope Pediatrics encouraged adolescents to make their check-ups with a fun incentive program, which has increased their adolescent visits significantly. 


Dothan Pediatric Network, which includes Dothan Pediatric Clinic, Enterprise Pediatric Clinic, Eufaula Pediatric Clinic and Ozark Pediatric Clinic, held a contest throughout the months of June and July. Watch the video of the announcement of the winners and the amazing numbers of patients seen this summer here

achiaCheck out the Summer 2019 edition of the ACHIA Newsletter to find out the latest statistics on Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination rates and how you can help increase these rates. The ACHIA Newsletters provide information about current quality improvement initiatives, collaborative outcomes and more. Check out our latest publication!

By Salina Sowell, Communication Coordinator

Elizabeth Dawson, M.D., FAAP (founder of the Troy Resilience Project and Medical Director of the Charles Henderson Child Health Center in Troy) reflects upon introducing screening for ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) into a practice:

“In the previous issue of The Alabama Pediatrician (First Quarter 2019) I laid out how:
• Childhood adversity changes our brains, our bodies, and even our DNA;
• Toxic stress can lead to chronic disease and poor life outcomes due to impacts on the developing brain; and;
•Early intervention is key!

What could be more fundamental to the role of a pediatrician? Yet when I discuss ACEs screening with colleagues I hear, ‘How can I add one more screen to my already busy clinic visit?’ and ‘What do I do when I find something?’ And you know what? I get that. I know adding a screen takes more than the will and interest of one provider. It necessitates practice system change as well as making community connections beyond the clinic walls.