AAP-CA2 Chapter Election for the 2022-2024 Term

Dear AAP-CA2 voting member,   

It is time for our 2022-2024 Chapter Board Election. The AAP-CA2 executive board is composed of 4 officers: president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The AAP-CA2 executive board is joined by appointed area representatives from our various counties, and members-at-large to form the AAP-CA2 Board of Directors. Both the president and vice president must be a Fellow or Specialty Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. During the two-year term, the vice president also serves as the president-elect, becoming the Chapter President the following term. Our 2022-24 incoming President is Grant Christman, MD, FAAP.

The voting period is active now.  The ballot was emailed to voting members on May 16th at 7:00 AM (Subject line: “AAP-CA2 Election. Please Vote”). Voting will close on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 11:59 PM. Results will be announced via the June edition of the AAP-CA2 e-Newsletter. Assumption of duties by newly elected officers will commence on July 1st.

Thank you for your dedication to children, and the people who care for and about them.


AAP-CA2 Nominating Committee (Past presidents)
Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAP (2018-20) | Edward Curry, MD, FAAP (2016-18) | Paula Whiteman, MD, FACEP, FAAP (2014-16)

The Nominating Committee is pleased to present the slate of candidates for your consideration.
All candidates are listed alphabetically.

Candidates for Vice President/President Elect

Cori Cross, MD, FAAP

Cori Cross is a board-certified pediatrician and has been serving the LA community since her residency at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) in 2004. She has been an active member of California Chapter2 (CA-2) for over 10 years, both as Treasurer and a Member-at-Large. In addition, she is an AAP spokesperson and uses these platforms to advocate for children and educate the public on pediatric and public health issues. In addition to print interviews on behalf of the AAP, she is a repeat medical expert on CNN’s Headline News and Los Angles’ CBS news, a regular guest on RadioMD’s Healthy Children and Sirus XM’s Doctor Radio.

Dr. Cross works as an advocate and public educator speaking nationally and locally to children and adults on a variety of topics, including screen use, nutrition, obesity, nicotine and vaping, marijuana, puberty, and child and teen predators. She has lobbied for vaping and nicotine laws to protect children, school lunch program funding and increasing the nutritional value of school food, tamper resistant marijuana packaging, and LATCH child safety restraints for all second-row seats in cars.

Early in her career, it was evident that screens would have a profoundly different effect on this next generation. She joined the AAP’s Council on Communications and Media and has since served two terms on the Executive Committee. She was a lead author on the AAP’s “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents” as well as the accompanying technical report “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media.” She has continued working and educating in this space, giving talks locally and nationally to parents, student, educators and pediatricians. She has partnered with Common Sense Media locally to give panel discussions and nationally to develop resources for pediatricians to address these issues in their offices. In 2017, she won an Outstanding Achievement in Innovation Award from the AAP for her work in creating the Family Media Use Plan toolkit on HealthyChildren.org. Since then, she has continued to work with the AAP to update these resources and policies and is currently working to reaffirm the “Media Use in School-Age and Adolescents” policy statement.

In addition to clinical work, Dr. Cross works as a children’s advocate both locally and nationally. She has worked closely with LA-USD to combat obesity through Fit to Play and Learn Obesity Prevention Curriculum a program she co-developed to educate parents and students on healthy life choices. In 2017, she was awarded the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA) Community Volunteer Award for her near decade work in partnering with the nurses at LAUSD to address and curtail childhood obesity. During this time, she met with local leaders, participated in multiple Walk to School programs and spoke at many public schools about nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.

Dr. Cross graduated cum laude from Barnard College with a BA in philosophy. She attended The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she obtained her M.D. and was elected to the AOA honor society. She then moved to L.A. with her husband where she did her pediatric residency at CHLA. She currently lives in the Pacific Palisades with her husband and three children.

Melissa Ruiz, MD, FAAP

Hello my name is Melissa Ruiz and I am honored to have been nominated to run for vice president of AAP California Chapter 2.

I’m a community pediatrician in a federally qualified health Center in Ventura that serves as a medical home for children with complex medical conditions. In addition I have a special interest in children in foster care and children with special needs because I am both a foster parent and a parent of a child with Down syndrome. 

In my third year of pediatric residency Dr. Benjamin Hoffman arrived at my program through the AAP CATCH Rome visiting professor award. I was immediately inspired and knew that I had found my people as he directed me toward the AAP council on community pediatrics, the CATCH program but at the same time emphasized the importance of being involved with my local chapter. Soon thereafter I was elected as a catch resident liaison and I also began work on an advocacy campaign with my chapter. It was at an AAP NCE community pediatrics program that I found my community medicine fellowship, which led me back to Southern California. 

At the following AAP NCE, knowing I was headed back to Southern California, I sought out California AAP Chapter 2. I introduced myself to the chapter president and the executive director while at the NCE and within a month of having moved back to Southern California, I attended my first Chapter 2 meeting. I was quickly encouraged to apply for the role of Section on Early Career Physicians (SOECP) chapter rep, which I was awarded, and I then took on the Chapter CATCH facilitator, a position I still hold. I have been in my current role as the SOECP district representative for the past 2 years, which has allowed me to work at the chapter, state and national level. In this role, I’ve worked to connect early career pediatricians in California with their chapters and co-led programming to connect them both with each other and mentors. 

Through my work in the State Government affairs committee I’ve had the opportunity to meet with state legislators, working to advance AAP priorities. I’ve also been fortunate to have opportunities during interviews on various local Univision news programs to educate the public about numerous pediatric conditions, including COVID in children and the pediatric covid vaccines.

I’ve seen what our chapter can do in terms of building community partnerships, engaging in local advocacy and emphasizing the importance of member engagement. I aim to continue that work and continue to support our chapter’s participation in both local and state level advocacy. Along with that, I will work to create opportunities for mentorship for our chapter members at all levels of their career. 

I continue my engagement with the AAP because this is where I fight for my patients. How do we get a child healthy who doesn’t have their fundamental needs met? The AAP fights for kids and what they need and that’s why I’m here. We support each other, we mentor each other and we advocate together. This is our professional home. 

I would be honored to serve as vice president of our chapter to continue that work. Thank you for your consideration.

Candidates for Chapter Treasurer

Mitchell Goldstein, MD, FAAP

Dr. Goldstein attended the University of Miami’s Honor Program in Medical Education, completed his pediatric residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Goldstein is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.  

Dr. Goldstein is Editor-in-Chief of Neonatology Today and Medical Director of the National Coalition for Infant Health. He is also the immediate past chair National Chair of the AAP Section on Advances in Therapeutics & Technology (SOATT) and past president of the National Perinatal Association (NPA).

Dr. Goldstein’s most important trait is his tireless devotion to patient access issues, and he has been a vocal advocate for “right” sizing technology. When his hospital and many others nationwide could not purchase medical devices vital to patient care, Dr. Goldstein wrote senators and congressmen. He testified in front of a United States Senate Sub-Committee of the Judiciary regarding the practices of the Group Purchasing Organizations and the restriction of access to vital medical devices and pharmaceuticals. The story of Dr. Goldstein’s vigilance, success in modifying these practices, and improvement in patient care made the front page of the New York Times.   

Dr. Goldstein advocates for an improvement in the physician-industry relationship as crucial in providing exceptional care. He supports transparency, dialog, and better engagement with industry as a means of ensuring that the most advanced pharmaceuticals and medical devices are developed for our most at-risk pediatric patients.

Akhil Sharma, MD, FAAP

My name is Akhil Sharma. I am a Pediatrician in private practice and co-owner of Radiant Pediatrics LLC. After completing my medical school and pediatric training in India, I did my residency in the US at St Luke’s/ Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.

I moved to Victorville in 2001 and started private practice along with my wife and partner Aparna Sharma, and have grown it into a successful enterprise with 3 current locations, and growing. I am a member of the SBCMS, currently on staff at 3 local community hospitals, recently been the Department chair at Victor Valley Global Medical Center, and also on teaching faculty at California University of Science and Medicine in Colton.

Our practice has consistently been one of the top performers in quality measures in

the Inland Empire for the past decade. I believe that providing quality care and guidance to a young family today will lead to a better future for the young adults of tomorrow!

Candidates for Chapter Secretary

Cindy Baker, MD, FAAP

My name is Cindy Baker. I am a general pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles, where I have spent my whole career. I practice general ambulatory pediatrics, have a large practice, including many grandpatients, and teach residents and medical students. I have served as Associate Residency program director, am departmental CME chair and on our Symposium committee, and am involved in our multidisciplinary Vascular Birthmark Clinic among other roles and responsibilities.

     Born in Philadelphia, I attended the University of Pennsylvania for college and medical school. I came to CHLA for my residency and Chief residency, then joined Kaiser Permanente where I have spent my career.

     I joined AAP as a resident but never really got involved with the Chapter until I was asked to run for member-at-large. I am now finishing my sixth term on the board. I served on the national COPAM (Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine) from 2012-2018, which was a difficult but rewarding experience. I learned so much about National AAP and was able to contribute and be involved in multiple publications. It was a great experience and honor. I have met so many wonderful, dedicated pediatricians in this Chapter. We have survived many crises, including this last 2 years with Covid. AAP has been another home for me.

     I have a lot of institutional memory for this Chapter. I have watched new pediatricians come in who are talented, dedicated and passionate about many issues that affect children; advocacy, immigrant health, climate change and mental health, independent practice, residency training, and other issues that are in crisis and so important for our patients and families. I am ready to serve and work with a team that is motivated and eager to move us forward. I see our Chapter continuing to accomplish great things in many areas of pediatric care. Our diverse chapter represents our diverse population. We need to continue to look at workforce issues, burnout, resilience, wellness, and support all of our colleagues. The more dedicated pediatricians we have in our chapter, the more we can accomplish.

Kimberly Petko, MD, MPH, FAAP

Hi, I’m Kimberly Petko and I’m running for Secretary of the AAP-CA2. Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I’m a pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an assistant professor at USC Keck School of Medicine.  I am the Director of my institution’s Advocacy Collaborative and a Health Policy Scholar through the Academic Pediatric Association. Prior to medicine, I trained and worked in public health.  I have experience in pandemic response and vaccine distribution as well as evaluating health care services delivery. 

In addition to my clinical work, I am deeply invested in advocacy. I’ve brought this passion to the AAP-CA2 during my last 2 years serving as a Member-At-Large. In this role, I have increased trainee engagement with the chapter.  I facilitated a social media campaign regarding educational disparities and legislative priorities.  I also connected our Immigrant Health Task Force with a community-based organization and coordinated a training session for our members. I also participate in the California Advocacy Collaborative and represent our chapter during the advocacy training sessions for residents across the state. I’ve met many of you at the AAP Legislative Conference or during other AAP legislative advocacy activities. I look forward to working with our chapter’s Policy and Legislative Analyst to increase our local engagement, share advocacy opportunities with our members, and strengthen our community partnerships.

If elected as secretary, I hope to continue building our local advocacy efforts, increase member engagement, and strengthen trainee involvement with the chapter.  I believe that our AAP chapter has room to grow its advocacy efforts and I look forward to partnering with our members to advance health equity through advocacy. Your voice matters. I hope you vote and continue your involvement with the AAP-CA2. I humbly ask for your consideration as I run for Secretary. Thank you!

The ballot was emailed to voting members on May 16th at 7:00 AM
(Subject line: “AAP-CA2 Election. Please Vote”)

Members At Large 2022 - 2024