The beginning of a new year is a time people pause and then develop new year’s resolutions. Many are short-lived, yet others take traction and are adopted. We also routinely witness our politicians making promises during campaigns, which then have the same fate as resolutions … some never being embraced, yet others being adopted.

As I reflect on my 40-year career as the chief executive officer of a children’s hospital, it occurred to me that it’s time for us to have a “Year of the Child.” 2020 would be the perfect opportunity for our country to truly address the needs of our nation’s children through a well-thought-out plan and investment in all children — a powerful 2020 new year’s resolution. Next year, 2019, could be our planning year and time to coalesce all our voices for children.

What would a “Year of the Child” entail?

Since 2020 is an election year, both of our political parties could agree to place a common children’s agenda and specific plank into their party platforms. This plank could call for a children’s health Cabinet position. The agenda could also identify ways to address childhood issues of obesity, nutrition, suicide, homelessness, immunizations, literacy, infant mortality, bullying, violence, trafficking, behavioral disorders, access and affordability to health care, and more.

The “Year of the Child” could also bring forth a bigger investment in our children’s health care through the development of an identifiable program for children. The importance of maintaining access to health care is evident when you consider that the health profile of children today is actually deteriorating. We continue to make astounding advances in pediatric medicine, but barriers to care remain, and the pressures faced by young people growing up in our society across all income levels are a reality.

We have 75 million children in this country and over half of them are now covered by Medicaid, which is not identified as a children’s program. The time for action is now. If we are going to sustain our economy and global standing as a productive, thriving nation, we must invest in our children’s health and education. As our society ages with a rapidly increasing number of retiring adults, we must work to ensure there is a viable base of young workers ready to take their place.

Looking to the year ahead, we should focus our efforts on promoting the need for a children’s health care system that is more accessible, predictable and uniform from state to state to ensure all children in our country have the chance to grow and reach their full potential as productive adults. A new year’s resolution, which has the children’s focus, will benefit all of us.

2020 — the Year of the Child!

Considine is chief executive officer emeritus at Akron Children’s Hospital.