- AAP —
- American Academy of Pediatrics
The start of a new year heralds 2 noteworthy events in our nation’s history, one of which may be more familiar to you than the other. The first is the convening of what will be the 113th US Congress and the second, perhaps less known to many, is the 65th anniversary of our journal, Pediatrics. Why announce these events together? Because the uniting force that brings our journal and our nation’s legislative body together this year is the same one that has united us in the past, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and all other pediatric advocacy groups and publications: the future of children, in this country and around the world.
You do not need to be a congressional leader to know that this past election year was fraught with turbulence in campaigns waged locally, statewide, and nationally, and with that turbulence, an agenda for children was not always front and center. A new year, however, brings new hopes and expectations, and to highlight those expectations, we are publishing a special article this month by Block et al1 that represents the policy agendas of 5 leading national pediatric organizations in regard to what Congress should be focusing on to improve care and outcomes for children.
The good news in this article is that each organization’s wish list could result in some substantive benefits for children as the House and Senate are challenged to provide improved Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement for routine pediatric services (such as developmental surveillance), better support of graduate medical education, more pediatric research funding, enhanced diversity in the pediatric workforce, and an increased emphasis on better programs and services for children in poverty. The bad news is that each of the 5 organizations has picked different priorities for Congress, and, as a result, legislators may feel that there is no cohesive agenda for children and thus not move forward with health policies and legislation essential to child health.
There is, however, a unifying theme in this important special article, to improve the health of children, and that is where our journal comes in. Each organization sees this theme in a different light that is specific to the unique mission of that organization, in the same way that every child should be viewed for their strengths and the unique contributions they will make to society. So how does our journal help? We realize there is more than 1 way to improve the health of a child, and that is why each month we publish a variety of studies, reviews, case and quality reports, and special articles. One study does not please all, but like our hopes for the 113th Congress, we need to do a better job of making our voices heard, including more of our readers’ voices. Beginning this month, we introduce a new section called Pediatrics Perspectives, situated at the front of both the print and the online editions. You may recognize that we have used that moniker for the past few years to publish monthly columns on medical student and resident education, international health, and historical moments of contemporary relevancy. We will be renaming those articles Monthly Features in our Table of Contents.
Effective this month, you, our readers, are invited to submit unsolicited commentaries to the Pediatrics Perspectives section for peer review on issues of policy, public health, or other research and clinical topics related to infant, child, and/or adolescent health. We hope readers use this column to advocate and in turn let policy makers know that children need to be a priority in health reform legislation, or perhaps let us know how we as pediatricians can do even more to influence our legislators locally or nationally on key issues. Although we expect that the perspectives of those who write for this column will vary, and may be different from those expressed even by AAP leadership, we hope that the new Pediatrics Perspectives column will assist the AAP and other pediatric organizations in their quest to make things better for today’s children as well as the next generation’s.
As we work to help our readers advocate, we also want to better serve readers so that you can get out of Pediatrics exactly what you need to know in your area of practice or interest. Going beyond our own pages, we need to link our content with that of other AAP publications that also cover areas relevant to our readers. To do that, we will soon introduce a new way for you, the reader, to access the journal content you are especially interested in, with a new member benefit portal that will serve as host to the AAP’s multiple journals and publications. This portal will launch in mid-2013 and will provide AAP members with a centralized online location to access, manage, search, and discover relevant content across the entire universe of AAP journals and publications. We are creating a canvas where you can easily create the perfect pediatrics information dashboard, customized and tailored to your specific interests and needs, with just 1 or 2 clicks, including using any Web-enabled mobile device. More importantly, the new portal will proactively do some of the research work for you. Intelligent search technology will create dynamic relationships between articles, audio, video, and relevant AAP content. In this way, you can have your own personalized version of Pediatrics delivered to you whenever and wherever you want it.
We realize the information we publish monthly just in our journal alone can be overwhelming, and yet we also realize that each article cries out for improvements in children’s health, a cry that must reach the 113th Congress. We hope that, with the opinions expressed by those who contribute to our new Pediatrics Perspectives column, combined with the multitude of child health issues discussed throughout our journal and furthered by the ability for readers to customize each issue of the journal and make it even more personally relevant, each of us will be better equipped to advocate and improve the future for a population too young to advocate for themselves. Here’s to 2013 being the best year ever for improving the health of the children we serve both in this country and around the world, and here’s to our journal helping to play a role in making those improvements happen!
- Accepted October 23, 2012.
- Address correspondence to Lewis R. First, MD, MS, Editor-in-Chief, Pediatrics Editorial Office, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 89 Beaumont Ave, Given Courtyard S250, Burlington, VT 05405. E-mail:
Opinions expressed in these commentaries are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the American Academy of Pediatrics or its Committees.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.
FUNDING: No external funding.
- Block RW,
- Dreyer BP,
- Cohen AR,
- Stapleton FB,
- Furth SL,
- Bucciarelli RL
- Copyright © 2013 by the American Academy of Pediatrics