Much thought is being given these days to the content of pediatric education for the future. Indeed, it has been under serious consideration for the past several years. Representatives of the American Board of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research, the Pediatric Section of the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, constituting an ad hoc committee organized in mid-1960, have recommended the formation of a Joint Committee on Pediatric Education, Practice and Research, and have outlined a program to explore and study the various problems. Details of this report will be found in the report of our Committee on Medical Education, October, 1960. Your Executive Board has accepted this report and is prepared to do its full part in implementing the Committee's recommendations. This includes staff help, space at the Evanston headquarters, and sharing in the cost. I consider this a subject not only important but urgent.
Whenever a question as fundamental as the education involved in a specialty is raised, many points of view must be considered. In a democratic society, this is as it should be. It is essential that those most concerned, namely, those who must do the teaching and those who apply this education by direct service to the public, be heard. For this reason I have proposed that the regional meetings of our Medical Education Committee deal with the question and invite practitioners, as well as heads of pediatric departments, to these sessions. Too often the voice of the practitioner is not raised or perhaps not heard or heeded when professional education is under consideration. I hope that these meetings will get under way this year under the aegis of our Committee on Medical Education.
One of the points of view on the nature and future of our specialty which has been publicized, and thus perhaps over-emphasized, is that pediatrics has become debased by over-production of pediatricians and the simplicity of the service involved in taking care of children. To preserve the value of our specialty, it has been proposed that pediatricians should turn over "routine office care" to physicians less highly trained in child care, leaving "problem cases" to the true specialist. Aside from the fact that "routine office care" often presents an opportunity to the pediatrician to turn up incipient difficulties of many kinds, this concept is unrealistic, defeatist and unimaginative. It is unrealistic because medical practice in a free society, so long as the public has free choice of physician, will be determined by what the public wants and is willing to pay for.
- Copyright © 1961 by the American Academy of Pediatrics