THE ROLE of the pediatrician in the totality of medical practice in this country undergoes close scrutiny; panels and papers have dealt with it. Pediatric educators are vitally concerned that their teaching programs be tailored to future needs; official interest of the American Academy of Pediatrics has been expressed through its Committee on Medical Education and Subcommittee on Postgraduate Education. Now the Academy, jointly with the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Board of Pediatrics, and the Pediatric Section of the A.M.A., cosponsors a study of Pediatric Research, Education and Practice (PREP) under the direction of Dr. Alex Steigman.
I speak now for the practicing pediatrician. The experiences and philosophy acquired from a third-century devoted to pediatric practice, spanning the lifetime of the Academy, may be of value to those concerned with the future of the specialty. Not content to rely on an individual judgment, I have submitted the outline of my thought to 20 friends of my generation for their opinions of its validity, their experiences and ideas. Their responses, enthusiastic and often detailed, enhance and embellish my observations.
The composition of this group is important, since my thesis relies on their approval and added experiences. They practice in 17 states from New England and Florida to California and Hawaii; they live in cities and towns from the size of New York and Chicago to as small as 25,000 on 35,000 population. All are long-time members of the Academy; many, but not all, have held office or served on committees of this organization. All have been primarily involved in practice, but many have had part-time teaching experience in university or hospital; a few are known for clinical research and published articles.
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