QUESTIONS are asked, sometimes hesitantly, sometimes stridently: Shall the American Academy of Pediatrics continue its traditional role in the framework of American medicine? Or should it alter the purposes expressed by the founders, to which it has held consistently through the years? Should it become partisan on behalf of the pediatrician's welfare, a political-action organization, active also in medical economics?
Those who have concern for the ultimate future of pediatrics and the path which the Academy travels must take a thoughtful, searching look at these questions and arrive at a concert of opinion.
Why do these questions arise?
They represent one expression of growing pains in our specialty. All surveys and reports indicate that pediatrics is flourishing, one of the fastest growing of the specialties. Increasing numbers of American and foreign graduates are in pediatric residency training and apply to the American Board of Pediatrics for certification. Many foreign trainees remain in the Americas and seek citizenship. The present body of pediatricians, in practice, teaching, and research, has neither the post-training experience nor the cohesiveness of purpose of the Academy founders and members during its formative years; many lack the reassurance of established solidity.
Paralleling this development, the Academy grows in size, significance, and comprehensiveness of program. Now 8,000 in membership, it is the largest pediatric organization in the world. Its voice on behalf of children becomes increasingly persuasive; its programs of training, of research into special problems, of committee activities in many spheres of child health and welfare, its reports and publications, have an expanding influence.
- Copyright © 1963 by the American Academy of Pediatrics