To be selected as President of the American Academy of Pediatrics is the greatest honor that could be given me. I approach this year with humility and pledge my best efforts.
Never before in the brief history of the Academy has the pressure of time been so enormous and demanded as much immediate vigorous effort as now for the welfare of children.
The many problems accompanied by this temporal pressure need no enumeration here. Dr. Logan has mentioned several. With each one, the degree of urgency and the length of time needed to accomplish realistic goals need evaluation. The fact that many problems will take years or decades to solve makes no less important the necessity to address ourselves to them now, before the welfare of a generation of children suffers irrevocably, or before alternative and less desirable solutions are imposed by government or other agencies.
The American people are impatient. Witness only Head Start. The Administration was impatient to start the operation before it was pretested so that one year crop of 5 year olds would not be deprived of help. Many Fellows of the Academy, by the same token, have been impatient because the health aspects are not still functioning smoothly. If Head Start works well across the country in 10 years, it will have been a notable achievement.
These factors of temporal pressure and impatience disturb pediatricians. Our training as scientists, which advocates careful and deliberate study of problems, makes us distrust hasty diagnosis or ill-considered therapy.
- Copyright © 1969 by the American Academy of Pediatrics