June 12-13, 1931, in Atlantic City at the first regular meeting of the American ademy of Pediatrics, Dr. Isaac A. Abt, the first president, defined the purpose of this new society. There was no need, he claimed, for another scientific society, but "it has been our desire to build an association so that every qualified pediatrician could seek membership . . . We must perfect our department of medicine where imperfections exist." He went on to say that the Academy should be an organization for action in behalf of the health and welfare of all children.
Forty years later, the Academy has become just that–an "organization of action." This is clearly demonstrated by its 35 national committees, many of which are truly outstanding and have made innumerable contributions over the years to child health and the delivery of health care (Committee on Infectious Disease, Accident Prevention, Fetus and Newborn, Nutrition, and the Council on Pediatric Practice, to mention a few).
There are many challenges that confront us today, but the most serious in my opinion is the grave manpower shortage and maldistribution in the delivery of primary health care to all of our children. We have the "chiefs but not the Indians." In most instances we have ample numbers, talented and productive in most subspecialties. In a few, we many even have too many. But as for the hard-working, dedicated "local pediatrician," with the constant challenge of a private practice and its physical and emotional demands, there is a woeful scarcity and a great need.
- Copyright © 1971 by the American Academy of Pediatrics