In 1980, the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on the Fetus and Newborn and the Section on Perinatal Pediatrics estimated the need for neonatologists.1 That statement suggested that needs might be satisfied by 1983 and recommended reassessment in the early 1980s. The present report is a reevaluation of those needs and comments concerning the present and future manpower status of neonatal pediatrics.
The previous statement encouraged the participation of pediatricians in all levels of infant care. The Committee reaffirms this participation, especially in Level II care.2 Pediatricians directing Level II neonatal services should have 6 months of training in neonatal special care. Level III services should be directed by Sub-Board certified neonatologists.
Every subspecialty faces the difficult problem of defining its own manpower needs. Neonatal pediatrics is no exception; it is difficult to ascertain whether the present number of neonatologists is needed to provide optimum care or whether some current care practices are actually created because of the increasing number of neonatologists.3 Defining the manpower needs in neonatology requires answers to some important questions: (1) What is the current numerical, functional, and geographic status of the subspecialty? (2) How many pediatricians (non-Sub-Board eligible, Sub-Board eligible, and Sub-Board certified) are practicing exclusively in the area of newborn care? (3) How much actual involvement does the Board-certified pediatrician have in providing Level II newborn care? This statement attempts to address these questions.
As of April 1, 1984, there were 1,346 Sub-Board-certified neonatologists (unpublished data, American Board of Pediatrics). There are approximately 125 fellows graduating from neonatal training programs each year.4
- Copyright © 1985 by the American Academy of Pediatrics