The present reality of health care reform in the 1990s, along with the state of health of many American schoolchildren, creates an urgent need to look at the educational preparation of our future pediatricians in school health. Indeed, as detailed in much recent public health literature (ref Healthy Kids for the Year 2000: An Action Plan for Schools1), there is a recognition of the intertwined nature of health and learning, and the appreciation that school-age children with health problems, alcohol abuse, violent behaviors, school absence and/or failure, cigarette smoking, and poverty are increasingly a reflection of our country's dismal state of physical and mental health. These young people are more likely unemployable and at long-term risk.
Pediatrics as a specialty has always been a leader in trying to find solutions to child health issues. Pediatricians of the future, if their specialty is to remain viable, will need to understand and have the skills to deal with emerging social issues that affect children and their health status. Because school health has recently emerged at the national level as a crucial area to impact child health, it has become an important issue for pediatricians. Indeed, the school and its community are viewed as key in the widely publicized efforts to promote child health and, in turn, help children learn. The school is the place where the most significant long-term problems of future generations emerge and where those problems are dealt with, or, on occasion, it is the setting that provides the background for exposure to the problems of young people.
- Copyright © 1993 by the American Academy of Pediatrics