- Letter from the President
All AAP members are committed to children, families, the practice of pediatrics, our Academy and each other. We sometimes, however, have different ideas about what’s important for children and families, what pediatricians need, and which areas of pediatrics require the AAP’s strongest focus. I frequently hear the lament that pediatrics has become divided. In primary care, the change from predominately small individual or group practice to institutional employment has been swift and will continue.
Do we focus our advocacy and leadership on pediatricians who remain in independent practice or help our increasing number of employed pediatricians become leaders in their institutions? Can we do both? Are their interests different? How are they the same?
What is the best way to help pediatricians in practice, anyway? Is it to defend them and fight off change? Or is it to lead them toward change and provide them with the tools to make this transition successfully?
Furthermore, general pediatrics itself has become split between community practice and in-patient hospital medicine. The “compleat pediatrician” that was the model 30 years ago is disappearing. What about our many subspecialists and their interests?
And while we have many fantastic Section on Medical Students, Residents and Fellowship Trainees and early career members actively involved and leading us into the future, there is a silent majority of young pediatricians out there with whom we need to better engage.
The sky is not falling. The AAP has more members than ever. We’re the most trusted and respected professional physicians group in our country, and the breadth and depth of our actions and reach are extraordinary. Wherever I go to represent pediatricians and the AAP, I feel the admiration we engender. Even the occasional criticism of our actions occurs because the world and our members expect us to be the most ethical, concerned and caring community of professionals.
No, the sky is not falling, but the ground beneath us is shifting. In the end, I know we have many more shared interests than separate ones. As pediatricians, we align on a noble cause — the optimal health and well-being of children and youth. Only together and only united can we effectively move our individual and collective agendas into the future.
Our annual National Conference & Exhibition last October in Washington, D.C., was a shining example of how united we really are. There, thousands of pediatricians — generalists and subspecialists, community pediatricians and hospitalists, young pediatricians and seniors, pediatricians of varied racial and ethnic backgrounds, and those from every part of the rainbow flag — came together to learn, share and make a difference. At the close of the conference, many of us stood in front of the U.S. Capitol to raise our voices in support of children and families and to encourage our elected senators and representatives in their efforts to help children. It was thrilling to be part of such a celebration of pediatrics!
E pluribus unum is the motto that appears in the mouth of the eagle on the Great Seal of the United States. It originally represented the different colonies joining together to fight tyranny and give birth to the United States; but over the years, it came to represent the many different people who came to this country (from many different places and under varying circumstances, including slavery) joining together in the melting pot that is the United States.
Recent events at home and abroad have made many of us more committed than ever to diversity and the idea that diverse citizens coming together is what our great country stands for. I promise, with your help, to make this the watchword of our great organization as well. The diversity that appears to divide us in actuality is our strength!
E pluribus unum: out of many, one.