These issues include high infant mortality rates, children with chronic healthcare needs, obesity, disproportionately significant levels of intentional and unintentional injuries, exposure to lead and other environmental dangers, chemical abuse, behavioral and developmental consequences of improper care and expertise, mental health conditions, poor school readiness, family dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and lack of access to medical homes. An integral part of a community-pediatrics approach incorporates interdisciplinary practice. As former AAP president Robert Haggerty, MD, FAAP, reminded us in 1995, “we have to become partners with other people, or we’ll become increasingly irrelevant to the health of children.”
Communities should impart a feeling of wellbeing, security, and well-being and encourage a supportive environment for families of all kinds. Just as children rely on the interaction of households where they reside, the communities which support them affect households. The health and welfare of children rely on the capacity of families and the community support system to foster positive emotional and physical development. Lately the AAP’s Task Force on the Family analyzed the notion of household pediatrics and the area that has to be practiced within the context15 of this community.
Pediatricians stay instrumental in attempts to create, organize, and execute changes in communities’ efforts that may substantially improve the health of children. 18 More recently, Haggerty recognized the exceptional contribution and focus of community pediatrics: Community pediatrics [has sought] to supply a much more realistic and complete clinical picture by taking responsibility for all children in a community, providing preventive and curative services, and understanding the determinants and effects of child health and illness, in addition to the efficacy of services provided. Thus, the exceptional characteristic of community pediatrics is its concern for each the people–those who stay well but need preventive services, those who have symptoms but don’t receive care, and people who do seek medical attention in a doctor’s office or in a hospital.
With the sweeping changes occurring in medicine and other human services, it is particularly important today for pediatricians to reexamine and reaffirm their role as professionals in the area, as community pediatricians, and prepare themselves for it as diligently as they prepare conventional clinical roles.