2016-04-15

Participation in a Major New Paper- from the AAP, on Poverty

Participation in a Major New Paper- 
from the AAP, on Poverty

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published a major new policy statement on the topic of poverty in this month's (April, 2016) issue of Pediatrics.    And I am very honored to be listed as one of the authors as the member of an AAP Committee that participated in the drafting of the document.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/03/07/peds.2016-0339

As many of you know the AAP is one of the world's leading pediatric professional societies.   It has a very wonderful history of helping children.  The AAP, in fact, was founded in protest against AMA actions that tried to block the government from providing free milk to poor children, in the 1920's.  When the AMA lobbied Congress to block this bill from passing, the pediatricians walked out of the AMA in protest and created the AAP.

Since that time, the AAP has been one of the only doctors' societies whose main purpose has not been the doctors, but rather the children we serve.

This major paper is firmly in that tradition.  Every few years, the AAP identifies the top three priorities facing children in America.   When the Academy identified poverty as a top priority, that was a major event.  Our Academy found that one of the top three priorities defining the health of children was not a disease, was not an infection, but a creation of our own national community.

I applauded that decision, as I agree with our Academy that poverty creates worlds of suffering and dire impacts that are at the root of many of the major catastrophes children face today, including
mental health conditions, lethal and disabling injuries from gunfire and other violence, malnutrition, and higher rates of more traditional diseases such as asthma.

It is a real honor that for several years I have served on one of the national committees of the AAP, the committee charged with setting policy for the Academy on matters pertaining to the psychological and social health of children and their families.  One of the jobs of this committee is to draft and/or review policy statements adopted by the Academy and published in Pediatrics, widely regarded as the leading journal for pediatric papers in the world.  

I would encourage you to read this paper, Poverty and Child Health in the United States.
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/03/07/peds.2016-0339
I consider it an historic publication, as it calls our national community to witness that poverty is a problem we have created, that we can dramatically reduce, and that not doing so has very real, durable, and identifiable health consequences for our children.

As our committee publishes other policy statements of the Academy, I will be keeping you informed.

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin



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