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​On April 16, 1931, the Executive Board established the Committee on Mental Hygiene to study the psychiatric problems of children. The Committee addressed not only obvious mental health problems, but also difficulties that children faced in adjusting to changing circumstances in the family. In 1939, it became the Committee on Mental Health. In the 1940s, the Committee, with the aid of funding by the Pet Milk Company, produced a film, “The Problem Child.” During this time, the Committee sought to improve the teaching of mental growth and development in pediatric departments. Unfortunately, most schools could not afford to attract properly trained instructors. When the AAP established Sections in the late 40s,  the Committee sought to establish a Section on Mental Growth and Development. The Executive Board agreed to this and in 1948, the Committee became the Section Executive Committee for the Section on Mental Growth and Development.

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In the beginning, the new Section had difficulty finding its focus. In 1954, it became the Section on Mental Health. In 1958, the Section was discontinued and a Committee on Child Development was established to address the concerns of the Section. The Committee reemerged in 1960 as the Section on Child Development. In 1988, it became the Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. During the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the Section in its various formats, addressed the concerns of child development and childhood mental health.

In January 1979, the Legislative Issues Committee noted that the Academy had no formal policy on mental health. Soon afterward, Dr Jean D. Lockhart, Director of the Department of Health Services and Government Affairs, wrote to Henry H. Work, MD, FAAP, Deputy Medical Director of Professional Affairs of the American Psychiatric Association, stating that there was no one Academy Committee that addressed mental health. In his reply in March, 1979, Dr Work noted that there had been a Committee on Mental Hygiene established in the 30s and that the Section on Child Development addressed mental health issues. Dr Work, a member of the Section, thought that “it may well be that, as a Section, it is not an appropriate action arm.” He wrote to Dr Bruce Graham expressing the hope that a workshop could be held on prevention of mental health problems. In the report to the Executive Board in April, 1979, Dr Lockhart suggested several options, one of which was to form a Committee or task force devoted to mental health or appoint child psychiatrists to AAP Committees. The Executive Board adopted the second suggestion and also referred the report to the Council on Child and Adolescent Health and the Section on Child Development.

In January 1980, the Council on Child and Adolescent Health recommended that a new Committee be established on behavioral pediatrics and the family. The ACBOC approved the proposal in March and the Executive Board followed suit in April 1980. To keep costs down, the new Academy reduced slots for other Committees and assigned them to the new Committee. 

The Executive Board directed the new Provisional Committee on Behavioral Pediatrics and the Family to:

  • study and make recommendations relative to the role of the pediatrician as family-behavioral counselor knowledgeable about family dynamics
  • address social changes affecting families
  • advise the Executive Board on the implications to pediatricians and the children for whom they care
  • review AAP manuals and statements for behavioral and mental health content and implications
  • make recommendations for appropriate changes
  • review and analyze legislation in the behavioral and mental health fields and prepare (in conjunction with the Evanston and Washington offices) appropriate AAP responses and policy statements
  • develop liaison relationships with the other committees of the Council on Child and Adolescent Health, with related AAP Sections, and with other organizations concerned with behavioral and mental health issues in children
  • assist the Department of Education of the Academy to develop educational content and programs in behavioral pediatrics for medical students, house staff, practicing pediatricians, and for other health professionals working for and with children
  • make recommendations for the future work of this Committee.
The Committee changed its name to the Provisional Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health and had its first official meeting in October 1980. In 1982, the Committee became a standing Committee as it remains today.


Committee Chairpersons

Committee on Mental Hygiene
Bronson Crothers, MD, FAAP, 1931-1936
Bert I. Beverly, MD, FAAP, 1936-1939
Provisional Committee on Psychosocial
Aspects of Child and Family Health

Morris Green, MD, FAAP, 1980-1982
Committee on Mental Health
Bert I. Beverly, MD, FAAP, 1939-1947 (died in 1947)
Milton J. E. Senn, MD, FAAP, 1947-1948
Committee on Psychosocial Aspects
of Child and Family Health

Morris Green, MD, FAAP, 1982-1984
Barbara M. Korsch, MD, FAAP, 1984-1988
Robert H. Pantell, MD, FAAP, 1988-1992
Martin T. Stein, MD, FAAP, 1992-1996
Mark L. Wolraich, MD, FAAP, 1996-2000
Joseph F. Hagan, Jr., MD, FAAP, 2000-02
Jane Meschan Foy, MD, FAAP, 2002-05
William L. Coleman, MD, FAAP, 2005-09
Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, 2009-2014
Michael Yogman, MD, FAAP, 2014-
Section on Mental Growth and Development
Milton J. E. Senn, MD, FAAP, 1948-1952
Richard Edward Wolf, MD, FAAP, 1952-1954
Section on Mental Health
Sherman Little, MD, FAAP, 1954-1958
Committee on Child Development
Julius B. Richmond, MD, FAAP, 1958-1960
Section on Child Development
Julius B. Richmond, MD, FAAP, 1960-1963
Robert B. Kugel, Md, FAAP, 1963-1965
Arthur H. Parmelee, Jr., MD, FAAP, 1965-1966
Robert W. Deisher, MD, FAAP, 1966-1967
Dane G. Prugh, MD, FAAP, 1967-1968
Morris Green, MD, FAAP, 1968-1970
T. Berry Brazelton, MD, FAAP, 1970-1972
Lewis Fraad, MD, FAAP, 1972-1973
David Friedman, MD, FAAP, 1973-1975
John B. Bartram, MD, FAAP, 1975-1977
Lawrence Taft, MD, FAAP, 1977-1979
Barbara M. Korsch, MD, FAAP, 1979-1981
Learn more about the Committee here.
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