It is an honor to serve as Chair of the Section on Hospital Medicine for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Looking back, I am humbled to have assumed a role previously held by great leaders in the field: Ricardo Quinonez, Jen Daru, Dan Rauch, Laura Mirkinson and Jack Percelay. I will do my best to live up to the inspiring examples they have set before me. But as tempting as it is to spend some time looking back over the amazing accomplishments of our Section in the past decade, our field is changing, and our attention must be forward, and our activities and goals must change with the times.
Previously, the Section was working on defining our area of expertise, and refining our message to hospitals and administrations regarding the value of pediatric hospitalists. This is still important work, but pediatric hospitalists have rapidly become nearly ubiquitous around the nation. Now, our work must be to consolidate our forces and our energies to continue moving towards improved care of inpatient children. Recently the American Board of Pediatrics announced that Pediatric Hospital Medicine will be put forward as a subspecialty. This is a major turning point in our field of medicine, and it heralds both opportunities and challenges ahead. Our Section is positioned to meet these challenges head on.
One of the areas that pediatric hospital medicine has taken true leadership in is establishing value of care. Value is the benefit of care divided by the cost. Pediatric hospitalists, for example, were the founders of the VIP network (Value in Pediatrics), and our Section continues to be a strong supporter of the VIP’s efforts to improving care for children across the United States. Efforts like these are critical, and our Section is rapidly pursuing numerous exciting projects which share the ultimate goal: improving the quality and cost of evidence based care.
Reflecting that vision of improved value in clinical care, now that our Section is well established in the AAP as one of the largest and most active sections, we must look in the mirror and ask how we can provide value to you, our membership. Over 70% of children are admitted to general hospitals rather than children’s hospitals. The role of the community hospitalist is vital, and our Section is critically focusing on the needs of our membership in those areas. We need to focus our efforts on the practicing hospitalist, both in free-standing children’s hospitals and general hospitals.
The SOHM Executive Committee has ramped up our efforts in the last few years to provide meaningful services and resources for the membership. Our Section is comprised of energetic physicians with a passion to improve quality and safety for our patients, to increase our scientific knowledge and evidence-based focus of care, and to improve education, mentorship and the lifestyle balance of trainees and young professionals in our field.
We can use your help. If you have ideas, or if you want to volunteer to help in any of our committees of subcommittees, we want to hear from you. If you are interested in starting a new project and need guidance about where to go, we’re here for you. If you have questions about your career, further training, or opportunities for advocacy, quality improvement or leadership, please get in touch.
As your chair, I am only successful because I stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me. But the Section is only successful because of the broad shoulders of our enthusiastic membership. Our generation of pediatric hospitalists has the unique opportunity to envision and create our subspecialty the way we feel that it will thrive in the future. This is a very exciting time to be in pediatric hospitalist medicine. Let’s work together to continue making our field an example of greatness in Pediatrics so that we can inspire pediatric trainees to join us in providing high quality lower cost care to hospitalized children and their families across the country.
Brian Alverson, MD, FAAP
Chair, Section on Hospital Medicinebalverson@aap.net