AAP History

​Lawrence Gartner, MD, FAAP and Carol Gartner, PhD
Pediatric History Center​​
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AAP History and Archives

"This is a memorable day in the history of American pediatrics. The founding of the Academy will have a far-reaching significance in developing the scope and field of pediatrics and, I hope, a beneficent influence on the life and health of those patients whom the pediatricians will reach" Issac A. Abt, from the first presidential address of the American Academy of Pediatrics on June 12, 1931

In the years following the first presidential address, the American Academy of Pediatrics has continued to honor this hope. Throughout the growth of the organization, the evolution of pediatric medicine and a changing health care landscape, the AAP has continued its dedication to supporting members and advancing child health. Visit our archives and explore our online resources to learn more about the history of our organization.

The AAP Archives serves as the official repository of the American Academy of Pediatrics history, documenting the AAP’s legacy of policy, advocacy, and education. The Archives collects and preserves significant records and artifacts related to the organization. The records of staff, committees, councils, and sections represent the heritage of the AAP and its contributions to the profession of pediatrics and improved health care for children. The AAP Bakwin Library collects and maintains a comprehensive print collection of publications produced by the Academy from 1932 - today.​

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​Landmarks in the History of the American Academy of Pediatrics​​​


​The American Medical Association (AMA) Section on Diseases of Children makes a public statement in support of the Sheppard-Towner Act, which proposed grants to the states for maternal-child health initiatives. This was in opposition to the AMA House of Delegates resolution, resulting in a reprimand for the Section and restrictions upon Sections acting independently of the House of Delegates.


The creation of a new national pediatric society is discussed at informal meetings at the home of James W. Rosenfeld, MD, in Portland, Oregon.


35 pediatricians meet at Harper Hospital in Detroit to lay the groundwork for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), establishing committees and adopting a constitution and bylaws.


First Annual Meeting of the AAP is held in Atlantic City, NJ on June 12-13, attended by 93 members and highlighted by the presidential address of Dr Abt.


Publication of the first issue of Journal of Pediatrics, the first official journal of the AAP.


The American Board of Pediatrics is formed with representation from AAP, the American Pediatric Society and the AMA Section on Diseases of Children.


First edition of the AAP Red Book (Report of the Committee on Immunization Procedures of the American Academy of Pediatrics) is published, describing 18 diseases or organisms, 13 of which are now vaccine-preventable.


The AAP held its first independent Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio


Pediatrics is published as the official journal of the AAP.


AAP Section on Surgery is established, after the American College of Surgeons and American Board of Surgery refused to recognize pediatric surgery as a distinct discipline.


The AAP and the US Children's Bureau publish the survey, Child Health Services and Pediatric Education, elevating the standards of pediatric education, hospital facilities, and medical services for children.


The AAP Committee Accident Prevention is established. A survey of practices identifies accidental poisoning as a primary problem and they conceive the idea of establishing point information centers. The first poison control center is established in Chicago in 1953.


A national randomized trial of Dr Jonas Salk's inactivated polio vaccine involving nearly 2 million American children demonstrates its effectiveness in preventing paralytic polio

Late 1950s

AAP works to increase public awareness of polio vaccine and promote immunization.


AAP manual on Resuscitation of the Newborn is published. The American Hospital Association issued wall placards illustrating its major recommendations.


The "battered child" syndrome is described by Dr Henry Kempe. The landmark article and coined term drew attention and led to every state passing reporting laws within 2 years.


AAP forms the Committee on the Infant and Preschool Child, which took up child abuse as its first project.


AAP publishes Standards of Child Health Care, including 15 pages devoted to preventive care.


AAP signs a contract to provide medical consultation to the Head Start program.


AAP Committee on Accidental Poisoning publishes a paper on "Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Lead Poisoning in Childhood." In 1971, Congress passes the Lead-Based Pain Poisoning Prevention Act.


AAP establishes an office in Washington, DC, to strengthen its liaison with the federal government.


AAP launches a nationwide effort to bring quality health education programming to more than 100 of the top television stations of the country.


AAP, ACOG and the National Foundation publish Toward Improving the Outcome of Pregnancy, which led to increasing centralization in regional NICUs with dramatic improvements in survival


Dr. Robert Sanders and the Tennessee Chapter of the AAP push through the first state child seat belt law.


AAP, along with 9 other medical organizations, publishes "The Future of Pediatric Education," becoming the foundation of modern pediatric education.


AAP launches the Speak Up for Children campaign, which sought to raise public awareness of issues affecting children. The AAP focused on accident prevention, nutrition, immunization and health education.


Pediatrics Review and Education Program (PREP) is officially launched by the AAP and the American Board of Pediatrics, which originally included the journal, Pediatrics in Review, and self-assessment exercises.


The Nutrition Committee of the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics issue a policy statement on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding of newborn infants was strongly recommended.


The American Academy of Pediatrics launches the First Ride, Safe Ride program to promote infant passenger safety. Legislation is subsequently passed in all states.


AAP along with ACOG publishes the first edition of Guidelines for Perinatal Care.


​The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) is established to address the increasing need for an educational ​program focusing on initial management of newborns requiring transfer to the NICU.


AAP publishes Report of A Forum on Firearms and Children, providing recommendations for a plan to put an end to firearm violence to children and adolescents.


Dr Antoinette P Eaton is the first woman elected president of the AAP.


The AAP publishes a statement advocating supine instead of prone sleeping position for infants, leading to a nationwide "Back to Sleep" campaign. This was followed by a 30-40% reduction in the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the US.


The "Medical home" concept is officially adopted by the AAP and published as a policy statement.


The AAP Pediatric History Center is established to preserve the history of child health.


The Children's Health Insurance Program is signed into law, with strong advocacy from the AAP.


Pediatrics publishes the first "online only" articles, in order to more rapidly disseminate child health research.


The results of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study are published in the American Journal of Preventive Health. AAP advocates for improvements and creates many new initiatives and resources on trauma-informed care.


The Richmond Center was established to help institutionalize pediatric tobacco control activities at AAP and was named in honor of Julius B. Richmond​​​​, MD, Chair of the FAMRI Medical Advisory Board, John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, and former Surgeon General of the United States.


AAP assumes leadership of the Bright Futures program by publishing the third edition of Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents.


AAP launches the Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight to focus on prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.


AAP creates the Immigrant Health Special Interest Group to provide practice and advocacy tools focused on addressing the unique challenges for immigrant children.​​

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