Pediatricians have long believed that they can play a powerful role in creating lasting and meaningful change for the patients they serve. In fact, the AAP was founded by pediatricians to help ensure that patient advocacy remains a priority for the profession. What makes the profession of pediatrics unique is its commitment to not only treat sick and injured children in the professional setting, but also to work systemically to change the environment that contributes to children's illnesses and injuries through prevention efforts. Through their advocacy efforts at the individual, community, state, or federal level, pediatricians can move from treating one patient at a time to being part of a broader network of advocates that works systematically.
To accomplish this type of systemic change, pediatricians must use their voices to speak up on behalf of children at the community and legislative/public policy levels. As more pediatricians become actively involved in advocacy, decision-makers and community leaders will better understand that pediatricians have expertise in child health policy issues. The AAP believes that pediatricians have the power and credibility to help create new community norms and public policies that work on behalf of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.