The American Academy of Pediatrics publishes more than 60 policies each year on a broad range of topics that impact the health and wellbeing of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Policy statements of the AAP are written by medical experts and reflect the latest evidence in the field. They are evidence driven, nonpartisan and rigorously reviewed. Collectively, they are an integral part of the Academy’s identity, help guide practitioners in the care of children and are cited in research and referenced in media.
There are three phases to the development of AAP policy statements:
- Drafting of an “intent” to write a policy. The intent is a document that describes the purpose, research base, list of authors and their areas of expertise and key topic areas of a proposed policy statement. This document is submitted to the AAP Board of Directors for consideration and approval.
- Writing the policy statement and submitting to peer review. This process can take up to two years and includes an evidence review, collaborative writing among the group of expert authors and submission to multiple groups of peers for review. Feedback from peer reviewers is incorporated into the draft policy statement.
- Executive review and approval. After a policy completes peer review, it is reviewed internally by senior leadership at AAP and voted upon by the AAP Board of Directors. If approved, it is published in Pediatrics, the official peer-reviewed journal of the AAP.
Policy statements are thoroughly vetted through several rounds of review, including:
- at least one round of peer review, where it is not uncommon to have 30-40 reviewers per policy statement.
- three rounds of executive review including AAP executive staff and senior leadership, the AAP Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.
All steps in this process are intended for a final policy statement that has been rigorously reviewed and is factual and with a strong scientific basis.
AAP clinical reports and technical reports follow the same process as above.
Policy statements, clinical reports, technical reports and clinical practice guidelines are reviewed on a 5-year cycle. After 5 years, a policy may be reaffirmed, revised or retired.
Types of AAP Policy and Clinical Standards
- Policy Statements – statements that advocate, direct or detail a public health position of concern to the AAP.
- Technical Reports – reports that focus on a review of the literature and data analyses.
- Clinical Reports – reports that guide pediatricians in the clinical setting by addressing best practices and state-of-the-art medicine.
- Clinical Practice Guidelines - evidence-based clinical guidance that is based on a comprehensive literature review and data analyses with formal rules of evidence in support of each recommendation made.
American Academy of Pediatrics