The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is an 80 year old trade association of pediatricians and other health professionals specializing in pediatrics. Headquartered in Elk Grove, Illinois, the AAP has approximately 390 employees, to go along with its over 60,000 members. More than 34,000 of these members are board-certified. The board-certified members are designated “Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics.”
The mission of the AAP is to foster “the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.”
Toward this end, the AAP provides annual scientific meetings, seminars, and continuing education courses for its members. Its publications include the journals Pediatrics and Pediatrics in Review, a series of child care books, and countless manuals and patient education brochures, as well as AAP News for members.
The AAP maintains the website HealthyChildren.org, with information and advice for parents and others who care for children, presented in a non-technical format for laypeople. The website includes the popular tools “Find a Pediatrician” and “Ask the Pediatrician.”
The AAP and three other pediatric organizations (the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the American Pediatric Association), jointly known as the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS), conduct research into not only conventional medical, biological areas such as the diagnosis and treatment of childhood diseases, but also into social, economic, and behavioral areas that significantly impact children.
For example, the AAP, through the PAS, takes within the scope of its research such matters as child abuse, teen pregnancy, youth alcohol abuse and drunk driving, parental attitudes toward vaccination, the ethical ramifications of treating infant “hopeless cases,” lifestyle changes that have led to greater child obesity, youth-on-youth violence, and much more.
Another manifestation of the AAP’s seeing its mission in broader terms than just the kind of biological and chemical matters done in laboratories and hospitals by people wearing white lab coats is its willingness to address political and public policy issues. The AAP advocates for specific laws and policies at both the state and federal level that it believes are justified in terms of the health and wellbeing of children.
Structurally, the AAP is a not-for-profit corporation governed by a ten-member board of directors. These ten are elected by members in their regional districts. The AAP has six councils and forty-eight sections, which present educational programs to AAP members concerning current research and practical knowledge.
Additional information about the AAP is available at the www.aap.org website.