Academic General Pediatrics

What is Academic General Pediatrics?

An Academic General Pediatrician is trained to provide clinical care for a wide range of pediatric problems usually in the primary care, inpatient or emergency department setting. They have special expertise in research, education, advocacy, administration and leadership and are interested in the whole child in the context of the child's family and community.

Academic general pediatricians typically work in academic health centers in a variety of positions, including major roles in pediatric resident and medical student education, research in general pediatrics, pediatric quality improvement, child advocacy, and administration. Most academic generalists have clinical responsibilities including inpatient care, primary care, and/or clinical programs focused on specific general pediatric problems or vulnerable and underserved children, adolescents, and families.

General pediatricians provide expertise in primary and secondary prevention of disease. Primary prevention is averting the occurrence of a disease through specific interventions such as immunizations, or more general patient education or counseling to prevent injury (e.g., anticipatory guidance); while secondary prevention includes attempts to slow or halt the progression of a disease through screening (e.g., screening for developmental delay, at-risk behaviors etc). Primary and secondary prevention are both achieved through clinical practice as well as community education and advocacy.

Topics addressed in research and program development have substantial breadth and include childhood chronic conditions, treatment of common pediatric conditions, preventing health risk behaviors, social determinants of health, genetics in primary care, child maltreatment, health policy, health systems organization, hospitalist care, racial and ethnic disparities in child health, and community interventions. While research in other pediatric subspecialties tends to focus "within" the patient (e.g., by organ system), general pediatric research programs tend to focus beyond the patient and view children in a broader context. For example research focuses on the child in the context of the family, community, health care system, cultural norms and beliefs, as well as health care policy.

Given the breadth of general pediatric expertise, many general pediatricians have served, or continue to serve in prominent roles in the health care system. Examples include David Kessler, MD, JD former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; Cathy DeAngelis, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Medical Association; Robert Ross, MD; President, California Endowment; and Richard Besser, MD, ABC News Medical Editor and former Acting Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Academic general pediatrics is inclusive of disciplines including adolescent medicine, child abuse, developmental/behavioral pediatrics, hospital medicine, pediatric emergency medicine and pediatric environmental medicine. Clinically, general pediatric practice is multi-disciplinary and includes strong collaboration with nurse practitioners, social workers, dietitians and other allied health professionals.

What kind of training do academic generalist pediatricians have?
Academic generalist pediatricians have completed four years of medical school and three years of residency training in pediatrics. Many complete two or more years of fellowship training in academic general pediatrics. Depending on clinical, research or educational career goals, pathways for additional post-residency training include the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, as well as fellowship training in adolescent medicine, environmental health, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, and child abuse detection and prevention. Many academic generalists have had fellowship training, and many fellowships have accreditation through the Academic Pediatric Association (APA).

Fellowships in academic general pediatrics includes training in:

  • Research: Research design, clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine, statistics, responsible conduct of research, and scientific communications
  • Education: Techniques for teaching learners of different levels, as well as evaluation and assessment of performance
  • Career Development and Leadership: Professionalism, habit of life-long learning, career planning, academic leadership, administration, health care organization and delivery, pediatric advocacy

Many programs include coursework leading to a Master in Public Health or related field. Listings of fellowship programs can be found at AGP Accredited Programs. Currently, academic generalist programs do not have a single date for final applications or a specific match day. Most sites encourage applications late in the 2nd year of residency or the summer of the 3rd year. Most interviews are concluded by late October, with decisions made typically by December.

Currently, no separate boards exist for academic generalists beyond the general pediatric examinations of the American Board of Pediatrics. General academic pediatrician salaries vary based on experience, job description and region. Current mean salaries for general pediatricians based on academic rank and region are available through the Association of Academic Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Where can I find an academic generalist pediatrician?
Academic general pediatricians practice in a variety of settings in teaching hospitals, children's hospitals, community hospitals and outpatient settings in hospitals or in the community. Most academic generalists are based in departments of pediatrics in academic health centers. Others find positions in policy and public health areas or in health care management (e.g., practice leadership). They spend varying amounts of time in clinical care, education, research, advocacy and administration.




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