The Right Child/Right Surgeon initiative: A position statement on pediatric surgical training, sub-specialization, and continuous certification from the American Pediatric Surgical Association

Samuel M. Alaish, David M. Powell, John H.T. Waldhausen, Stephen P. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The past 50 years have witnessed profound changes in the specialty of pediatric surgery in North America. There has been a marked increase in the number of both pediatric surgical training programs and practicing pediatric general and thoracic surgeons. Despite this trend, the population of children in the United States and the birth rate have recently remained relatively flat. Some pediatric surgeons have become “super specialists”, concentrating their practices in oncology or colorectal surgery. This has the potential to result in a dilution of experience for both pediatric surgical trainees and practicing pediatric surgeons, thus limiting their ability to acquire and maintain expertise, respectively. Coincident with this, there has been a relative paradigm shift in recognition that “quality of life” is based more on maintaining a creative balance in lifestyle and is not “all about work”. There has been a parallel growth in the number of practicing pediatric general and thoracic surgeons in urban settings, but we have not appreciated as much growth in rural and underserved areas, where access to pediatric surgical care remains limited and fewer pediatric general and thoracic surgeons practice. This is a complex issue, as some underserved areas are economically depressed and geographically sparse, but others are just underserved with adult providers taking care of children in settings that are often under resourced for pediatric surgical care. This problem may extend beyond the boundaries of pediatric general and thoracic surgery to other specialties. As the premier association representing all pediatric surgeons in the United States, the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) has concluded that the quality of pediatric surgical care will likely decline should the status quo be allowed to continue. Therefore, APSA has initiated a Right Child/Right Surgeon initiative to consider these issues and propose some potential solutions. What follows is a brief statement of intent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2566-2574
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Volume55
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Continuous certification
  • Pediatric surgical training
  • Position statement
  • Sub-specialization
  • White paper
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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