The Role of Pediatricians in Global Health

Pediatrics (11/19/18) Suchdev, Parminder S.; Howard, Cynthia R.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a policy statement on the role of pediatricians in global health, including the need for training in global health. The statement features specific recommendations for all pediatricians that highlight "the importance of global health as an integral function of the profession of pediatrics," the authors note. The first recommendation encourages pediatric continuing medical education (CME) providers and pediatrics departments to provide global health training to pediatricians and trainees. Suggested topics include immigrant and refugee health, patient communication through interpreters, social determinants of health, global child health disparities, and ethical considerations.

While some of these issues are addressed in regular CME coursework, the authors assert there are gaps, and many topics are "addressed without a global health framework." Another recommendation suggests that "as part of their CME training, pediatricians are encouraged to recognize the enormous differences that exist throughout the world in access to and quality of health care for children and to examine how different models of care variably affect health outcomes for children." Other recommendations address pediatricians' knowledge of best practices, advocacy for government policies that support global child health, collaborative work with international partners, and use of telemedicine to further knowledge transfer and expand access to care.

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