1960s The Tumultuous decade of the 1960s ushers in Head Start, medical achievements by Alyson Sulaski Wyckoff , Associate Editor Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Pediatrics Editor’s note: Th is is the fi ft h of a series of articles on the AAP’s 90th anniversary published by AAP News, (May, 2020). Th e 1960s was the tumultuous decade of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, demonstrations and the counterculture, along with a growing middle class. Th e assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy rattled the nation. News reports chronicled the fi rst manned space fl ight and a moon landing. Th e AAP turned 30 in 1960 and had 10,857 members by the end of the decade—a growth rate of 60%. Medicine and health care saw many advancements, includ- ing new vaccines to fi ght measles, rubella and mumps. Louis Gluck, M.D., FAAP, a pioneering neonatologist (oral history, https://bit.ly/3i0Dm6C), designed the fi rst American neonatal intensive care unit. Th ere was an explosion of medical sub- specialists but concerns over health care costs and a shortage of pediatricians given the Baby Boom following WWII. AAP Executive Director E.H. Christopherson, M.D., FAAP, called for a “substantial and immediate increase” in pediatricians to care for the health needs of the growing child population. Medicine remained a mostly white male profession. In 1961, about 12,000 physicians in the U.S. practiced as pediatricians approximately half were board certifi ed. At this time, 15% of the pediatricians were women, and only about 2% of all pediatricians were reported as “nonwhite.” Social programs Despite technological and economic progress, poverty—and its attendant problems—existed within an affl uent society. Th e government launched programs to help the poor, including Medicaid and Medicare. Project Head Start began in 1965. Th is comprehensive early education program for disadvantaged children was an outgrowth of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. He spoke of building a Great Society: “… where no child will go unfed and no youngster will go unschooled.” Since its debut, countless pediatricians have been involved with Head Start, which has served more than 30 million children over the past 55 years. Head Start was created without the AAP, however. Th is annoyed AAP leaders, and they formed a committee to investigate how to get involved. Julius B. Richmond, M.D., FAAP (oral history, https://bit.ly/3c0DQHx), an authority on the development of children in poverty, was appointed the fi rst Head Start director (1965-’68). A letter from Dr. Richmond requesting the AAP’s assistance paved the way for collaboration. Th e original contract with Head Start ended in the ’70s, followed by a decades-long gap. Today, the AAP operates Head Start’s National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (https://bit.ly/2UOVsA2), providing training and technical assistance. Dr. Richmond went on to serve as U.S. surgeon general (1977-’81) and highlighted the dangers of tobacco, a legacy that endures with the AAP Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence (https://bit.ly/AAPrichmondcenter). In a 1967 speech delivered at an AAP meeting in his absence due to illness, Dr. Richmond called on pediatricians to “pay attention to the early environment of the child….” Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Pediatrics In the 1960s, AAP leaders started more than 20 committees, including what is now the Committee on Native American Child Health. Seven new sections also were created. There were 10,857 members by 1969. uni24EC
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