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Pediatricians call for doctors in all school districts

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 7, 2013

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Physicians should be integral to public education, with all school districts having a school doctor oversee health services, says an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement published online Dec. 31, 2012, in Pediatrics. Ideally, these physicians should be board-certified pediatricians with expertise in school-related health topics, the statement said (link).

School physicians originated in the late 1800s. Initially, they served as school health inspectors, but their duties expanded to include tasks such as increasing immunizations and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. School doctors often assist schools in accommodating students with special needs, manage acute and chronic illnesses, and oversee emergency response, environmental health and safety, health promotion and education.

“Well-placed school physician expertise can contribute to the creation of policies and practices that provide sound, evidence-based structure to coordinated school health teams,” the statement said.

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