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The Role of General Pediatrics in an Academic Department

Ray E. Helfer, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(5):545-547. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160170025010.
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In 1961, on completion of a chief residency in pediatrics, becoming the assistant director of the Outpatient Department at St Christopher's Hospital, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa, was not considered by most to be a prestigious academic position. "A true academician would become a neurologist, cardiologist, or some other legitimate subspecialist," was a frequent reminder. Despite these jibes, one's commitment, and even devotion, to Dr Waldo Nelson made the decision to assume this faculty position, under the mentorship of Dr Richard Olmsted, very easy to accept. Even the salary of $11000 per year seemed excessive after the lean residency years.

Primary care or even ambulatory care were not common jargon in those years and we "OPD [outpatient department] pediatricians" found ourselves apologizing and defending our positions.1 The first meeting of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association (APA) in 1963 was held in Atlantic City, NJ, in conjunction with the American Pediatric Society


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