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May 2006

Returning to the Basics: A New Era in Pediatric Education

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160(5):466-467. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.5.466

It is axiomatic that the care of children should reflect our knowledge of the dynamic interaction of genes, environment, and time on human biology. Pediatricians have long been concerned with issues in development as they relate to normal/abnormal behavioral and cognitive and somatic growth. Advances in molecular biology, imaging technologies, and the human genome project have greatly accelerated our understanding of the significance of the timing of these interactions. The Institute of Medicine's publication Children's Health, the Nation's Wealth proposes a new conceptualization of child health as a developmental model. It emphasizes the effect of each period of life and the interactions that occur at that period on subsequent periods. The explosion of evidence through functional imaging and genetic and behavioral studies regarding the unique importance of specific developmental stages on subsequent health and function stands in marked contrast to the paucity of information on those topics in current training for medical students and pediatric/family medicine residents. Pediatric chairs and educators around the country are challenged by this gap, leaving some to suggest that much current pediatric training may be unhinged from both significant advances in knowledge in the basic sciences and to emerging clinical realities.

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