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September 1969

Task Identification in Pediatric Practice

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pediatrics (Drs. Bergman; Probstfield; and Wedgwood) and preventive medicine (Dr. Bergman), University of Washington School of Medicine, and the Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center (Dr. Bergman), Seattle. Dr. Probstfield is now with the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis.

Am J Dis Child. 1969;118(3):459-468. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1969.02100040461008

IMAGINATIVE efforts are urgently needed to cope with the impending shortage of child health manpower in the United States. The situation is serious: an increasing childhood population in the face of a declining number of child health physicians (pediatricians and general practitioners).1 Most urban practitioners' offices are filled to capacity, and countless communities are without any physician. New federal health programs which require large numbers of professional staff are enabling more citizens to have access to health services.

There are two possible solutions: a marked increase in the number of pediatricians or a change in the manner that pediatric care is now given. No matter how desirable, the first possibility is impractical. By 1980, even if the majority of all medical school graduates were to enter pediatrics (a most unlikely prospect), the current child-to-physician ratio could not be maintained and would result in shortages of other types of physicians

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