Neonatal-perinatal medicine has become the largest subspecialty of pediatrics, with nearly 1500 practitioners having achieved board certification since 1975. Surprisingly, neonatologists have not formed or broadly supported regional and national organizations by which the problems confronting this subspecialty can be addressed. The growth of manpower and development of centers for neonatal care are two such problems.
The growth of manpower in neonatology is expected to continue until a plateau of about 2500 practitioners is reached. The impact on general pediatricians who provide care to sick newborns has already been addressed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.1 However, as their numbers increase, neonatologists may become involved with the care of hospitalized infants other than sick neonates, perhaps including well newborns. The potential for polarization of neonatologists and pediatricians is obvious. Furthermore, competition for patients among neonatologists is likely to extend beyond that between neonatologists based at community hospitals and their colleagues