Pediatric Annals

Editorial 

Child Health Policy

Stanford T. Shulman, MD

Abstract

The collection of articles in this issue of Pediatric Annals includes really excellent discussions of topics that approach the broad healthcare policy picture and affect many thousands of patients across the country, especially those at the bottom of the economic scale. Many have long argued that the best measure of a society is how those individuals with the fewest resources are dealt with.

These articles review Environmental Pediatrics (how environmental exposures affect child health negatively, especially asthma); Childhood Immunization Policies; the impact of “community” upon child health (housing stock, neighborhood safety, jobs with livable wages for adults, etc); the impact of multiple “determinants of health,” such as genetics, social, and physical environments, individual behavior, and medical care on child and adult health outcomes; and issues related to access to care for children, especially but not exclusively for those in low-income families.

Health policy issues all greatly affect our clinical practices and the health of children, generally in unseen ways. I strongly recommend that you read these reviews because the topics are crucial and the reviews are very well done.

A United Kingdom stamp honors Winnie-the-Pooh, created by A.A. Milne (1882–1956).

Illustrating this column are three recent souvenir sheets. One from the United Kingdom honors a most favorite childhood character, Winnie-the-Pooh, created by A.A. Milne (1882–1956). The bear and his friends originally appeared in poems and stories mostly published 1924–1928, and the characters were based on Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, and his stuffed animal collection. His stuffed bear was named after Winnie, a Canadian black bear at the London Zoo, whose original Canadian owner had named him after Winnipeg, Manitoba, and a swan named Pooh. Milne’s books were translated into many languages including Latin, and that translation became the first Latin book to make the New York Times best seller list (1960).

The other two sheets (one from Liberia; and one from the island of St. Kitts) were issued in 2010 to honor the 100th anniversary of the death of Henri Dunant (1828–1910), the founder of the International Red Cross. Dunant was a young Swiss humanitarian who sought out Napoleon III in northern Italy in June 1859 just in time to witness firsthand the immense Battle of Solferino between the French and Sardinian armies against the Austrian army. More than 300,000 soldiers were involved, and 5,500 died on the battlefield in this 1-day battle that was important in the unification of Italy. Dunant recognized the humanitarian needs of the injured soldiers and conceived the Red Cross, which was officially founded in 1864 at the Geneva Convention.

Both of these sheets also recognize Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) and Clara Barton (1821–1912). Ms. Nightingale has been discussed here previously, famous for her pioneer work with injured and ill British soldiers and allies in the Crimean War (1854) and for single-handedly putting the field of nursing on a professional footing in England. She is less well known for her statistical expertise, becoming the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society and an honorary member of the American Statistical Association. Among other contributions she pioneered the use of the pie chart and other graphic portrayals of statistical concepts.

These two sheets (one from Liberia, one from the island of St. Kitts) were issued in 2010 to honor the 100th anniversary of the death of Henri Dunant (1828–1910), the founder of the International Red Cross.

Clara Barton was born in Oxford, Mass., and lived in Washington, DC, working at the US Patent Office when the Civil War erupted. Originally founding a relief organization to raise and distribute medical supplies and goods for wounded Union soldiers,…

The collection of articles in this issue of Pediatric Annals includes really excellent discussions of topics that approach the broad healthcare policy picture and affect many thousands of patients across the country, especially those at the bottom of the economic scale. Many have long argued that the best measure of a society is how those individuals with the fewest resources are dealt with.

These articles review Environmental Pediatrics (how environmental exposures affect child health negatively, especially asthma); Childhood Immunization Policies; the impact of “community” upon child health (housing stock, neighborhood safety, jobs with livable wages for adults, etc); the impact of multiple “determinants of health,” such as genetics, social, and physical environments, individual behavior, and medical care on child and adult health outcomes; and issues related to access to care for children, especially but not exclusively for those in low-income families.

Health policy issues all greatly affect our clinical practices and the health of children, generally in unseen ways. I strongly recommend that you read these reviews because the topics are crucial and the reviews are very well done.

A United Kingdom stamp honors Winnie-the-Pooh, created by A.A. Milne (1882–1956).

A United Kingdom stamp honors Winnie-the-Pooh, created by A.A. Milne (1882–1956).

Illustrating this column are three recent souvenir sheets. One from the United Kingdom honors a most favorite childhood character, Winnie-the-Pooh, created by A.A. Milne (1882–1956). The bear and his friends originally appeared in poems and stories mostly published 1924–1928, and the characters were based on Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, and his stuffed animal collection. His stuffed bear was named after Winnie, a Canadian black bear at the London Zoo, whose original Canadian owner had named him after Winnipeg, Manitoba, and a swan named Pooh. Milne’s books were translated into many languages including Latin, and that translation became the first Latin book to make the New York Times best seller list (1960).

The other two sheets (one from Liberia; and one from the island of St. Kitts) were issued in 2010 to honor the 100th anniversary of the death of Henri Dunant (1828–1910), the founder of the International Red Cross. Dunant was a young Swiss humanitarian who sought out Napoleon III in northern Italy in June 1859 just in time to witness firsthand the immense Battle of Solferino between the French and Sardinian armies against the Austrian army. More than 300,000 soldiers were involved, and 5,500 died on the battlefield in this 1-day battle that was important in the unification of Italy. Dunant recognized the humanitarian needs of the injured soldiers and conceived the Red Cross, which was officially founded in 1864 at the Geneva Convention.

Both of these sheets also recognize Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) and Clara Barton (1821–1912). Ms. Nightingale has been discussed here previously, famous for her pioneer work with injured and ill British soldiers and allies in the Crimean War (1854) and for single-handedly putting the field of nursing on a professional footing in England. She is less well known for her statistical expertise, becoming the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society and an honorary member of the American Statistical Association. Among other contributions she pioneered the use of the pie chart and other graphic portrayals of statistical concepts.

These two sheets (one from Liberia, one from the island of St. Kitts) were issued in 2010 to honor the 100th anniversary of the death of Henri Dunant (1828–1910), the founder of the International Red Cross.

These two sheets (one from Liberia, one from the island of St. Kitts) were issued in 2010 to honor the 100th anniversary of the death of Henri Dunant (1828–1910), the founder of the International Red Cross.

Clara Barton was born in Oxford, Mass., and lived in Washington, DC, working at the US Patent Office when the Civil War erupted. Originally founding a relief organization to raise and distribute medical supplies and goods for wounded Union soldiers, she was later given permission to provide care for Union casualties through Virginia to Charleston, S.C. Ultimately she became superintendent of the Union nurses in 1864 and, with the permission of President Lincoln, she organized a program to locate missing soldiers and identify those killed. After the war, she was very active on the lecture circuit and then was ordered by her doctor to travel to Europe for a rest. In Switzerland in 1869, she learned about Dunant’s Red Cross and volunteered to assist in the Franco-Prussian War (1870). In 1881, she founded the American Red Cross and expanded the scope of its work to assist in civilian national disasters (floods, earthquakes, famine, 1887 yellow fever epidemic in Florida, etc). She also worked diligently on behalf of women’s rights, and she became America’s most decorated woman, receiving the Iron Cross (Prussia), the Cross of Imperial Russia, and the International Red Cross Medal.

10.3928/00904481-20110223-01

Sign up to receive

Journal E-contents