Georgia Chapter Mission Statement
The Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is a non-profit organization with the following mission statement:
- To improve the health and welfare of all the infants, children and adolescents in the State of Georgia.
- To study the scientific, educational, social, economic and legislative aspects of medicine in order to secure and maintain the highest standards of practice in pediatrics.
- To promote excellence in pediatric care by organizing programs of post-graduate education.
- To unite qualified primary care pediatricians and pediatric medical & surgical subspecialists of the state into a representative organization for the advancement of the practice of pediatrics.
- To further the policies and the objectives of the American Academy of Pediatrics at the state and local level.
GEORGIA CHAPTER HISTORY
OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS
The history of the Georgia Chapter actually begins with the Georgia Pediatric Society. This Society, founded in 1934 was reputed to be the oldest state pediatric society in the country. The American Academy of Pediatrics, which held its first organizational meeting in Detroit in 1930, had no state chapters in those early days. (The idea of the AAP was actually conceived out of a discussion among several pediatricians who were attending an AMA meeting in Portland, Oregon in 1929. There was one Georgia pediatrician at that meeting, Dr. William Mulherin of Augusta, and he is among the “founding members” of the AAP.)
The beginnings of the Georgia Chapter date to 1949 when Georgia AAP members began reporting their activities to the national AAP. These early gatherings usually occurred during the luncheon breaks of the Society meetings, typically held at the old Progressive Club in Atlanta, or the Standard Club or the Mayfair Club. (The Progressive Club property still exists as part of the Turner Broadcast System (TBS) midtown complex near Georgia Tech.) These first gatherings consisted only of short business meetings and were limited by the time allowed for free time around the luncheon of the Society. The Society meetings flourished under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Yampolsky, Dr. Leroy Antrobus, and Dr. Jerome Berman
In May of 1954 the first official, separate meeting of the Georgia Chapter was held at the Idlehour Country Club in Macon. Dr. Lewis Muse was the first chairman as they were called then. Sadly, just three months after the formative meeting in Macon Dr. Muse would die of a coronary occlusion.
Even through the next several years however, the Society remained the much larger and dominant organization. In the early years it can be said that the Georgia Chapter was largely a paper organization created by the national AAP. In fact, many states had pediatric societies that antedated AAP chapters in those states. However, in the early 1960’s Dr. James Gillespie became director of Chapters & Membership at the AAP. He made it his objective to see to it that every state formed a well-organized state chapter that could help advance the purpose of the national organization. He therefore began to push for the merger of all the state pediatric societies into the state chapters so that there could be a unified voice speaking for the welfare of children in each state. His sentiments found a receptive audience among most Georgia pediatricians.
In Georgia then, a stronger Chapter began to emerge. In 1960, under chapter chairman Dr. Howard Morrison, who was the first chairman elected by vote of the members rather than having been appointed by national, the Chapter began regular separate meetings and instituted a committee structure modeled after the national AAP. Dr. Joseph Patterson followed Dr. Morrison in 1963. During his term, the committee structure was further refined and the chapter increased its role of advocacy for the children of the state by promoting the passage of legislation such as of the first child abuse statute in Georgia. During this time the Chapter also began taking an increased responsibility for the continuing education of the pediatricians of the state. In 1965, the Georgia Chapter received its first “Outstanding Chapter Award” from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In 1966, as the push to merge societies and chapters continued from the AAP, Dr. Martin Smith, then Chapter chairman, began negotiations with the Georgia Pediatric Society to merge the two organizations in Georgia. A key element of these negotiations was how to make Society members a part of the Chapter. This was accomplished by making the pediatricians who were not board certified--and therefore not eligible to be AAP Fellows--associate members of the Georgia Chapter. So in 1967 the Georgia Pediatric Society was dissolved, and the Chapter became the sole professional organization for pediatricians in the state. (This was the case in most all of the states in the country but by no means all. Even today, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas for example, retain the Society name along with their Chapter name.)
After the Georgia Pediatric Society was dissolved, the Chapter began holding two meetings a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The fall meetings were always in Atlanta and the spring meetings at that time were in Augusta on one occasion, but mainly in Hilton Head, South Carolina. In 1973, the Chapter held it first spring meeting at the Cloister, on Sea Island, Ga. This tradition continued—except for one meeting held in Amelia Island, Fla. in 1979—until 2008. During the 1970’s, the various committees of the Chapter were also active in educating children and parents as well as health professionals on the harmful effects of smoking and drug & alcohol abuse. The Chapter’s Committee on Youth addressed these topics in schools with student anti-smoking poster contests, questionnaire booklets and other educational materials.
In 1978, Dr. David Morgan was elected chapter chairman and recognizing the importance of legislation in achieving pediatric advocacy goals he established a Legislative Committee with Dr. Scott James as chair. The committee’s diligent and members efforts produced a number of legislator gains in the 80’s: mandatory seat belt restraint law, changing the Statute of Limitations from 21 years to 6 plus two years in 1987; mandated coverage for well-child exams (CHIRP) in 1994. A highlight of this time was undoubtedly the election of Martin Smith, MD, Gainesville as president of the national AAP in 1985.
As the chapter grew in numbers and activity during the 1980’s the need for administrative work also grew. In 1986 the chapter hired William Mankin as “executive secretary.” Mr. Mankin was then a recently retired sales manager for a major formula maker. He worked from his home on a part-time basis, handling logistics for the meetings, taking minutes at board meetings and assisted with membership issues, etc.
The growth of the Chapter continued during the 1990’s. After Mr. Mankin’s retirement in 1992, a new full-time executive director was hired and the Chapter established an office by renting space at the Medical Association of Georgia building at 938 Peachtree St. in Atlanta. Organizational changes were made in 1994 with the establishment of Chapter districts in the state and electing board representatives from each district. This ensured geographic representation on the board and expanded it to 19 members, plus chairs of the pediatric departments at the state’s medical schools, and resident representatives. In 1997 the Chapter office moved, along with MAG, to the Arthritis Foundation building, where it remains today. MAG left in 2007, but the Chapter remains in this midtown location.
In 1996, the Chapter received the Outstanding Chapter award from the AAP, and followed that will additional awards in 2000, 2004, and 2009. So from its beginnings of some 20 members in 1954 to over 1700 members today, Georgia Chapter members have a long and proud legacy of advocacy and service to the children of the state. The Georgia Chapter looks back proudly upon its past and looks forward to the challenges ahead.