Top policy and research experts and leaders of seven pediatric societies last week convened in Hawaii at a public symposium about health care and poverty issues facing U.S. children and adolescents as part of an effort to make the issues a top priority for national and state election candidates this year, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports.
Phyllis Dennery, president of the Society for Pediatric Research and a physician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said that poverty among children can have lasting implications linked to individual physical health and socioeconomic status, as well as for the workforce generally. Dennery noted that about 24% of the children who live in poverty are black, 20% are Hispanic and 8% are white, with clear differences in their location or the state in which they live.
William Hay, president of the American Pediatric Society, said, "Unfortunately, children and their research needs are being left behind where the current president says no child should be," adding, "Research into causes, prevention and treatment of disease ought to begin early in life." Hay noted that there has been no significant increase in research grants in 35 years and NIH's budget is "now in negative territory." He said, "It is imperative that our leaders put pediatric research on the national agenda."
Participants of the symposium -- sponsored by the Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research -- are drafting a report titled, "A National Agenda for America's Children and Adolescents," which will be distributed to Republican and Democratic party platform committees for use by presidential and congressional candidates in this year's elections (Altonn, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5/12).