The incoming head of the nation’s leading group of pediatricians says that autism and other developmental conditions are among the biggest health concerns facing American children.
James Perrin, a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School and MassGeneral Hospital for Children, was named president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics last month. In 2014, he will become president of the organization, which represents 60,000 pediatricians nationwide.
Now, Perrin is calling out the “tremendous growth” in autism and other developmental issues as one of “three or four major epidemics” facing American kids and adolescents.
“I think what we really want to be working on is recognizing that all of these conditions have grown tremendously in their prevalence over the last decade or so — things like obesity, asthma, mental health conditions like depression and ADHD, and things like autism and other neurodevelopment disorders,” Perrin told The Boston Globe. “We want to make sure we’re much better able to provide the kind of care that these children and their families need.”
As head of the pediatrics group, Perrin said he hopes to encourage more collaboration between care providers and said he wants to ensure doctors are compensated appropriately so that they can devote more than a 10-to-15 minute office visit to assessing a child for a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, for example.