Building Capacity in Pediatric Environmental Health: The Academic Pediatric Association's Professional Development Program

Philip J. Landrigan, Joseph M. Braun, Ellen F. Crain, Joel Forman, Maida Galvez, Benjamin A. Gitterman, Gali Halevi, Catherine Karr, Jennifer Kathleen Mall, Jerome A. Paulson, Alan D. Woolf, Bruce P. Lanphear, Robert O. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Environmental exposures contribute to multiple diseases in children; yet, few pediatricians have training in pediatric environmental health (PEH), and few academic health centers have PEH expertise. To build national capacity in PEH, the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) launched a professional development program that since 2002 has encouraged the establishment of post-residency/post-doctoral training programs, supported a special interest group, and convened an annual mentored retreat for PEH trainees. Objective: Describe the APA's professional development program in PEH and assess its impact by tracking careers of former trainees. Methods: Careers were tracked through interviews with trainees and program directors supplemented by searches of institutional websites. Publication listings were obtained through PubMed. Publication impact was assessed using bibliometric and altmetric measures. Grant histories were accessed through the National Institutes of Health RePORTER project. Information on advocacy work was obtained through interviews with program directors. Results: Fifty-five trainees (36 physicians and 19 health scientists) completed PEH training and attended the APA retreat between 2002 and 2017. Forty-one (75%) are pursuing academic careers, 11 are associate or full professors, 11 are practicing general pediatrics or a pediatric subspecialty, 2 are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologists, and 1 is a data scientist. Forty-two former trainees (76%) listed “environment” or “environmental” in their job titles or on their websites. Former trainees have published 632 scientific papers. These papers have been cited 3094times, have a relative citation ratio of 2.97, and have been read or viewed 1,274,388times. Twenty-one former trainees have been awarded 43 National Institutes of Health grants. Trainees have developed education and advocacy skills by teaching medical students and residents, presenting grand rounds, preparing policy papers, presenting legislative testimony, and making presentations to public audiences. Conclusions: The APA's professional development program has contributed to the expansion of national capacity in PEH. Former trainees are populating the field, generating new knowledge, and moving into leadership positions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-427
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • children's environmental health
  • medical education
  • pediatric careers
  • research training


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