Role of Pediatricians, Pediatric Associations, and Academic Departments in Ensuring Optimal Early Childhood Development Globally: Position Paper of the International Pediatric Association.



Early childhood (birth-8 years), particularly the first 3 years, is the most critical time in development because of the highly sensitive developing brain. Providing appropriate developmental care (i.e., nurturing care, as defined by the World Health Organization [WHO]) during early childhood is key to ensuring a child's holistic development. Pediatricians are expected to play a critical role in supporting early childhood development (ECD) through providing developmental services such as developmental monitoring, anticipatory guidance, screening, and referral to medical and/or community-based services when delay is identified. Pediatricians are also expected to serve as advocates within their clinics and communities for improved delivery of ECD services, such as advocating for increasing funding for ECD initiatives, increasing insurance coverage of ECD services, and working to increase other pediatricians' awareness of the principles of ECD and how to deliver developmental services. However, this does not always occur. Typically, pediatricians' training and practice emphasizes treating disease rather than enhancing ECD. Pediatricians are further hindered by a lack of uniformity across nations in guidelines for developmental monitoring and screening. In this article, we present the vision of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) of the roles that pediatricians, academic departments, medical training programs, and pediatric associations should fulfill to help support ECD, including raising ECD to higher levels of priority in routine pediatric care. First, we present the challenges that face these goals in supporting ECD. We then propose, with supportive literature, strategies and resources to overcome these challenges in collaboration with local and international stakeholders, including the IPA, the WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank.






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Publication Info

Uchitel, Julie, Errol Alden, Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Vanessa Cavallera, Jane Lucas, Frank Oberklaid, Janna Patterson, Chemba Raghavan, et al. (2022). Role of Pediatricians, Pediatric Associations, and Academic Departments in Ensuring Optimal Early Childhood Development Globally: Position Paper of the International Pediatric Association. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, Publish Ahead of Print. 10.1097/dbp.0000000000001112 Retrieved from

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Mohamad Abdul Mikati

Wilburt C. Davison Distinguished Professor

Mohamad A.  Mikati M.D., is the Wilburt C. Davison Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Neurobiology, and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurology. Dr. Mikati’s clinical research has centered on characterization and therapy of pediatric epilepsy and neurology syndromes, describing several new pediatric neurological entities with two carrying his name (POSSUM syndromes # 3708 and 4468), developing novel therapeutic strategies for epilepsy and related disorders particularly Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, and applying cutting edge genetic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques to drug resistant pediatric epilepsy.  In the laboratory he has elucidated mechanisms of seizure related neuronal injury, particularly those related to the ceramide pathway, and demonstrated neuroprotective effects of several agents including erythropoietin. Most recently he has concentrated his laboratory research on the pathophysiology of ATP1A3 dysfunction in the brain as model for epilepsy and of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood. He has more than 290 peer reviewed publications, 400 abstracts 41 chapters one book and two booklets. He also has more than 10,497 citations in the literature with an h-index of 58 and an i-10index of 190. Dr. Mikati has written chapters on epilepsy and related disorders in the major textbooks of Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology including Swaiman’s Pediatric Neurology and Nelson’s Pediatrics. Before joining Duke in 2008 he had completed his M.D. and Pediatric training at the American University of Beirut, his Neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, his Neurophysiology at Boston Children’s Hospital and had been on the Faculty at Harvard as Director of Research in the Epilepsy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and then as Professor and Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Founder and Director of the Adult and Pediatric Epilepsy Program at the American University of Beirut. Dr. Mikati has had several international leadership roles including being President of the Union of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Pediatric Societies, on the Standing Committee of the International Pediatric Association (IPA), Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group on Early Childhood Development of the IPA, Officer of the International Child Neurology Association, Consultant to UNICEF, WHO, and the American Board of Pediatrics. He was selected to organize and chair the American Epilepsy Society's Merritt-Putnam Symposium and was one of only two Pediatric Neurologists, initially chosen worldwide, on the WHO advisory committee for the International Classification of Disease. He has received several national and international honors including, among others, Merritt Putnam American Epilepsy Society Fellowship Award, Harvard Community Health Plan Peer recognition Award, Debs Research Award, Hamdan Award for contributions to Medicine, Hans Zellweger Award for contributions to Pediatric Neurology, Patient Choice Award and the Michael Frank Award for research and lifetime contributions to the field of Pediatric Neurology.