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Section on Perinatal Pediatrics

Perinatal Section

The Section on Perinatal Pediatrics is the home organization for specialists in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and also welcomes affiliate members working in related disciplines. At a membership of nearly 3,500, the Section is the largest specialty subgroup of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Section's highest priority is to ensure optimal health and well-being of babies and mothers and this is accomplished through the Section's core activities in the realms of advocacy, education, outreach and support of clinicians and researchers.

Section committees and working groups focus on perinatal health from many viewpoints: advocacy, education, training, career development, guidelines and policy statements, and other publications. The Section values its collaborative relationship with the American Board of Pediatrics on issues relevant to certification and recertification. Finally, the Section honors leaders and records significant historical moments in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

Our Mission

To improve the health of the pregnant mother, the unborn fetus and the newly-born child through the sponsorship of programs which encourage the professional growth of the neonatal-perinatal providers, continuously improve clinical care delivery, support continuing and postgraduate education, foster basic, clinical and outcomes research and seek to attain federal and local funding for programs directed towards maternal/child health.

Section Leadership

View the Section Executive Committee roster »

View AAP District Map »

History of the Section

Two events in the early 1970s set the stage for the establishment of the Section. In 1971, Joseph Butterfield submitted a resolution to the Colorado Chapter of the AAP petitioning the AAP Board of Directors to establish a Section on Perinatal Pediatrics. The AAP Board of Directors approved the resolution with an addendum that called for the establishment of a Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine subspecialty board by the American Board of Pediatrics. The first Section Executive Committee selected by the board included Chairman William Tooley, George Cassady, Jacob Kay, George Little, Louis Neumann, and James Sutherland.

In 1973 seven neonatologists from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah informally met at Rancho Encantado in New Mexico to discuss and share their experiences in setting up regional programs in the newly emerging field of neonatal medicine. The group identified the need for a national forum for neonatologists. They concluded that either an independent organization for neonatologists should be formed or a niche for neonatologists within the AAP should be established. The group continued to meet informally, and in 1976 they elected to support the AAP Section model and formed the first AAP District Perinatal Section. The Section now has nearly 3,500 members and each District has organized its own neonatal-perinatal group.


  • To provide for postgraduate trainees, neonatologists and members of the perinatal delivery team high quality educational offerings which foster lifelong learning in its members.
  • To provide current and timely information in the areas of coding, relative values, managed care principles and practice management tools to assure fair and equitable reimbursement for perinatal-neonatal medicine.
  • To foster the development of evidence-based practice guidelines and outcomes research to identify for our members best practice styles in the provision of neonatal and perinatal care.
  • To support the enhancement of research efforts in the basic sciences which foster to the health and well-being of the fetus, the pregnant mother and the newborn infant.
  • To define the quantity and type of neonatal-perinatal training experiences which are essential for pediatricians who will be caring for the mother-child dyad of the 21st century.
  • To serve as a medical home and resource for all physicians and practitioners who maintain a major practice emphasis in perinatal-neonatal medicine.
  • To serve as a resource for the Academy's Board of Directors and the many Committees and Sections of the Academy in the areas of fetal, maternal and neonatal health.
  • To serve as a local, regional and national lobbying group to mantain a high level of national awareness around issues which impact the health of pregnant mothers, their fetus and the newborn infant.

Core Values

Tradition: We take pride in our history in pediatrics and the long history of contribution by our members; it is the foundation of our future.

Global Health: We recognize that perinatal care requires cooperative and collaborative relationships with those who share our same values and beliefs.

Professional Growth: We participate in a dynamic specialty, which demands personal dedication to an environment of lifelong learning.

Scientifically Grounded: Future generations of mothers and children can be only be served by a consistent investment in new ideas and innovative investigations.

Dedication: We accept the challenge to seek and defend the social and medical needs of pregnant mothers and children they conceive and deliver.

Equality: We seek to assure that those who dedicate their careers to the health and welfare of women and the newly-born child will receive a fair distribution of this country's health care resources.

Camaraderie: We will create a professional organization in which all members feel valued and have the opportunity to participate in its activities, opportunities and leadership.

Core Section Activities

The Section focus's on perinatal health from many viewpoints: advocacy, education, training, career development, guidelines and policy statements, and other publications. The Section values its collaborative relationship with many liaisons within and beyond the Academy. Finally, the Section honors leaders and records significant historical moments in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

Education & Publications:

Training & Career Development: The Section's role in founding and ongoing support exemplifies its strong commitment to trainees in Neonatal-Perinatal medicine. The Section also works closely with the American Board of Pediatrics on issues relevant to certification and recertification in Neonatal-Perinatal medicine. Incorporation into annual Section venues of fellow-oriented leadership modules is intended to broaden professional development and enhance skills at all career stages.

AAP Policy Statements: The Committee on the Fetus and Newborn (COFN) develops, revises, and retires most AAP guidelines and policy statements relevant to Neonatal-Perinatal medicine. The Section leadership also reviews documents relevant to newborn health that are generated by other AAP Sections and Committees. COFN develops, revises and recommends for retirement Academy statements and guidelines relevant to the care of newborn infants. The Committee also, in collaboration with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) , produces the Handbook for Perinatal Care, now in its 6th edition.

Advocacy: The Section's educational and quality improvement efforts offer substantial indirect benefit to mothers and babies. Broader advocacy takes place through collaborations and interaction with Academy leadership in developing approaches that provide national and international maternal-child advocacy.

Certification & Recertification: The Section enjoys a productive consultative and collaborative relationship with the American Board of Pediatrics and, through this work, assists the ABP in developing the best possible certification and recertification requirements.

History & Leaders in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine: The annual Cone and Butterfield history lectures and AAP Section on Perinatal Pediatrics awards - the Apgar, Education, Pioneer and Landmark - commemorate key events in perinatal history and honor leaders in Neonatal-Perinatal medicine.

Learn more about Section Committees and their work »

Learn more about Section Liaisons and collaborative work »

AAP Partners

Members benefit from the Section's productive working relationships with many AAP subgroups as well as with liaison organizations that share the goal of optimizing perinatal health.

Neonatal Resuscitation Program: Now in its 26th year, the NRP has trained more than 2 million perinatal caregivers worldwide.


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