sign Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine

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COPEM History
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Past COPEM
Committee
Chairpersons



"Twenty Years of
Emergency
Medical Services
for Children:
A Cause for
Celebration and a
Call for Action"

PEDIATRICS, April 2005

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COPEM History

The Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine (COPEM) shares similar roots with the Committee on
Environmental Hazards, but they evolved in different directions. In October 1953 the Executive Board read a
letter from Dr Norman C. Kiefer, Federal Civil Defense Administrator, regarding the possibility of the
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) preparing a manual to cover the care of children during an emergency.
Dr Stewart H. Clifford moved that Dr Francis McDonald be appointed a committee of one to explore this
problem of special care of children in an emergency and report back to the Executive Board. The Executive
Board concurred and Dr McDonald was appointed to head a one-man Committee on Civil Defense. The
Executive Board also established a Committee on Cooperation with the Armed Forces in 1953, but sunset
it in March 1957. In its last year or 2, it was given no work to do. Dr McDonald reported back in October 1954
with a recommendation that a permanent committee on disaster be established. He also made
recommendations for the care and treatment of children in disasters. The recommendations were referred
to the appropriate committees. In the fall of 1955, the Executive Board voted to expand the committee's size
and scope and renamed it the Committee on Civil Defense and Disaster. However, the committee did not
meet. Executive Secretary, Dr Einor H. Christopherson, noted this in his report to the Executive Board in April,
1956 and also noted that he had received no report,
though Dr McDonald phoned him with reports of his own
contacts with civil defense officials in Washington. Dr Edgar Martmer suggested that the committee be
disbanded and that Dr McDonald be appointed as a liaison representative to the National Civil Defense
and let him find out what pediatricians were expected to do in a war emergency. The Executive Board
agreed and voted to disband the committee and appoint Dr McDonald as a special liaison to the National
Civil Defense.

Dr McDonald reported back in August 1957 with concrete recommendations for informing pediatricians of
the importance of civil defense measures and the dangers of radio-active fallout. He also noted the need
for preparation for defense against natural disasters such as tornadoes. Dr McDonald was serving in the
Navy at that time. Meanwhile, at the Executive Board meeting on June 8, 1957, Dr Christopherson read a
letter from Dr Robert A. Aldrich in which he expressed concern about plans for disaster control as it affected
children. Dr Christopherson noted that he had written back to Dr Aldrich about the AAP's contacts with the
National Research Council and the Atomic Energy Commission. Dr Christopherson thought that the
Academy could work with the American Medical Association (AMA) on the issue and refer all AAP material
to Dr Aldrich. The next day, Dr Christopherson noted a second letter from Dr Aldrich on the dangers of
radiation and fallout. Dr Clifford also reported a phone call from Dr Lee Farr, the AAP representative to the
National Research Council expressing similar concerns. Dr Farr suggested that the Academy establish a
committee on radiation effects in childhood. After some discussion, the Executive Board voted to establish
the Committee on Radiation Hazards and Epidemiology of Malformations. This committee eventually
became the Committee on Environmental Hazards and later the Committee on Environmental Health (see
Committee on Environmental Health). While the committee was originally formed to address the effects of
nuclear war and other disasters, it evolved into a committee concerned with a wide variety of environmental
problems.

Early in 1967, Secretary of Chapters Dr James B. Gillespie attended an AMA Regional Conference on
Disaster Medical Care. The purpose of the conference was to promote the development of state and local
programs of medical preparedness for disaster. Executive Board minutes are silent on the issue. However,
it appears that some time in 1967, a Committee on Disaster & Emergency Medical Care was established.
It met for the first time on October 23, 1967. The meeting resulting in adoption of several objectives: to make
recommendations to the overall programs for the injured and sick in disaster and emergency medical care
and to inform AAP members and other pediatricians concerning the problems of disaster and emergency
medical care in the pediatric age group. They also considered preparation of a small concise manual on
standards for pediatric emergency medical service in hospitals. However, at their next meeting in Evanston
on June 6, 1968, they decided that this would merely duplicate those manuals that were already available.
Instead, they decided to prepare a chapter on pediatric emergency care and recommend its addition to
either an AMA booklet on emergency medicine or a similar manual by the American Society of
Anesthesiologists. Within a year, however, they changed their mind and decided to produce a manual on
pediatric emergency care. Disaster and Emergency Medical Services for Infants and Children was finally
published in 1972.

The committee chairperson was also the pediatric representative to the AMA Commission on Emergency
Medical Services. Since some of its interests overlapped those of other AAP committees, notably Accident
Prevention and School Health, the committee adopted a subordinate role in those areas and simply
assisted the efforts of the appropriate committee. The committee established a liaison with the Committee
on Accident Prevention. It also had a liaison relationship with the American College of Emergency Physicians.
The committee did not meet for a few years or so in the early 70s pending completion of the manual, but
then commenced meeting again in 1972. On March 15, 1975, the Advisory Committee to the Board on
Committees (ACBOC) decided to sunset the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Medical Care and
delegate its functions to the Committee on Accident Prevention. The Executive Board agreed to this in June
1975, and the committee was sunset. At the same meeting, they also voted to defer publication of a revision
of the disaster manual. In the end, it was not published.

Meanwhile, the Committee on Hospital Care (COHC) established a liaison relationship with the Committee
on Disaster and Emergency Medical Care. When the latter disbanded, ACBOC proposed that its functions
go to the Committee on Accident Prevention. Instead, they went to the COHC. At its meeting in March 1976
the committee set up a Subcommittee on Emergency Medical Services. In 1978 it became the Sub-
committee on Ambulatory and Emergency Care. In 1981 it became the Subcommittee on Emergency
Medicine. It is unclear whether the subcommittee lasted much longer as it is not listed as a subcommittee
after 1981, though the committee continued to interest itself in pediatric emergency medicine. The COHC
also established a relationship with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). (See
Committee on Hospital Care for Committee Chairpersons.)

Over the years, the Academy experienced a rapid growth in the number of Sections. By 1979 pediatricians
involved in emergency medical care wanted a section of their own. They organized an ad hoc Committee
on Pediatric Emergency Care, which in turn proposed establishment of Section on Pediatric Emergency
Medicine (SOPEM). The proposal went to the Advisory Committee to the Board on Education (ACBOE) in
March 1980, but action was deferred pending background information. After consideration by ACBOE and
the Council on Sections, the Executive Board finally approved establishment of the Section on Pediatric
Emergency Medicine at its meeting in January 1981.

The new section soon established a liaison with the COHC and with the ACEP. Section members were
very concerned about pediatric care in hospital emergency rooms. To address their concerns, they
proposed a Task Force on Pediatric Emergency Medicine. The COHC approved the concept at its meeting
in April 1983. Soon afterward, ACBOC recommended that the proposal be tabled until ACBOC could meet
again in September. Executive Board minutes do not reflect just when the proposal was approved.
However, the Executive Committee did indicate discontent with policies by the ACEP and the American
Heart Association regarding pediatric emergency care in their report to the Executive Board in January
1984. In any case, a joint AAP/ACEP Task Force on Pediatric Emergency Medicine commenced operations
to a limited extent by the end of 1983 and met for the first time in February 1984.

The task force worked with the Section on Pediatric Emergency Medicine on the APLS course in emergency
medicine and other projects. The task force soon determined that a regular AAP Committee on Pediatric
Emergency Medicine was needed. The Executive Board approved the proposal at its meeting in January
1985. In July 1985, the task force was replaced by a Provisional Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine.
In 1988, it became a full Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

     
  Committee Chairpersons

Committee on Hospital Care / Subcommittee on Ambulatory and Emergency Care
Willis A. Wingert, MD, FAAP, 1978-1981

Committee on Hospital Care / Subcommittee on Emergency Medicine
Willis A. Wingert, MD, FAAP, 1981-1982

Task Force on Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Martha Bushore, MD, FAAP, 1983-1985

Provisional Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Martha Bushore, MD, FAAP, 1985-1988

Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Stephen Ludwig, MD, FAAP, 1988-1992
Joseph A. Weinberg, MD, FAAP, 1992-1996
Robert A. Wiebe, MD, FAAP, 1996-2000
Jane F. Knapp, MD, FAAP, 2000-2004
Steven E. Krug, MD, FAAP, 2004-2008
Kathy N Shaw MD, MSCE, FAAP, 2008-2012