What is a Pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a child's doctor who provides:

  • preventive health maintenance for healthy children.
  • medical care for children who have short-term or long-term sickness.

Pediatricians manage the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their patients, in every stage of development.

Generally, pediatricians focus on babies, children, adolescents, and young adults from birth to age 21 years to:

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  • reduce infant and child mortality
  • control infectious disease
  • foster healthy lifestyles
  • ease the difficulties of children and adolescents with chronic conditions

But, pediatricians are concerned with more than physical well-being. They also are involved with the prevention, early detection, and management of other problems, including behavioral difficulties, developmental disorders, functional problems, social stresses and depression or anxiety disorders.

Education

Following graduation from medical school, primary care pediatricians complete three years of education in an accredited pediatric residency program.

Pediatric residency training emphasizes care of the whole infant, child, adolescent and young adult. After the pediatric residency, pediatricians are eligible for board certification by the American Board of Pediatrics. Recertification is required every seven years.

Although nearly 60 percent of pediatricians are involved in the provision of primary care for their patients, many others choose to continue their education in pediatric subspecialties.

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