COMMENTARY PEAKING TO A LARGE AU- matizing topics that had once been timates that 1% to 2% of children dience at the 1977 veiled. were reported each year, many doc- American Academy of During the second half of the 20th tors felt ill prepared to address the Pediatrics meeting, C. century, pediatrics was redefining it- problem and uncomfortable with S Henry Kempe, MD, self. Nutritional improvements had this new role. Articles published challenged fellow pediatricians to improved the overall health of about sexual abuse—its diagnosis, tackle “another hidden problem.” American children. Successes made treatment, epidemiology, and reper- The problem he referred to was child possible by vaccines and antibiot- cussions—in a wide range of pedi- ics had contributed to dramatic de- atric and medical journals be- sexual abuse. He urged pediatri- creases in morbidity and mortality moaned both the extent of the cians to take on sexual abuse as they in diseases that had once domi- problem and physicians’ reticence to had physical abuse over the preced- nated pediatric practice. These ad- respond. ing 2 decades. Kempe was a pedia- vances had reinforced pediatri- Throughout the 1980s, articles in trician from Denver, Colorado, and cians’ beliefs in the power
JAMA Pediatrics – American Medical Association
Published: Sep 1, 2011
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