Elucidating the role

The history of pediatrics conveys a rich narrative of empirical investigation and pragmatic problem solving.Its emergence as a specialized domain of clinical medicine in the late 19th century was dominated by concerns about nutrition, infectious disease, and premature death.The United States, like all nations of the world, is facing a number of social and economic challenges that must be met to secure a promising future.

An emerging, multidisciplinary science of development supports an EBD framework for understanding the evolution of human health and disease across the life span.

In recent decades, epidemiology, developmental psychology, and longitudinal studies of early childhood interventions have demonstrated significant associations (hashed red arrow) between the ecology of childhood and a wide range of developmental outcomes and life course trajectories.

Concurrently, advances in the biological sciences, particularly in developmental neuroscience and epigenetics, have made parallel progress in beginning to elucidate the biological mechanisms (solid arrows) underlying these important associations.

This growing scientific understanding about the common roots of health, learning, and behavior in the early years of life presents a potentially transformational opportunity for the future of pediatrics.

Identifying the origins of adult disease and addressing them early in life are critical steps toward changing our current health care system from a “sick-care” to a “well-care” model.

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